Alex taught Math and various extracurricular activities at the Siskiyou School in Ashland. The school recently held a celebration of Alex’s life, and a video was made. Thank you to all those who participated, and to those who worked on the video.
Adam and McHale,
I first met Alex after my wife had been to a number of his yoga classes. She would come home telling me I should take one of his classes. I would ask her who is this Alex guy? She answered “he’s got an afro and a beard and rides his bike everywhere; you’ve probably seen him around town, maybe at the co-op… I think you guys would really get along.” A few months later I finally met Alex and we quickly hit it off. We both had the uncanny ability to converse on a topic for way to long and to find humor in even the worst of jokes.
In becoming friends with Alex it took me a while to realize his athletic accomplishments. He never bragged or even tried to share his accolades. It was only with some prodding or usually from someone else that you might actually hear about his feats. His humility was one of his many endearing qualities.
My friendship with Alex was described by others as a “bromance.” I know there are a number of Alex’s friends who can relate to this experience. However, if you are uncertain about whether you had a bromance with Alex, here are a few signs that may help you decide. First, you would get gifts, like crystals or balsa planes or marbles or two dollar bills. Second, you would receive calls or texts or emails every week or every day and sometimes multiple times a day. Third, when you mentioned something he found interesting or adventurous he would take that idea and run with it. One time I mentioned a place that I thought we could go fishing. The next day I got an email with four different studies complete with relevant page citations discussing the possible fishing spot. Alex always put in the time and effort to ensure there would be another adventure or shared memory.
Alex had a unique way of expressing his humorous side that I will certainly miss. He would say and write some of the funniest things. I would like to share one of these “Alexisms” with you.
- One time I had emailed Alex a picture of a kayak I thought would make me faster at the Siskiyou Challenge. He encouragingly replied “Word to that! Hot knife through butter, no, more like a chainsaw with a 36″ bar heated by a solar flare slicing through ghee…”
Alex engaged you and really got to know you. He became interested in your interests. And his pursuits and way of life became part of yours. As you may know, Alex was a big hugger. Every time I saw Alex or we parted ways he always gave a heartfelt hug. I had never been a big hugger and avoided hugging people when it seemed unnecessary. But I never avoided hugging Alex. I treated him differently. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him or maybe his desire to hug was just so genuine I wanted to honor that. Anyhow, I kept hugging Alex at every greeting and farewell and slowly but surely he single-handedly made hugging hello and goodbye seem like a good idea. I share this as an example of how Alex’s genuine friendship shaped who you are in seemingly small yet meaningful ways.
While Alex pushed himself when biking or running, those efforts paled in comparison to the heights he achieved as a person and friend. Alex made us feel special and made us laugh. He was truly a good friend to us all and will be dearly missed.
“Banzai” is a Japanese cheer that can be translates as “Long life!” or “Hurrah!” It is usually repeated three times to express enthusiasm, celebrate a victory, applause and favor on happy occasion while raising both arms. It is commonly done together with the large group of people.
Pat and Buzz
Buzz and Pat,
My husband Ryan and I have only known Alex for a year or so, but it was not enough. We can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through as his parents. We were initially neighbors when we both lived on B street, however our lives didn’t cross for a year until Alex took a shared interest in Ryan’s wheatgrass. Alex was very special to us and we miss him dearly. As Ryan put it, “he is a friend that we will never be able to replace. We will never meet someone like him again.” He was such an incredible person and I know you two were an integral part in him becoming the man he was.
Yesterday at the park, many people shared stories about Alex. It really brought together all the different parts of Alex’s life and the people he had an impact on. We enjoyed hearing the stories that his colleagues and students shared. I thought that I would share a few memories and experiences that we had with Alex.
The first memory I have of Alex is before I met him, when I knew him as the neighbor that I would always see walking down the neighboring streets, oh so slowly. He truly took EVERYTHING in, never in a rush. The first time I ran into him on the trails I remember thinking, “oh wow, he runs!” and fast.
I will miss the dinners we would share. Alex would have us over, or he would come over to our place with a bag full of food and just cook. He was an amazing cook, truly appreciating the flavors and ingredients of what he put together. He loved to share this with people and it was fun to watch him work in the kitchen.
Many weekends, Ryan and Alex would go on adventures on the Ashland trails. For hours hiking and biking and talking. I always looked forward to hearing fun Alex-isms when they returned, which leads to…
Alex’s humor, oh we will miss this. Subtle at times, but always good for a laugh. He used to joke that he thought we should chop off one of Willow’s legs (our dog) so that she would be on par with everyone else. As a puppy she has much too much energy, which I knew could wear thin on Alex, but secretly I think he loved her. He would say, “If I’m not back by such and such time, send Willow for me.”
Alex loved to teach and share his knowledge, and we loved to just listen and learn from him. The most valuable thing that he shared with us was his time.
Alex perfected bars. Ryan perfected joooose (juice). They talked of opening a “Joose and Bars” business.
I never truly enjoyed a yoga class until I took one of Alex’s. His silent yoga class was so powerful; even without talking Alex could teach and he had such a presence and impact. Sometimes, in between poses, he would come out with a one liners and have the whole room cracking up. No one will forget the glittery short shorts on holidays either.
For the several weeks leading up to Alex’s trip, we would make weekly trips up to Mt Ashland; packing Vanna White full of bikes and picnic stuff and spending the day on the trails. This weekend will be my first 50 miler, on those very trails. I will carry these and other memories with me during this race. Although jokingly at the time, I said last Saturday that I would wear tie-dye, his outfit of choice, for the race. As promised, I will be wearing tie-dye for him on Saturday. Alex’s presence and wonderful spirit is everywhere in Ashland and will live on in the places he loved and through the people that loved him.
I will attach some pictures of Alex from various adventures,
You are in our thoughts,
Dear chosen Family,I wanted to share one of Alex’s amazing, poetic word paintings with you all again that he wrote about us and a time in Yachat’s. Beth, Naomi and I read it yesterday as we spent the day mourning, remembering, celebrating and loving Alex. He was a true light in this world and I know we all loved him very much. I love you all and am so glad that he was part of our family.RobynBareback, barefoot, and bare-assed, we rode the wild sea serpent of Yachats Town. We, me, us, you, a chosen family, an octet of great kind: Beth Ann, siren and captain on front to spot spouting whales and angel flights, Gabe Mark sitting second singing wild with winged seagulls holding their hover in the strong north wind, Robyn Meyer calm, communicating a story of change with the sand-soaked clams, Alex Zander illuminating the misted silohuette of Whyte Nynsha, Pete Howard satisfying the hungry calls with pans wide and saffron threads of gold, Amy Kathleen translated ancient messages of lost Atlantis’ deep, Naomi Folsom fearless flowing on the foam of incoming tides and outgoing clouds, and on the tip of the tail, Sir Chad Knight valiantly scanning the west horizon for manta rays and sunset rays. We ran the beach like sun-fed angels and dense duff dinosaur trails as human sized raindrops tumbling down our colorful path of laughter, sweat, smiles, and pee-pee. Bodies became sponges, hearts became sieves, our post hot tub baptisms leaving the rough waves to swallow those things we could not. Each moment brought changes in light, tide, wind, and sky, calling us to dance with our hearts’ every beat. The serpent’s sinuous path led us, and on occasion we led him, to the warmth of a fire and the friends who kept it glowing. Wind, water, sun, sand, and the slow crescendo of each mid-day tide filled our hearts, creatures of the ocean filled our stomachs. We taught the solitary serpent that each day will bring rain and sun. If there is love, the sun and the rain will harmonize, a duet, to create a magnificent arc of color and strength. The serpent along now we ride as a family of nine, barefoot, bare-assed, and bare-faced eyes closed into this rushing wind. Sliding up, over, and down, like the course of each tide, each wave, we ride the rainbow over the infinite land of color and light. As space travelers and aqua-nauts we have much more to explore, so whatever the weather, together or alone, trust the sea serpent’s first words as we climbed on his back, “We don’t need feet to get where we’re going!”Thanks to you all for a great time and a nice mini-vacation. Reckon it’d be wise to do it again sometime in the next couple months.Aloha, means hello, goodbye, and I love you.Enjoy the blustery Aloha Friday!-Alex
Dear Pat, Buzz, Mc Hale and AdamI have heard the sad news of the loss of Alex and I am shocked.The beautiful time I spent with Alex, the mountain tours we have taken together, the trips on Lake Zurich, the sauna visits in Meilen and much more things I will never forget. Alex will be always in my thoughts.I wish you a lot of power to go through this difficult time.Please accept my deep sympathies.LoveHubert