Thursday, November 15, 2007

St. Evan

It has been awhile since I have committed myself to writing an entry onto this blog. Sometimes we have a situation where life just gets in the way and time marches on while you are sitting on the sidelines.

I suppose I could come up with a host of excuses as to why I have neglected to write. After all, the experience is enjoyable, the feedback so far has been pretty good, plus it keeps me creatively busy, which is a good thing. As the saying goes, “idol hands are the devil’s play tools.”

Ironically, in my very first posting earlier in the summer I gave my reasons for starting this blog and I also mentioned the inspirational friend who kept pushing me to start it.

His name is Evan Berle and in addition to being my computer guru and regular radio show guest he’s a close friend and confident as we often debated each other on the various aspects of our lives and the issues of the world.

Since Evan was a computer whiz and a self described geek I often called him St. Evan, the patron saint of all things computers. I even named an ftp directory that I use every day “St. Evan.” Almost everything I know about modern personal computers I learned from him. He was also the webmaster who created the blueprint that became my website.

Evan and I would talk on the phone several times a week. On Saturdays we would have an expanded conversation, sometimes talking well beyond an hour. Talking to Evan was one of the joys that I looked forward to regularly.

While his computer experience was invaluable, and for almost 20 years it was something that I grew to depend on greatly, it’s his personality, his friendship and those long discussions that I grew to depend on even more. It’s that latter aspect of his friendship that I will miss the most. That’s because two weeks ago, Evan Berle passed away at the extremely young age of 51.

Evan was taken from us due to lung cancer. From diagnosis to death the time was quick – about five months. Ironically, Evan, who was a long-time smoker, had given up the habit almost a year ago. He was proud of himself for the change he had made and how much better his quality of life would be without the dreaded death sticks. I marvelled at how he managed to kick the habit without too much muss or fuss. If only he could have done it sooner.

I mentioned that Evan was a frequent guest on our radio show. That’s how we met. I was looking for someone to be a regular contributor to the show to discuss computers and take questions from our listening audience. Evan came highly recommended.

Over the years I have had the chance to talk to literally thousands of guests on the air, yet I can count on one hand the ones who have become personal lifelong friends. Evan was at the top of that very short list.

I guess it started with his easy going manner and the simple things in life that he got pleasure out of. Leading the list of pride and pleasure for Evan were three names; David, Joey and Mitch – his sons. All three are fine young men who, needless to say, have lost a great deal – but I can see in them the kindness and humanity that was Evan.

I mentioned that we could spend hours talking on the phone. There was always one thing that could cut those conversations short – a visit or call from one of his sons. Evan was amazingly proud of how his boys turned out and he should be. He would gush about them and never hide expressing his love for them – something that you don’t often hear men do.

The other love of his life was Anna; the woman he found and grew to love after the break-up of his marriage. He would often bring up how much Anna meant to him – again a trait that most guys don’t express to other guys in casual conversation.

A couple of Saturdays have now gone by and it is finally sinking in that I will never talk to Evan again. I won’t hear his words of wisdom. I won’t be able to take advantage of his sage advice. And don’t get me started on the invaluable tech support that has ceased to exist.

One of the things Evan and I would often debate is the topic of religion, especially as to how it has played itself out in the never ending Middle East conflict. Though as an adult I am not a regular church goer, I am a strong believer of my Christian faith and the upbringing that I had within the church. Evan, who was raised as a Jew, was not religious at all but rather, he was a non-believer – an interesting fact since his two youngest sons are extremely religious, observing a completely Kosher lifestyle.

Perhaps it is the lack of belief that I got a kick out of teasing him about, even naming an ftp directory after him with a religious moniker. Evan will truly be missed by all those who love him and sadly, I can only think of him now as St. Evan.

That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.


  1. Peter, Thank-you for expressing so well what so many of us feel about 'our Evan.' What a wonderful human being, staunchly upholding the personal codes of honour, dignity, integrity, family, friends and humour, no matter what. And Evan was always available to rescue his clients. He would always invite me to share Sunday bagels-brunch with his family....St. Evan, dearly missed, will always be thought of with love and fond memories that bring heartfelt smiles. I called him 'brother' and he called me....

  2. Almost two years after, I've only recently discovered that Evan has passed away.

    We were childhood friends.. neighbours. We didn't keep in touch over the years though we did catch up briefly about 8 or 10 years ago via email. A few weeks ago, I was hoping to touch base once again when Google revealed his obituary.

    I'm so sorry for this loss. This is a lovely tribute. Thanks for that.

  3. Here from Hilary's blog. You both honored this man not known to me to the degree that I wanted to read about him. I am sorry to hear he lost this life so very young!

    May God comfort his children and those who loved him!

  4. Here from Hillary's blog as well. Thank you for this lovely tribute; I lost a dear Aunt to lung cancer this year and my father succumbed to heart problems from 50 years of smoking this year as well. It's been a hard year dealing with mortality.

    I'm very sorry for your loss.