In Memory

DJ Jaffe

DJ Jaffe

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08/26/20 09:11 PM #1    

Hudson Smith

John Connell forwarded to me this note from DJ's wife (posted on FB on Aug 26):

DJ and Paula's Great Love Story (April 2019 - August 23, 2020) My husband and I met in April of 2019 and almost immediately began to feel that our meeting was bashert, the Yiddish word for destiny. We could not believe our great fortune at this stage in our lives and much of our first summer was spent in idyllic Fire Island. Months before, I had booked a trip to Rwanda to see the country and the mountain gorillas. DJ, also a world traveler (55 countries to my 33) asked if he could go with me. It was a memorable, magical trip and one that consolidated a forever kind of love. We were having the time of our lives; traveling - Rwanda, New Orleans, Washington when he spoke at the White House; making future plans; and best of all, simply enjoying each others company. He would often say that we were blessed. And so we were. Until... DJ had been successfully managing Leukemia for 15 years; his numbers were excellent and he was feeling terrific... strong. When Covid hit, we started living together and in late April relocated to Fire Island for the summer. We used to joke that we didn't know why everyone was complaining about sheltering in place, we were loving it. In May, after a worsening back pain would not go away, tests revealed that his Leukemia had transformed into an extremely aggressive and rare form of cancer. He went for treatment with the hope of extending his life for several more years - we prayed for longer - but that was not to be. We married in the hospital on August 14. He died peacefully at home on August 23. We sure packed a lot into those 16 months, 16 months that were all too brief in time but not in life lived nor life loved. It was my privilege and honor to be with him through it all. And it is my honor to be his wife. I will never forget him. Paula Orndoff-Jaffe

08/27/20 10:44 AM #2    

Keith Rigby

It's a loss, but our gain as well. I remember Don well.

     At some point during sixth grade camp, I became really homesick, and who was there asking me if I was all right; DJ. He stayed with me and talked me through it; he could not have been kinder.

     When my older brother Dave committed suicide about fifteen years ago, who expressed his sorrow and had some kind words for me; Don Jaffee. My brother was mentally ill, and Don talked to me at length about it.

     We were scouts together, along with David, (my Dad was scoutmaster); I got to know Don well. I can see in hindsight the seeds of his outstanding accomplishments. A life well lived, and a privilege to have had spent time with him. He had a goofy side as well, btw.

     I am a Man of FAITH; I believe DJ was as well. In his own way, afterall, where did his great compassion come from? Something all great religions have in common, THE GOLDEN RULE. 

                                                                        Godspeed Don, your friend, Kit Rigby. Troop 400


09/08/20 11:26 PM #3    

Richard Mann

Don Jaffe - DJ

     Sorry to here that Edgemont has lost another alumni class of 72, my friend, Don Jaffe well respected mental health community advocate. We all remenber the witty character that went to Edgemont High School. Turns out that Don had a serious side, a well respected advocate for the mental health care community. Don has published a book in 2017 - Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. He has testafied before Legislatures and Agencies involved in making care for mentally ill work better, his particular  focus was on the seriously mentally ill.

     I recall Don was a fan of Hong Fat restaurant in Chinatown. I regret that I did not find out if Don was able to find out "If headlights shine underwater".Thanks for the good times, you will be missed. Rich Mann


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