On January 12th a very close friend of mine, Jordan Breeding, died from colon cancer. It was the end of a long series of events that started with a car hitting him in April. I was living with him at the time as Jordan had graciously offered me his couch to sleep on while I started at Apple before my family could move to California. It still comes as a shock to me that it hasn’t even been a year since I moved into his apartment and he’s gone.
I met Jordan at the first NSCoderNight Dallas I hosted in 2010. We hit it off immediately and I knew I was going to learn a bunch from him right from the start. We both had the dream of leaving our jobs at the time and going full time with Cocoa programming. From there, we both ended up taking similar paths to Apple. I took a little longer then he did to fulfill the dream, but I was so happy that we were both going to be there together. It hurts so much thinking about the fact we only really got to be at work together for about a month. Then the car accident started a whirlwind of medical things for Jordan including his diagnosis for stage IV colon cancer and him mostly being at home or in the hospital the rest of the year.
A few weeks ago, we held a remembrance for Jordan at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. I was honored to be asked to speak and I wanted to share the story I shared there. It’s not a story I’ve really shared before and until now was really only known by those that participated directly.
For those that knew Jordan, they know that he was a incredibly generous and caring person. He did so many things for so many people, it’s a wonder he ever got anything else done. Over the years, particularly when I was going through a rough patch, he’d send me iTunes gifts of movies or TV shows. Even in the midst of chemo and knowing he was terminal, he sent me South Park episodes I “had to watch” because he wanted me to laugh.
There is a time Jordan really went above and beyond. In 2013, while I was dealing with my dad’s declining health, I’d been discussing with Jordan that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to afford a WWDC ticket. But I was making plans on coming out to SF for the week anyway just so I could hang out with the Cocoa community and visit with him.
One day in late March of that year, Jordan texts me and asks if I have time for a phone call. This was highly unusual as Jordan would almost always do everything over electronic messaging of some sort. I told him I always had time for a call from him. He called me and let me know that he’d organized a few folks in the Cocoa community to raise some money for me to be able to buy a WWDC ticket. He said there had been generous support and that there was enough money for a ticket and a flight. I just had to work out hotel and food.
I was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears with that news. And knowing now how much time and effort Jordan was putting into what would be come iOS 7 right then, I just can’t believe how much above and beyond he went so that I’d have a chance at going to the conference.
Needless to say, I had a lot of pressure to make sure I got a ticket that year (otherwise we were going to have a heck of a bar night). I was one of the lucky ones that was able to buy a ticket that year in the less than 90 seconds before the sold out. I was very relieved…and excited to see my friend.
The best part was Jordan got to be on stage that year doing two different demos. And he did an amazing job. He even survived a crash of the simulator on stage without missing a beat. We had several good talks and he introduced me to a bunch of folks at Apple. I will be forever grateful for that.
I have so many good memories of Jordan. I cherish and think about them every day. The world is missing one of the really good ones without Jordan here. I miss you Jordan, you were one of a kind.