Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Look at that smile! :)

We have heard a number of comments over the last month and a half about Jamin's smile. It was without a doubt . . . beautiful. Genetically speaking he was blessed. His teeth were perfectly straight without ever needing braces, they were blindingly white, not too big or too small and, thanks to Jamin's meticulous dental hygiene, without a single cavity (thanks in part to a wonderful family dentist that was kind enough to attend the memorial service in Denver). But, above all else the best part of Jamin's smile was that he knew how to use it. It was hard to catch Jamin without it spread wide across his face. No matter how you were feeling it always had the tendency to brighten a person's day because you knew that behind those brilliant set of teeth was a sincere person who genuinely cared for others.

I don't know if others noticed this but it always cracked me up whenever I had to stand next to Jamin in a picture because someone had once told him that your best smile is when you look like you have just come out of a really good laugh. Well, Jamin latched onto this idea and ran with it so in every photo opportunity that I had with him I would always catch him shaking ever so slightly out of the corner of my eye because he had just figured out a way to make himself chuckle (and of course whenever he laughed his whole body was also involved). The funniest thing though, is that whenever we had family photo shoots Jamin would try his fail proof smiling technique and yet somehow he was always the one person in the picture that had his eyes closed or was unknowingly doing something else that ruined the family portrait. Ha, ha.

One other funny story I will recall in regards to Jamin's smile . . . I mentioned earlier that Jamin had no cavities. Well, that was not entirely true. He apparently did have one cavity but only as of last August. I found out about it when Parker and I went to visit him in Germany. I forget what brought it up in conversation but somehow or another it came out that Jamin had in fact gotten the first cavity of his life. He was of course very upset (it wasn't that he was vain about his perfect set of teeth but he was very proud of them) whereas I on the other hand was smiling on the inside. I had taken care of my teeth just as diligently as he had over all these years and yet had managed to make a few of those extra unwanted trips to the dentist. Finally, my brother was going to feel the wrath of the drill and the humiliation of a numb tounge. However, before I was able to relish in my own delight inwardly for too long, Jamin made a comment that was just so typical of him and had me laughing out loud within an instant. He said "I nearly got a second opinion because I didn't quite believe that it was true. I don't know if I trust those guys." Ha, ha . . . yes Jamin you are human and humans do get cavities every once in awhile - even you!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Harvard Memories - from Andrew Goulet

I was the Senior House Representative of Adams House Class 2004 as well as Adams House Committee Chair from'02-'03; also, I have known JB since we shared expos class in the spring of Freshman year. JB was so kind and genuine; it is very hard to lose him, when, in fact, the world needs so many more like him.

JB played an integral role in our tightknit Adams House community and many at Harvard loved, admired, and appreciated him--which he would not have been the type to boast, but which I'm sure you could only have guessed.

I feel very lucky for the good times that I was able to share with JB at Harvard and in Adams and my heart goes out to you, his family, to whom I'm sure he was as wonderful a son and brother as he was a friend to us.

My sympathy,

Andrew Goulet '04

In Christ Alone

Several have asked for the words to a song that we sang at the Denver memorial service. The song says it all...In Christ alone my hope is found! The words and music are by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. If you google it, you will find several recordings of the song, so that you can add it to your collection!

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Til on the cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
then, bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
for I am His and He is mine,
bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me;
from life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from His hand;
'til He returns or calls me home,
here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand!

The story behind the song

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This is my dedication to my friend Jamin. I got to know Jamin in 2004 by being his sponsor to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

I met Jamin at the airport in Frankfurt and quickly gave him the low down about active duty Air Force life and what there was to do in the area of Germany. We went on some awesome trips to Luxembourg and Pairs, but soon got caught up in work and other friends.

I guess what I'd like to write about most is his character and what I remember of him.

I unfortunately got the tragic news days after moving to my new assignment in New Mexico. He was at my going away party and seemed more excited about my assignment to the Air Force Research Labs. "Cool man, so you'll be on the cutting edge of technology!"

From the start of meeting Jamin I knew he was destine for great things. He swept through the jobs thrown at him: good and bad! He had integrity and a humble willingness to take on anything. He always did his best at anything I saw him do...and that was a scary thing for us other Lieutenant's. Jamin had crazy skills, endless talent, and what a character!

God only knows why somethings happen. But the way I see it--he left a living testament to greatness. All those good things that he embodied. He now rests with greatness and those who did great things for our country.

He was a good man, searching for his niche in life, and this world is a better place for him.

I miss you brother, see you in heaven.

God bless,
Rueben Amador

(if you'd like copy of Jamin's photos, email me at

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jamin's Hugs

I don't know how many of you were fortunate enough to receive a hug from Jamin within the last few years (guys unfortunately you are probably in the minority here), but if you were lucky enough to have those long arms wrapped around you, I think that you will agree with me in saying that Jamin gave some of the best hugs!

Of course Jamin wasn't always this way. When we were younger he, like most boys his age, disliked hugging. So, a few years back, after a particularly bad hug from one of my two brothers (I can't remember which one - and I wouldn't name names anyway) I told them that they would have to do better than that if they ever wanted a girlfriend and suddenly they were all ears. So, I walked them through the various styles of hugging (i.e. side by side "squeeze" etc.), a knowledge which I guess comes innately to girls, and explained the various situations in which each would be appropriate. I know it sounds weird now but it was a fun time for our family as we tried to help the boys grasp onto the (apparently) difficult concepts that we were explaining. Ha, ha . . . I can still remember us laughing as the lesson progressed because the boys kept coming up with more and more outrageous hugging scenarios. "Ok, so what if you see someone you know in a grocery store but you only want to give them a side hug but they are blocked on both sides by the shelving and their cart . . . do I forgo the hug all together?" (I was really not trying to make it this technical but of course Jamin wanted to make sure he had all the details so he could do it right).

Well, he took what little advise I had to give and ran with it. I'm not exactly sure when the change happened but what I do know is that I both looked forward to and dreaded his hugs. As soon as he saw you he would open his arms to their full wingspan (which was quite wide I might add) walk towards you at a somewhat accelerated pace and not really stop until he had wrapped his arms around you which usually caused a bit of instability resulting in a rocking motion trying to regain balance. And, the strong he got the more, almost uncomfortable, his hugs were because he would squeeze you so tightly that it almost took the breath right out of you. However, pair that with the joyful grin he always had on his face and you couldn't help but relish in the moment.

One of my favorite memories of Jamin will always be an instance like this when he picked Parker and I up at the airport in Frankfurt last August. The doors from the baggage claim area opened and there was Jamin in a bright yellow Tshirt. He was on his feet immediately at the sight of us and before I had a chance to put any of my bags down he was there squeezing me with all his might. And I knew that he loved me.

But perhaps what I loved more than receiving the hugs myself was watching him give them to others, especially my Dad and brother. In a society where showing affection between men is not seen as very "manly," it was the coolest thing to see Jamin hug my Dad with as much enthusiasm as he did my Mom, and hug Parker with as much force as he did Brynna and I.

His hugs are just one more example of how he did things right. You knew after being hugged by Jamin that you were a meaningful part of his life.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"J.B. says . . ."

Ok . . . this post is going to require a little reader participation . . .

Jamin was a person who rarely lacked words. It wasn't that he was talkative . . . its just that he could usually enter and contribute to any conversation regardless of the topic. But, don't be deceived - this talent was developed through years of active listening, perceiving, and learning about people, places and cultures different than his own.

What is more important to realize, though, is that Jamin was not only able to contribute when most people would be tongue tied but when he spoke people listened! Whether giving a presentation to his supervisors, delivering a speech at a ceremony, explaining how to do your job better, discussing his views on politics Macintosh computers, or just sitting around a table with friends . . . Jamin always seemed to ADD to the scenario rather than make you want to pull away. His words were often intelligent, insightful, wise, helpful, witty, kind, encouraging, funny and more often than not; thought provoking. Just by listening to him you would tend to think before you spoke and rearrange words in your head just so your sentence structure sounded as polished as his when it exited your mouth. I have even spoken to numerous people over the last month that have told me that they would spellcheck, proofread, and all around agonize over the wording of a simple friendly email just because they wanted to live up to the standard that he had set for using language properly.

As many of you know Jamin was fluent in English, French and who knows how many computer languages. (And when I say he was fluent in English I mean that he properly knew how to use a semicolon, could correct you on your grammar, read the dictionary for fun and practiced word pronunciation). As if that wasn't enough he also was proficient in Spanish and as I understand it was picking up the German language pretty well in his 2 and a half years over there. That was Jamin the linguist. However, I think that many of you may more fondly remember Jamin the goof.

It never ceased to amaze me how even with all of the choices of vocabulary and the skill for poised speaking Jamin's everyday language more resembled that of an 8th grader using terms that I thought had been retired after the '80s, and superlatives like they were going out of style. Occasionally there were times when it was as if all of the words in the world weren't enough to describe this world that brought Jamin so much joy and so he would create his own.

One particularly quirky thing that Jamin used to do was to refer to himself in the third person in speech or in writing (i.e. "Jamin says . . ., or "J.B. thinks . . ." see the post about Lasagna for a great example of this in action). We as a family could never quite figure out how all of this fit into the personality of an otherwise very well polished individual. But, I think that is what we all found so endearing about him. You knew that he could speak correctly if need be, but more often than not it just stifled the enthusiasm that was so Jaminesque.

Below is a list that I have compiled of some of the most frequent or favorite sayings that I remember from Jamin. Can't you just hear him now saying:

Checkitout! or Check! it! OUT!
totally rad!
so great!
the best!
the best EVER!
that's hot!
tasty fest!
out of control!
for crying out loud!
you guys

I am sure that I am missing some of his best phrases so if they come to mind please let me know.

The best part of this list is that you could probably create a whole Jamin sentence or even paragraph by just using these words (and a few prepositions or nouns for filler). For instance:

OOOOOOOOOO MAAAAAANNNNN! checkitout! I mean seriously folks . . . isn't this just like the BEST thing you have EVER seen! It's totally out of control! (just add the emphatic "emmmph" noise (its hard to spell but I think most of you will know what I am talking about) - with closed mouth and big eyes on to the end of it and that is all that you need to begin speaking "Jamin")

Ha, ha. Oh how I am going to miss that voice.

I welcome your own memories of his unique language, your attempts at forming a Jaministic sentence or even examples of this from emails, texts, or letters that he has written to you over the years (just post them in the comments section below).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Denver Memorial Service - Audio

On January 6th, 2007 a celebration of Jamin's life was held at Southern Gables Church in Littleton, Colorado.

Southern Gables was kind enough to provide us with an audio file of that service for all of those who were unable to attend to share with us in remembering Jamin. Simply click on the link below to listen to it on the web or download it for a future time.

Denver Memorial Service - Audio File

Please note that between minutes 2-8 you will hear the audio for the slideshow that was played during the memorial. The actual show is posted below:

Dichotomies - Jamin explains his own life

He was unique . . . no one will argue that. But, it was more than just his passion for life, his positive attitude, unfailing grin, care for others, creative adaptability, craving for the new and unconquered, or superb organizational skills that made us love him. It was all of these plus many other "definable" attributes combined with those quirky, goofy, and mostly unexplainable characteristics that drew people to him. These are things that you can't describe to someone who never had the chance to know him. Believe me I've tried! However, his over the top hand movements, finger points, soothing deep voice, well calculated voice inflections, head bobble when he laughed, or the bounce in his step when he walked somehow never quite look or sound the same even when impersonated by someone who shares his genes. His "Jaminisms" are what I remember and treasure the most but are sometimes the hardest to recall.

We were fortuneate, though, that less than a month before his death Jamin prepared and delivered a speech for the toastmasters club that he was a part of on base (how he had time for this I don't know). In it he describes his own perspective on the person that he is in the context of the definition of the word "dichotomies." The fact that it was recorded is such a blessing to us because it helped to refresh in my memory some of those characteristics that are sometime so hard to pinpoint. For anyone who was there, correct me if I am wrong, but my guess is that Jamin wanted to have this recorded so that he could watch it at a later date and improve upon his own speaking style. This is just one more instance where his determination to become a better person has ended up benefiting others as well.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

A dad's eulogy - Harvard Memorial Service

While J.B. attended school here at Harvard there were many times that I passed this church as well as spending time inside or on the steps outside. In fact, as you most likely know, his commissioning and graduation were held on the outdoor steps. What a wonderful and memorable time that was. Never would I have imagined that we would be back here so soon to remember and celebrate his life - a life that ended exactly a month ago today. But that is what we are doing, and in doing so we are learning of the value of a life well lived, no matter how short it might be.

A couple days after we’d heard about Jamin’s death when I was still crying and recoiling from the shock, I said to Becky, “I am so lost right now, the only thing I know I want to do is join the Air Force”. And that was said because of the professional and loving way that we were treated and cared for by every Air Force person with whom we had contact from the moment we were notified. During our brief time in Germany we felt the Air Force family continuing to wrap their arms around us. The wonderful memorial service there and everything they did - honored Jamin’s life far more than we could have ever imagined. I know there are a number of you here today who are currently in the ROTC program or actively serving in the military. To all of you for the sacrifices that you make to serve us, we can only say in words that are so inadequate -Thank You. Please convey our heart felt appreciation back to your comrades and commanders.

No sooner had word begun to spread of this tragic event than we began to hear from family and friends as well as acquaintances of Jamin’s, many of whom we had never met. We were, and still are, overwhelmed with the outpouring of concern, care and love that has been shown to our family. Many of you who reached out to us during this difficult period are here today and we want you to know that this gathering continues to demonstrate in a very visible way your love for Jamin and our family. So we say to you also, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your love and prayers. I can honestly say we have needed all the support you have provided.

Jamin would be very pleased to know that one benefit of all that has happened in the last month is that Becky and I have become good friends with one of his best friends - the computer. In the days that followed his death, particularly the early ones, we asked that no one call because we were honestly not capable of communicating verbally. But I want you to know that the emails, cards, and letters that poured in meant, and continue to mean, the world to us. We would sit at the computer and cry great tears as we read, from people we had never met, how Jamin had positively impacted their lives and from others how greatly they were going to miss his friendship, many talents and smile. Quite honestly, if we had instead heard those comments, they would have been much appreciated, but somewhat forgotten – even now. Through all those written testimonies of Jamin’s attributes and the loss that so many have experienced I found real substance to the quote sent by a friend, which read – “The loss is immeasurable, but also immeasurable is the love left behind”. To have your love and support conveyed to us in written form is now, and will continue to be, something that we savor and treasure.

I want to tell you that I have never considered myself to be good at conveying condolences to people, because I was not sure just what to do or how to do it – and I’m guessing many of you are in that same boat. Now, being in the midst of this great loss, I believe I know what to do. And the answer is simply - let the bereaved know you care in words that are, no doubt, best said in ways that are not eloquent. I think I will always carry with me the words we received from an extended family member who, probably because of also having experienced the loss of a child, wrote so simply and succinctly, “I wish you didn’t have to hurt so much”. And please never think it’s not enough to say “I’m sorry”, because those words convey a tremendous amount of love and concern. Finally, give out hugs. We should all get hugs daily, but most especially they are needed when a loved one is gone. A close family friend wrote, “tight hugs to all of you” - that spoke volumes.

Another way that love has been so visibly demonstrated to us is the way that people in Germany, Denver, and now here in Cambridge have rallied to meet our needs and provide everything necessary for this “awesome”, as J.B. would certainly call it, memorial service. As many of you may or may not know, he loved using superlatives. I don’t want to begin listing names for fear of missing some, but if you will allow us, Becky and I would particularly like to thank Jessie Bryan, Ryan Browne, Reverend Edington, and Sean and Judy Palfrey for all they have done to help us honor our beloved son, Jamin Buchanan Wilson.

In his early years as well as here at Harvard you primarily knew him as J.B. Although we loved the name Jamin we were somewhat hesitant to saddle him with such an unusual moniker at an early age. It’s a Hebrew name that is found in the Old Testament and is correctly pronounced Yameen – but we weren’t about to strap him with that pronunciation. Most of us know the name Benjamin, which means son of Jamin. What we found to be interesting was that as he grew older he preferred the name Jamin over J.B. and took pride in the name. We were drawn to the name because it means “right hand” or “right hand of God” and we felt sure he was going to be someone we could count on, as well as being a man who would do great things for God. Many were the times I prayed that he would fulfill his very special name. And never, as I mentioned earlier, did we imagine that his life would be cut so tragically short. But we now know that he was named correctly. First, because he truly did turn out to be someone who we all, family and friends counted on to do the right thing, the difficult job and the caring task, with what seemed like great ease and almost always, with a smile. We now also know, because of comments and tributes written by so many friends from his high school, college, and Air Force days, that there was a tremendous consistancy in how he treated everyone, no matter at which point he met them in life.

I also now believe, though he never went into some form of ministry, that he did great things for God by showing us how to live the life we are given at the highest level we can - with as much integrity, enthusiasm and joy as possible - while caring for and helping others - and doing it all with a deep sense of humility. If you know the scriptures you know those are Godly attributes. We all knew those were the traits he embodied, but it seems that only now after we have had to suffer this great loss do we fully realize that he lived the life to which we all should aspire - one of joyful optimism and complete enjoyment of the beautiful world in which we live.

Only when we see God face to face will we be able to understand why Jamin had to be taken from us so unexpectedly and quickly, but it helps me to think that perhaps he got to exit instantly, painlessly, and early because he got it right so soon. The rest of us, including myself, apparently have work to do. If we each one, and particularly those whose lives he touched, would follow Jamin’s example of a life well lived - by being more thankful for our station in life, being awed by even the ordinary in life, continually striving to excel in all that we do and taking on each day with joyful exuberance - then I propose to you ... what appears to be such a great loss in the death of our dear son Jamin, can be turned into great gain - both in our lives and ... the lives of those we touch. What he did do and could have done will be multiplied many times over. I’d also like to add that I believe those of you attending today from Harvard or MIT have a heavier responsibility than many others who knew J.B. to live out and pass on these characteristics which so positively impacted the people he met. To paraphrase the scriptures - To whom much has been given, much will be expected. I want to seriously encourage you to meet that challenge.

I hope that as you do so you can also do it with the full enjoyment of life that seemed to permeate Jamin’s time here on earth. As you continue forward from this day I want you to carry with you and live out the words of the very last entry that was made in his personal journal; a call to action that I believe he unknowingly wrote for all of us - it reads - So it’s all hands on deck; let’s unfurl the sails and follow the sun to the horizon fully enjoying this adventure that is life.

At the reception after the memorial service in Germany we overheard someone say, “can you imagine how GREAT Jamin thinks heaven is? to which another person replied, “yeah .... but do you really think there’s enough to keep him busy?” That’s our guy. Thank you so very much for coming to remember Jamin and honor the God who created him.

How can anyone derive so much fun from one meal?

Following, is just one more example of how much Jamin enjoyed his life and why we enjoyed receiving emails from him. It came to us entitled "On this day in history":

Friends... Family... Family with whom I am friendly (I like that, by the way)...

You may wish to take note of this day, for it is one that shall surely go down in history. Why, you ask? Because, family of mine, today is the day on which Jamin has cooked the tastiest thing he has ever cooked. Yes, that's right, the very tastiest. The most scrum-didily-umptuous thing that has ever crossed my kitchen did so on this very day, yea verily.

What, you ask, was this most delectable of goodies? Well, I shall tell you. It was lasagna. And I might point out that this, in addition to being the tastiest thing that Jamin has ever cooked, was also the most complicated. I mean, seriously people, this thing had _multiple_ ingredients. And I'm not just talking about "add water to X and heat until boiling" either... There must have been eight or ten ingredients. And I had to boil things and sauté things (I didn't even know I was qualified to sauté things until tonight) and bake things, and in the process create this most delicious smell which filled up the entirety of my kitchen. It was a long and arduous process (about an hour and 45 minutes to be exact), but in the end, it was worth it. A veritable feast was enjoyed by all. That is to say, by me. But being that the lasagna was quite huge, and given also that I ate but one third of it, and given moreover that I made only a half (or perhaps two-thirds -- I was a bit generous) batch of it, I think that this is the sort of thing which I shall have to invite some friendly types over to consume with me in the future. In the meantime, I have enough leftovers to feed me for a couple of days.

And so all good stories must come to an end. This one happens to be doing so at a fine time, as I must to bed, where sweet slumber made sweeter by thoughts of a savory supper shall transpire.

I hope you are all having a great day over there on the part of the world where it's still daytime. I love you lots.


Jamin's last journal entry

For those of you who knew Jamin (J.B.), you can honor him by carrying forward and living out the words of the very last entry that he made in his personal journal, a call to action that he unknowingly wrote for all of us -

"All hands on deck; let's unfurl the sails and follow the sun to the horizon fully enjoying this adventure that is life."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Harvard Memorial Service

On Sunday, January 14th, a third memorial service was held for Jamin Buchanan Wilson in Cambridge, MA. It took place thanks to the wonderful friendship of Jessie Bryan and Ryan Browne, and their desire to bring together J.B.'s friends from the college years of his life. The service was held at the beautiful Memorial Church, on the Harvard campus. Memorial Church was built following WWI, to honor those from Harvard who had paid the ultimate price for our freedom, with each of those names engraved in the building itself.

It was on the outside steps of this church that just two and a half years ago, Jamin stood grinning, accepting his commission as an officer in the USAF, alongside his dear friends from ROTC Detachment 365. It was a beautiful sunny, spring day, full of happiness and pride. The ceremony was so uplifting, with wonderful music played by the Marine Band. The inspiring speakers included the Secretary of the Air Force and other dignitaries. How proud we all were of the men and women on those steps! And the following day as well, when all who were "Harvard" gathered in that same place to celebrate the graduation of the class of '04. What great occasions these were!

And now, such a short time later, we were back for a different purpose. It had been exactly one month since Jamin's life had ended so suddenly. The January weather in Boston was cold and rainy. But other aspects of the service remained on par with those sunny June days in '04. The pride was still there. Not just pride in Jamin, but also in the fifty-plus young people who gathered to remember him. Their friendships were still strong, their lives on track to make a difference. The music was again beautiful... this time Bach, wonderfully played on the pipe organ. The speakers were inspiring and uplifting. Friends and family recalled J.B.'s zest for life. Then Rev. Mark Edington reminded us of Jesus' own words, "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly" (John 10:10), and how knowing Jesus Christ had both allowed J.B. to enjoy that abundant life, and had enabled him to make the lives of those around him more exciting as well.

Our family would like to thank Housemasters of Adams House, Dr.'s Sean and Judith Palfrey, for the warm welcome and lovely accommodations, and Rev. Mark Edington, organist Edward Jones, and sexton Richard Campbell for making it possible to have the use of Memorial Church. We also thank Jessie Bryan, Ryan Browne, and all the friends who traveled from near and far to help us remember Jamin. In his own words, "they are the best friends a guy could ever ask for".

Wilson Family Motto

Jamin was a first-born, and the son of a first-born. His dad was born a perfectionist, and that apple didn't fall far from the tree! By the time he was in High School, we noticed that he was sometimes leaving projects uncompleted, simply because they were not PERFECT! This, we thought, was a problem. We had a talk with him, reminding him that an excellent project that is finished is far better than a perfect project which never gets finalized. The amazing thing about Jamin is that he usually listened to his parents and mentors!!! We soon saw a change.

It was around this time, I believe, that we made one of our family motto's, "We strive for excellence, not perfection". Charlie has often had to ask one child or another to repeat that back to him, when they needed to be reminded. But the great thing is, when they see a bit of perfectionism bubbling to the surface in Charlie, the children have also been heard asking their dad "What's our family motto, Dad??", and he appreciates the reminder. (As for mom, perfectionism has never been a problem. I could use a bit more of the striving for excellence in my life!) We believe striving for perfection is futile. But there is nothing at all wrong with striving for excellence. In fact we should all do that, achieving as high a level as we possibly can.

Imagine our smiles when we saw on the door to Jamin's room in Speicher, this quote from George S. Patton...

He realized his weaknesses and was continually on a pursuit to improve them . . . oh that we would all do the same!

J.B. and Parker's Ultra-delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, now that you have our recipe for a fine son, we thought you might also like to have a recipe FROM that fine son. As you may know, J.B. had a way of making everything bigger and better, and this chocolate chip cookie thing was no different. If I remember correctly he was somewhat disappointed by another recipe that he had tried, so of course, never one to settle, he and younger brother Parker got together one day and decided to come up with the PERFECT** chocolate chip cookie recipe. Nothing was spared to come up with this combo. (Just keep in mind, we lived at a high altitude at the time, so you may need to adjust the flour). We wish we could give it to you in his own handwriting, but at least it's in his own words.

J.B. and Parker's Ultra-delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour (maybe 3 cups)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir flour with baking soda and salt. In mixer, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry mixture to mixing bowl. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes or until a delicious golden brown.

**see "Wilson Family Motto"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Recipe for a Fine Son

Our family had both the privilege and the pleasure to travel to Spangdahlem Air Base in the days following Jamin's death. There we were able to meet his wonderful friends and co-workers, and hear their words about our son and his Air Force life. (Oh how he loved that place and those people!) At one point, Capt. Steven Abate remarked to me, "All I know is, my wife wants your recipe for a son like that!". Two sleepless nights followed, and allowed me some time to think about what he had said, and below is the result...

In memory of Lt Jamin Buchanan Wilson

Take one man, who is trustworthy and good,
and one woman, who believes raising children
IS a career,
and blend them together in marriage,
committed for a lifetime.

In time, add the main ingredient -a baby boy,
(which comes in gift form)
and hold him close until he feels secure,
and feed him regularly so that he can trust.
Generously sprinkle in siblings if you are able.
(I used one brother and two sisters).
Mix them together vigorously
by having them share -- bedroom.

-Add in varied amounts:
more books than television,
more outings to the park than to the mall,
more creative thinking than pat answers,
more joyful anticipation
than fear of what is not known.

While this mixture is brewing,
pour in genuine praise as often as possible
and loving punishment
in small but necessary droplets.
And tell him you love him... often

Then measure -
the value of extended family
and of teachers and coaches who care,
adding this generously to the above.
Watch closely for gifts and talents to
bubble to the surface
and when they appear, be careful not to pop them.
For they must be allowed to grow in size indefinitely.

In a separate container gather many friends,
being sure to sort through them thoughtfully.
Set aside any who have soured from negative behavior
or become pitted by careless living
before blending in.
Watch daily for spoilage, and remove it immediately when it appears.
Be sure to make room for this mixture in your home.
Then shake in experiences exuberantly;
travel, the arts, the outdoors,
and teamwork and team play,
for they add a great deal
to the color and flavor of a life.

To finish, find a container (but not a mold)
much larger than yourself--
preferably one that is flexible.
Pat in a generous base of faith in God’s plan,
and prayerfully pour everything in over this,
including a part of yourself.
Then take a step back
and allow your son to grow and mature,
but DO NOT set a timer.
You are nearly finished.

When you can see that your work is done,
gently release this masterpiece to his calling,
asking only that he give back to others
in great proportion.
And tell him again that you love him... like crazy.

Then go and sit quietly,
close your eyes, and inhale deeply,
and savor the incredible aroma
of a fine young son.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

J.B. Hunt

My brother was one person who liked to think about others before himself. Its funny how he would do things just to make me feel better about myself even though it might make him look stupid. Like when we were little, our family would take road trips in our family van. We used to play all sorts of games in the car and my parents would often help us in them. One game that my parents came up with is that while were on our trips we would see these trucks that say J.B. Hunt on the side of it. My parents used to joke around with J.B. and they would say "hide J.B. they are coming to get you" but in a little nicer way then that. Well, since I am the youngest, I tend to not figure things out quite as quickly as my siblings. After time they all figured out that those trucks really weren't after J.B. but I on the other hand, still thought it was true. So when we would pass one of those trucks I would always tell J.B. to hide because they were after him. Even though he knew that it wasn't true, he would always hide for me. I don't know if it was just to be nice to his not so smart youngest sister, or if he liked the fun of the game, but something deep down tells me that he did it simply because he didn't want me to worry about him. He wanted to make sure I knew that he would be ok because he knew what to do and it made me feel better knowing that I helped him to be "safe".

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jamin's Memorial Slideshow

For those of you that weren't able to attend the memorial service that was held in Denver, here are the slideshow and quotes movies that were played there. Much thanks to everyone who wrote the nice letters that helped make up the quotes movie.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sing that tune!

Ok, so I know that Christmas is over but I couldn't resist posting this short clip that we received from one of Jamin's Air Force friends. I think that it highlights Jamin's energy and enthusiasm for . . . well pretty much everything - even an old classic.

Does anyone know the story behind this?

While we are on the subject of Christmas . . . I have heard and seen so many quotes to the effect of "The world would be such a better place if spirit of Christmas continued on year round." Without trying to make Jamin sound like a saint, I think that this is something that Jamin really grasped onto. He approached each day as if it was Christmas morning - excited for what gifts the day would bring (and on that note I truly believe that even the one's that once opened contained that notorious phrase "some assembly required" brought joy and a smile to his face - possibly even more so than perfectly packaged sunrises or sunsets that he so often took pictures of). In turn he also gave his own gifts to others - on a daily basis, YEAR ROUND! Sometimes these came in the form of compliments, sometimes in the form of assistance or volunteer work, money, or simply sharing his joy with others. The important thing is that no matter how many gifts he was given (by birth, or received throughout life) he did not keep them to himself - he handed them out to others as often as possible - not wrapping them all up and waiting for one day to hand them all out. What I think I will always appreciate about J.B. though is the way that he never lost the inner child within him. He didn't worry about what others would think of his goofiness or excitement about the small things in life (as proved the video) but instead taught others to appreciate them too (you have to admit you wanted to join in and sing with him didn't you?).

I dare say that if we lived in a world where every day was Christmas we may come close to the world that Jamin lived in.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Nightly Serenade

The following post was contributed by Jennifer Brewington, a friend of J.B.'s from Camp Elim (a Christian camp where he volunteered for several summers during High School):

One week during the summer, years ago (I want to say 7 years), J.B. was the guy's counselor for Co-Workers camp. Since it was such a small group, there was just one building that the boys and girls used, with only a wall and a door separating their sleeping quarters. Well, every night J.B. would get all the boys into the small hallway on the other side of the door to sing to the girls right before bed. Every night we looked forward to what song it would be, sometimes we would make requests, but we all thought it was great!

Happy Birthday J.B.!

Today, January 9th, would have been J.B.'s 26th Birthday. He missed it by just over 3 weeks. On his last birthday I told him "Let me know how this whole quarter of a century thing turns out and I might give it a try in . . . um about a year and a half or so. Love ya!"

I really wish he was still around to give me his advise! However, these past three weeks without him have been so enlightening, and inspirational that I feel like he has left it behind for me to continue to digest through the kind words of his friends, co-workers, family, classmates, teammates, roommates, and teachers . . . so to all of you I say THANK YOU!

If God grants me the gift of 17 more months on this earth I will, for what feels like the first time in my life, have accomplished something that my big brother was not able to do . . . reach my 26th Birthday. If that happens, I may surpass him in age but I know for sure that it will take a lifetime to try to outlive him.

Happy Birthday Brother! I LOVE YOU LIKE CRAZY!

P.S. I think that it is worth noting that Apple Computers just unveiled their new products today, January 9th! Coincidence . . . I think not. Despite what gifts we may have given him this birthday I think that he would still consider this little piece of information the best thing EVER! More to come on that later.

J.B. with friends from D'Evelyn High School on his 18th Birthday

Jamin celebrating his 25th Birthday on base last year - thank you to all who made this a special day for him!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Perfect Weekend - In His Own Words

Being the tight-knit though somewhat spread out family that we are, we have always loved receiving emails from eachother. There has kind of been this energy generated in our household whenever we receive emails from members that are not currently at home. Its almost a contest to see who can report that they saw the email first "Did you see the email from ________ yet?" And then recounting everything that the family member said before the other person has a chance to read it for themselves. It is with this excitement that we always read through Jamin's emails about his adventures at college and then in Europe. Yes, he went some amazing places and saw some of the most extraoridinary landscapes. However, it never ceased to amaze us how excited he could get about the most mundane things in life. He saw the good in everything. The email below is simply an example of that. I hope you enjoy reading about life from Jamin's perspective. We could all learn a lesson or two about positivity from this:

"Today I woke up and went to a friend's house for brunch. It was four lawyers, a nurse, and me, and we had eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits with home-made peach preserves, Nutella, and raspberry jam, mimosas, and lots of tasty fruit. Quite a spread, really. And I must tell you that these lawyer-types are really quite well-educated, and hence, quite witty. Lots of fun for breakfast conversation.

Meanwhile, I recieved a call from another friend who wondered if I'd like to go on a bike ride. Now you see, I've been going on some little bike rides here and there, but I've been meaning to go on a really serious bike ride for a while now, and this was it. The friends I was meeting up with actually live a decent bit (by bike, at least) away from me, and then from there we were going to a cool little town on the Mosel River. Well, it ended up being quite a trek. I biked 43 km each way over some pretty serious hills, for a total of 86 km today. I think if I had been in the Tour de France, I would have gotten the red spotted jersey today for best hill-climbing (I guess I _was_ the only one who rode the hilly parts of the trail, but you know...). Anyhow, awesome time. Had a tasty little waffle with whipped cream and cherries in Bernkastel (the destination) for a mid-ride treat, then hopped back on the trail to head home. Total time on bike today: 6.5 hours. Awesome.

And then I came home and had some tasty spaghetti*. And now I am going to bed. And I like bed.

Oh yes, and I wrote an e-mail to my family whom I love very much. That's great. I can't wait to get to see you all at Thanksgiving. Hope you all had a great weekend too.

Love you like crazy,

* Well, not quite as tasty as Mom's, but hey -- a guy can't ask for
_everything_, can he?"

Boston Memorial Service

The Boston Memorial Service will be held Sunday, January 14th at 5:00pm.
The location is: Memorial Chapel
Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA
Following the service there will be a reception at Adams House.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Jamin's Important Research

This post was contributed by Felix Blum a dear friend of the family who entered my Dad's life when he lived with his family during high school on an exchange program from Switzerland. Since that time we have been in touch several times a year and he has had multiple opportunities to spend time with our family and us with his.

Forty years ago I came into the Wilson family. Since I arrived in Denver in 1966 we have shared some important steps in our lives: Charlie and Becky got married the same year als Susanne and I did. What a wonderful surprise and joy, when we could announce to each other at the same time the birth of our first children - Jamin and Anna. This way it went on. Every other year we were given one more couple. First Molly and Basil, then Parker and Rosalia and finally Brynna and Donat. The only difference (beside that each one is a very unique idividual) was, that you started with a boy and ended with a girl while we did it vice versa.
In 1999 your whole family come over to Europe and visited us in Switzerland. The following year we all were together on Lake Powell and in Denver - unforgettable times for us!

Having the chance to see four children growing, up one certainly can notice some caracteristics according to the position in their familiy. E.g. our eldest, Anna, is a person that tries to do everything to her best and who takes lots of responsability. I believe to have noticed a similar attitude with J.B. On the pictures taken at the Rhine Falls and on Lake Powell Jamin stands firm and responsable in this life.The third picture has been taken in Arogno. From that trip to the italian part of Switzerland I still remember a little story:

We just got home from lunch in Como on the Italian side of the border when Jamin announced that he needs to go to the nearest McDonalds. So we got back in the car and drove to Lugano. As I did not know better we got off in front of a Burger King restaurant. It was only there that I realized that we were not looking just for a hamburger to eat because Jamin would prefer American to Italian food or because he was still hungry. No, what he was looking for was a Mc Donalds place because his aim was to test weather the quality of the Big Mac is the same all over the world. For that he wanted to taste one of them in every bigger city he passed on his trip through Europe. Of course we wanted to give our support to his studies that he followed systematically even during vacations. So we were really glad when we finally pulled in in front of a real Mc Donald's. And Jamin was pleased with the results of his researches.

Share Your Memories

This site has been created for friends, family, and co-workers of Jamin Wilson to share their memories, photos, and videos of this incredible man. Feel free to comment on any posts that have already been created. However, if you would like to be added as a contributor to this blog please send me an email at Please include your name and your relationship to Jamin so that I can add you to the list. This will allow you to upload text, photos, or videos whenever a memory comes to mind.