Trying to seek personal meaning in another’s death is an inherently selfish thing to do, but today I want to be selfish. I want to vent. I want to know why I’m back writing obituaries for my friends. I want to not think about it, but here we are.
Damien Schaefer died this weekend after a battle with cancer. He had recently married a wonderful woman, bought his dream guitar, and filled our inboxes with updates about his upcoming gastronomic events. He was young and incredibly talented and always made you feel welcome. And now he is gone.
I started working with Damien the summer after graduating from college. Though it was an internship, he made it a point to treat me the same as a co worker. We made websites work; taking requests for new features, teaching staff how to use the newest mods, fixing bugs and what not. I was often doing research and filling out touring dates for clients. Once there was an issue on a high profile site involving umlauts. Turns out that when you have an upcoming single called Überlin, you might need the code to work. I learned so much about dealing with high priority tasks and what it took to keep a band running from the tech side that year.
During that time I was incredibly nervous about my future and desperate to stay in Athens. I had no money to rent a place so I ended up on a futon in what could be described as an abusive situation. But every morning, Damien and I, and occasionally Randy, would walk down the street to get some coffee at Ike and Janes. It was a quiet space in my rapidly changing world and I appreciated it. We would talk about the latest in music business and tech, he’d describe some new bacon he was working on, etc. His office was a separate building next to his house, both immaculately designed to be bright and airy. The sunlight would fill our workspace as we listened to Patton Oswalt’s old routines. Randy and Damien had a garden as well, growing things that I’d never heard of but would probably appear on the next Four Coursemen menu. He’d occasionally run out for a meeting, leaving a small limited edition something from a band for me to find on my desk the next morning.
I landed a full time job at the University not long after. We would touch base now and again but for the most part, I stood back and watched. He filmed a small documentary on the Four Coursemen, he played in his cover band Pastor of Muppets, he continued pushing forward the ideas and talents of his friends. The last time we talked he was already diving into a new culinary project in Atlanta. That’s who he was. He was that guy, that cool and talented guy that made you want to work to be cool and talented too. He leaves behind a legacy of fellowship and kindness that won’t be soon forgotten. I’ll miss him dearly.
His family requests in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Giving Kitchen at https://thegivingkitchen.org.