This past month we were greeted with the unfortunate news that 2 of our colleagues passed away, and we’d like to pay tribute to them here.
JEFF ESSEX 1960-2012
Game audio lost a wise and experienced voice when Jeff Essex passed away this month. He was recovering from routine knee surgery when he suffered a pulmonary embolism at home at the age of 52.
Jeff was a frequent speaker at GDC & AES. He taught an audio course at San Francisco’s Academy of Art and in 1996 Random House published his book, “Multimedia Sound and Music Studio” which was commissioned by Apple. Jeff was working in interactive audio in the early days of the CD-Rom era, and had an ongoing contract with Disney for almost 20 years, working on everything from ring tones to larger scale game projects. Jeff was also contributing to the newly formed G.A.N.G. committee on indie and mobile games.
Jeff was always generous with his knowledge and quick with his wit and love of bad puns. In his Albany, CA community he was well known for strumming his ukulele through the streets on his morning coffee trips, as well as the healthy volunteer time he put in with his children’s schools, events and organizations. He was a regular at our informal east bay game audio tiki room hang outs (where he also brought his ukulele!)
I attended his memorial, and was happy to see an extremely large turnout (standing room only at Ashkenaz in Berkeley), and in listening to everyone’s stories, seeing his pictures and hearing his music it was clear that everyone had the same warm, rewarding experience of Jeff that I always had. Both of his children, Sam and Sara, spoke (and even performed) at the memorial, and it was clear that Jeff’s legacy is in good hands. There is a memorial Facebook page set up for Jeff if you’d like to join and share your stories.
Pete Clare passed away this month following a brief illness related to melanoma. He was partially through Chemotherapy and had hoped to move on to a new drug this week which had shown promising results with patients who had similar symptoms as Pete.
I think Pete was known by many in G.A.N.G.; many will remember his work at Sensaura (which was eventually bought by Creative Labs), and his evangelization of 3D sound in games during the heyday of 3D binaural HRTF audio for PC in the mid-90’s and early 2000’s.
Pete was a great lover of digital audio, 3D audio and will be missed. I worked with Pete during the design of the original Xbox (which included the Sensaura technology) and his passion for what he did was contagious. Pete was also a big pinball fan (he owned several machines) and he and I had great times together discussing our shared passions of gaming, pinball, 3D sound and audio technology in general. (Brian Schmidt)
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