In Memory

Jon Liberman

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03/05/14 11:05 AM #1    

Robin Kopech (Berk)

Jon Corr Liberman passed away January 22, 2006.  I still remember his awesome Bar Mitzvah.  He was a nice guy (my first crush) and I always thought it was really cool that his parents owned Carol Corr.  He left behind a wife and three children.

07/19/14 11:56 AM #2    

Richard Allan Marin

I met Jon in Freshman gym class. As most of you can probably remember, gym lockers at ETHS were assigned alphabetically, so "Liberman" was seated on the locker room bench immediately to the left of "Marin".

Jon was a cannonball of a boy, and he grew into a cannonball of a man, in every sense of the word cannonball.

I'm not sure, to this day, how to measure Jon's athletic "skills", but he was an enormously fierce competitor even at age 14, and he competed fiercely every day of his adult life.

Jon graduated early -- he was remarkably bright -- and spent our Senior year in Israel, learning about his heritage and getting, briefly, thrown into jail for harmless behavior that is now completely legal in Colorado.

After graduating University of Illinois, Jon had an outstanding Information Technology career in Chicago.

In the earlier years of that career Jon met the one love of his life, Karen Zimmerman of Rogers Park, and they produced three wonderful children: Jenna, Michael and Ian. His devotion to his family was limitless, and superseded any other agendas or ambitions he may have had.

Jon was a true IT pioneer, and was probably the first guy I really knew who had an internet-connected computer in his home. When the family moved to Wilmette the computer room -- his home office -- was in the basement and was affectionately referred to as the Blue Room, due to the Robin's Egg blue paint Jon chose for the space.

Jon's IT consulting career led him to meet an extremely wide range of business people -- his primary target market was small to medium sized manufacturing firms, generally in metro Chicago, of which there are several thousand and Jon knew them all.

That business experience led him to hold beliefs that we debated for decades.

The most obvious expression of the first belief was that Jon habitually referred to family businesses as "dysfunctional family businesses." You had to press him very hard to get him to, grudgingly, admit that any family business was anything other than dysfunctional.

I found that viewpoint highly annoying, perhaps because my father was partner in a dysfunctional family business and I suspected that it was generally accurate.

The second belief was far broader than business, although he usually developed the argument based upon business experience: Jon alleged that he believed that the only thing that motivated people to action was pain, and that everything that anyone did -- no matter how painful the action -- was an attempt to avoid an even greater pain.

We argued about this our entire adult lives and, only in what turned out to be the very last years, did I grudgingly acknowledge that he might be right and that I just wasn't strong enough to even begin to fairly examine that idea, or its implications.

Jon's heart attack in January 2006 came as a tremendous shock to me, as it did to all of his friends. He was, so far as anyone knew, perfectly healthy. I had seen him the previous September and he looked just great.

So here's my last memory of Jon Corr Liberman, time-stamped September 2005.

We're standing in front of his house on a beautiful circle in West Wilmette. It's sunny early Fall, with the leaves on the trees beginning to color and with a few early-droppers decorating the pavement gold and red.

I'm about to leave. He reaches out to me, gives me a bear hug and pops me in the ribs. Jon liked to do that to his best buddies.

I was sore for about a week, and I have missed him for the past eight years.

It is traditional to close remembrances of the departed with "rest in peace" -- which is certainly better than most of the possible alternatives, I guess -- but Jon was certainly never "at peace" in any commonly understood sense of the term: he was active, all the time.

So, Jon, I want you to know: your memory keeps me moving.

Peace in Motion my friend. One love.

Richard Marin, ETHS, 1974

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