Sad News

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Kechara
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Sad News

Post by Kechara » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:38 pm

On Sunday night, the quizbowl world lost a fine coach and a fine man, Jay Hepner, after a battle with stomach cancer. Although Jay taught at Watkins Mill HS in Montgomery County, MD, he was the coach of the team at Quince Orchard for many years. He is probably best remembered by players and coaches from other teams for his hippie-ish style and for carrying his daughter around tournaments when she was a baby and a toddler. My mother, who went to high school with Jay, described him back then as a "beatnik," and that description holds true to this day. (As a side note, Jay always called me "Jan" because I look so much like my mother...I'm going to miss that.)

Most of you don't know Jay, because his teams did not travel far and wide in search of the best or most competitive tournaments. He also stopped coaching a couple of years ago, saying that he wanted more time to focus on competitive kickball. He was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, making that the more likely reason for his retirement from coaching. However, as much as we laughed at the idea, Dave and I believed Jay's story, because it was plausible for him. Jay was the kind of person who followed his heart and was always in search of the next interesting thing.

Jay was buried today, since Jewish law requires that people be buried within 48 hours after death. However, since his death occurred during a festival, sitting Shiva will not occur until this weekend. For those who are in the area and want to pay their respects, it will be at 14410 Butternut Court, Rockville, on Saturday, October 2 at 8 and Sunday, October 3 at 6:30.

Jay "Hepcat" Hepner
August 1957-September 26, 2010
May G-d hold you in the palm of His hand.
Jessie Francis

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Howard
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Re: Sad News

Post by Howard » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:17 pm

Thanks for posting, Jessie. I fear that I otherwise would not have found out.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

shoshanab
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Re: Sad News

Post by shoshanab » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:40 pm

Thank you for posting this Jessie. I wish I could have had a list of all those that Jay had come into contact with during his life. I may find an address book with all that information but for now I'll just have to go with the contacts on his Facebook and any other lists he was on.

Thank you for attending his funeral. My mom was sorry that she hadn't gotten your name when you came to funeral. We were still I think in a bit of shock to believe that he was gone. He fought the good fight and having so many either come to the funeral or to pay shiva call made us feel warm inside. Jay was a good person and he will be missed sorely by all those who loved him. At times my mom and I keep expecting that he'll call, that he's just gone traveling, but inside we know he won't. His memory lives on inside us and his daughter, whom he loved and was the light of his life. The cancer may have won the war, but Jay won peace. Rest in peace my brother. We love you and miss you.

Shoshana Hepner Brounstein (Jay's sister)

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Re: Sad News

Post by shoshanab » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:43 pm

Just a side note on Jay. I was not aware, and not sure if my mom and younger brother were aware, that he had stopped coaching. It was definitely a loss.

Shoshana Hepner Brounstein (Jay's sister)

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Kechara
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Re: Sad News

Post by Kechara » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:09 pm

Shoshana,

I'm very glad that I was able to make it to the funeral, glad that I have a job where I could leave. I know several people that wanted to be there but couldn't get off of work, including one friend that was substitute teaching so other colleagues could go.

Jay was definitely missed when he stopped coaching. I wish I had known what was going on so that I could have spent more time with him while he was here. I first found out he had cancer when my friend Sarah called me that Monday morning to say he was gone.

I don't know if Jay (or you) was on the Peary alumni website, but if you want to prepare something to be posted on there about Jay, I can have my mom post it, since she's a member.

For that, or for anything else, you can email me at JessiePACE @ yahoo dot com. My thoughts and prayers (along with those of my husband) are with you and your family.
Jessie Francis

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Re: Sad News

Post by shoshanab » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:54 am

Thanks Jessie. I posted something about Jay on Peary's 35th Reunion event and have received some responses. It's still a difficult thing to believe that Jay has been gone these three weeks. For some reason, Jay did not want a lot of people to know about his illness and kept staying positive throughout. People would ask me how he was doing and when I'd ask him he'd say "Tell them I'm fine." After his last surgery in July, I knew that something needed to be done as the surgeon had said that he took out "a bucketful of tumors" those were his exact words. That they took out 90%, which meant that there was still 10% that was in him. I don't think any of us - my mom, me, my younger brother, and Jay's girlfriend Barbar expected him to go so quickly almost 2-1/2 months after his surgery. But when he called to say that they were driving down from Pittsburgh to John Hopkins because he was bringing up blood, I knew that it was not good. And it wasn't. Forty-eight hours after meeting with his team of doctors, he was gone. It's still difficult. We have our good days and our bad days, good moments and bad moments.

I'm actually not an alumni of Peary. Both Allen and I graduated from Rockvile. They changed the boundaries after Jay left Wood. So anything that you or your mom could post on the Peary website would be great. There actually was a correction that donations could be made in Jay's memory to the Timothy Pawlik Research Fund for GIST with checks made payable to Johns Hopkins to the attention of Michelle Cohen. I'll have to get the address and email it to you.

he is definitely missed.

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