About Gregg
"Gregg’s life was more successful than some 3 times his age. His life force was like a bright light, or a great energy. He fought a good fight as only he could have and we are proud of him for this as well. And now in his own words, 'our warrior is leaving the game and an era will leave with him. Thanks for the memories. You could never be forgotten.' "
Karyn Clyne Jakubik
Karyn’s Eulogy to Her Beloved Brother, Gregg, August 8, 2006
It is hard to sum up in 5 minutes who my brother was and what he meant to all of us but I know that he deserves this public declaration of love and pride that we feel for him. My mother says that Gregg was born with his eyes wide open and looking around. It seemed that he was always ready to take life head on. In fact he was downright anxious to grow up, perhaps to catch up with his older siblings. Ironically it is my brother Steven and I that look up to him for his many wonderful qualities and accomplishments.
Gregg was a sweet and loving little boy. He had a happy childhood in our house and we all doted on him. Even as a young boy he was responsible… savvy even. At the age of 12 he began a lawn mowing business with my parents’ lawn mower, sending out flyers to advertise his services, and charging a tidy sum per lawn. He went so far as to make his own letterhead on the computer which he used to bill people. And if you didn’t pay in a timely fashion you received a past due notice on said letterhead. My own parents whose lawn mower he used were not exempt from these bills. When he left for college and had to liquidate his business, he actually tried to sell back to them their own lawnmower…always the entrepreneur………
Gregg got his first computer at the age of 7 years old and so began a life long love affair with technology of all kinds from lap tops, to zip drives, fiber optics, state of the art cell phones, and other gadgets that I am probably not even aware of.
His accomplishments are numerous and noteworthy. In 1997 Gregg graduated with honors from Westfield High School and went on to University of Delaware where he repeatedly made the Dean’s List. My brother was made the president of a fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu a large responsibility that he bravely took on. According to his fraternity brothers it had never been run as well, a testimony to his leadership ability. After graduating from Delaware, also with honors, Gregg went on to have a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. His colleagues tell us of his talent, intellect, and strong work ethic., all of which come as no surprise given his previous track record. Gregg was an asset wherever he went in his life.
Gregg was strong, physically and in his convictions. Everyone keeps using the word "a fighter". It is this feisty and combative spirit that enabled him to continue working through 3 surgeries, numerous rounds of chemo, and radiation. Many days he would go from the hospital directly to work and then attend classes on Saturdays at Stevens Institute to get his Masters Degree. His co-workers and project team members at Stevens told me that he never let them down. This is truly a remarkable indicator of his drive and determination.
Gregg co-published an article in Pharmaceutical Technology. It is called "Applying Part II to the Implementation of Quality Management Services" and I was quite impressed because I read it and didn’t understand a word. Did you all know that Gregg’s hobby was photography? He took beautiful pictures and this was a more creative and sensitive side of the otherwise goal oriented brother.
Gregg was on a quest for excellence, no less would do for him. He had high expectations for himself and those around him. Passionately and almost fiercely he defended his convictions. My brother was very proud of being very conservative in all ways, and of being a Republican. I loved him despite these things. Oh we loved to argue!
Another word for Gregg was independent. He loved having his very own home and took great care with it. Whenever I called it his apartment, he corrected me. He said, "It’s my house. I own it."
An avid Yankees fan, Jeff, Steve and Gregg would watch the Yankees season video or World Series video every Christmas morning. They took great pleasure being together and discussing and watching sports of all kinds. Jeff always remarks at how knowledgeable and devoted a Yankee fan Gregg was, and my husband is not easy to impress in this regard. Speaking of the Yankees, one of his most prized possessions was from Rita, a signed picture of Paul O’Neil during his last game as a Yankee. While googling Gregg’s name, Jeff discovered this quote from Gregg to Paul O’Neill on his website, He wrote, 'Everyone knew our warrior was leaving the game and the end of a Yankee era was leaving with you. Thanks for the memories.'
Though often blustery on the outside Gregg was a sensitive, caring person, fiercely loyal to his family and friends. He took his relationships very seriously, particularly his role as uncle and godfather. No matter how tired he was Gregg’s face lit up when Audrey and Joshua were in the room. They will always remember him as a fun uncle who loved to chase them or toss them into the air. As recently as June (two months before his death) in spite of acute pain Gregg pulled out every stop in order to get to his godson’s third birthday party.
Gregg’s greatest accomplishment by far will be the company he kept, all of you who have so lovingly came to see him off and tell us your stories. More than anyone though is Rita, the great love of his life. She is all that he was, smart, loyal, loving, beautiful and brave. He recognized that in Rita, adored her for it and that says more about him than I ever can. This ability to love and be loyal is a characteristic that can only be attributed to the love he saw and received from and between our parents. Gregg had a tight bond with both our parents. He confided in and spent a great deal of time with my mother and wanted only her care when he was most ill. His great admiration of my father is evident in his obvious desire to be like him… for all the attributes that describe him can be applied equally to our dad.
Gregg’s life was more successful than some 3 times his age. His life force was like a bright light, or a great energy. He fought a good fight as only he could have and we are proud of him for this as well. And now in his own words, Gregg, our warrior is leaving the game and an era will leave with him. Thanks for the memories. You could never be forgotten.