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Christopher Thomas Jewell


christopher jewell

November 7, 1947 - July 7, 2022

Chris Jewell’s work here was completed on July 7, 2022. If you imagine life as a journey, his journey started in New York and ended in California. Between, he took his time with the stars above, the sea around us, the road between us, a radio to hear with, a telescope to see with, and a woman to be with—Jan.

Born November 7, 1947 in Kew Gardens in the borough of Queens in New York to Thomas Dow Jewell and Catherine Greene Jewell (née Catherine Frances Greene), Chris studied at Manhattan College, earning a BA in Mathematics with a Liberal Arts emphasis. Chris played in several amateur symphony orchestras and in a jazz band; his instruments included trumpet, trombone, and cello. His love of classical music and jazz was constant his entire life—as were his love and enjoyment of science fiction and the writings of many humorists. At age twelve he developed a deep and long-lasting interest in astronomy—asking his parents to take him to the Hayden Planetarium and for books on astronomy—and always kept a telescope or three nearby.

Chris began his career in software engineering as a “programmer trainee” for the Port Authority of New York and later began to work and consult for banks in New York and Canada while his passion for sailing and the sea grew. He once sailed from New York to the Caribbean. His luxury was that his consulting for part of each year sustained his love of sailing the rest of the year, and he became active in the First District Southern Region of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In 1983 he moved to California to consult at Apple in Silicon Valley. In 1990 he was lured to a small startup, Lucid, where he met his future wife, Jan. Jan and Chris’s journey together started with a star party at Grant Ranch on Mt. Hamilton, not too far from Licke Observatory where they spent many nights gazing. A special treat at star parties was checking out the different telescopes all lined up. Along the way an epic 3-Mustaphas-3 field trip did the trick, and the band’s motto—“forward in all directions!”—applies to Jan and Chris too. And besides, who doesn’t love a fez?

After Lucid, Chris worked at several software companies including Netflix, where he developed an early film recommendation system.

Jan and Chris lived in San Jose, Hollister, and eventually Gualala, where Chris with Jan, was able to re-engage with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, District 11 North Region; they both earned many commendations for their work with Flotilla 08-07. Over the years Chris was a Flotilla Commander, an original AUXOP member, an active Vessel Examiner, an instructor, and a crew member. From 2011 for more than five years, Chris and Jan were a driving force in maintaining the Coast Guard helicopter fuel farm at Point Arena.

In Gualala Chris and Jan became Amateur Radio Operators (HAMs) to help the community in case of disasters. Chris became a member of the Anchor Bay Amateur Radio Club and quickly earned his Amateur Extra Class license—the highest class license a HAM can achieve. Chris then became a Volunteer Examiner, administering many exams, helping increase the number of HAMs in the Mendocino-Sonoma area. Being HAMs worked hand-in-hand with their work in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

On July 3, Chris fell, suffering a severe injury. He died on July 7 at Highland Hospital in Oakland in the arms of his wife, with close friends by his side. Christopher Thomas Jewell is survived by his wife Jan Jewell (née Jeanette Lorraine Stover), his brother Timothy Daniel Jewell, and Tim’s wife, Patricia Lee Hart.

Below the stars the sand waits beside the sea where Jan and Chris have walked—the trace remains of their recent passing, and the warmth from their feet hangs on.

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