Thursday, December 11, 2008


My oldest and dearest friend Josh Westhaver died this morning. He’d been on life support for the last couple of days because of extreme complications caused by a massive asthma attack that resulted in cardiac arrest. I visited him last night after work and I thought I’d get a chance to see him one more time today… but it was not to be. He was 36 years old.

Josh was such a peaceful and kind person and on top of that was very creative. We went to college together and shared many a dramatic moment on stage back in my acting days. He was that fantastic guy that you felt you already knew your whole life the first time you met him. He was also a strong environmentalist too and actually walked the walk, so to speak, and I always felt he was the prototypical Portlander. His essential goodness, simply put, made this planet a better place…. and I can’t even begin to imagine the rest of my life without him.

Here's Josh in a mini-documentary I did about him and his cat in 2003.


UPDATE: I've started a new blog about Josh here

-Swinebread

41 comments:

ladybug said...

I'm so sad I didn't get to see him much these last years, everybody's so busy. He was so kind for our son's memorial service and wedding too. I sure hate this random death crap.

Don Snabulus said...

We loved Josh at the Snabulus household. He was gentle and kind and a good friend. Everything Swinebread said is true. He came to a Halloween party at our house and he had this great pirate outfit. That was a wonderful party. As Ladybug said, he was there pitching in to support us on the happiest day and the saddest time of our marriage.

I wish we could have hung out one more time. Actually a hundred more times. I am going to miss him.

Dean Wormer said...

H-

I'm so sorry man. When ladybug called last night I had hoped that it was different Josh that she was talking about rather than you and J's good buddy from college.

He was a great, very funny guy.

Please let me know if you need anything.

F

Dr. Zaius said...

How sad, my condolences. Who is taking care of his cat now?

Overdroid said...

Thanks for putting this post up. I wish we had had more opportunity to spend time with him. He will be missed.

Randal Graves said...

My condolences.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we know each other, but Josh is our connection. I cannot believe what has happened. I was going to go to the hospital tonight. I am angry that I missed my chance. Thank you for your post. Be well.
Cassie

Hill said...

My sincerest condolences.

Maybe, just maybe, in the blink of an eye where time and space don't exist anymore or in another dimension, may he be reunited with all those he loved and were loved by him.

Anonymous said...

Josh had this terrific sense of humor. I always felt he understood things about people. He was a very good person. I will miss him being in the world. Susan

Anonymous said...

As Stated, Josh was the type of person you thought you had known forever. That Cheesy Grin, that great big smile. I'm so stunned, Yes the world my be a little bit dimmer now.
VJM

pidomon said...

I am so sorry for your loss and will send good thoughts to you, Josh and those who love him.

Anonymous said...

josh was a thoughtful, generous man.
his friends in the theatre and dance community are devastated, as we share your loss. he touched so many lives with his sincere charm and his energetic support and talent. much love and respect to you and to josh's family.

AllisonWhoLovedHim said...

I am devastated. I have no words.

Arkonbey said...

I of course never knew him, but the cat video was a sweet favorite of ours since you first posted it. it revealed a small snippet of who he was and I can see how he'll be missed.

You should plant a tree for him. In your own yard if possible.

I wish that anything more I could say would help.

pax.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Man...now I REALLY wish I had met the guy. He sounds like quite an interesting fellow!

Actually, though...he looks strangely familiar. He wasn't in the SCA, was he?

westhaver said...

This is Josh's brother. I wanted to thank you for your kind words. I know how special Josh was to me and it's obvious that he touched the lives of many.

I'm trying to get word out that there will be a remembrance for Josh this coming Monday the 15th, 5:00pm at Portland Center Stage's Gerding theater. Please come if you would like and pass along to anyone who knew him.

Thank you
Brian

Anonymous said...

I had known Josh since 1996. In the past few years, Josh and I had become pretty close. He was such a caring and concerned man. We often talked of our fears, faults and foibles, yet our conversations would always end in laughter. Josh had the BEST laugh. I could feel Josh's appreciation for life in that laugh. As I look at the picture of Josh at the top of this page, I hear his laugh. I miss you Josh.
Love, J. Bobb

Sue Berch said...

The news of Josh's passing is so very hard to hear. I haven't seen him in years but I knew him pretty well a couple of lifetimes ago. I even spent a very scary several days holding vigil at the hospital when another asthma attack nearly took him from us in the late 90s.

I will always think of him when I see Mountain Dew. I have indelible snapshots in my head of him sitting on the steps outside the house reading a book. Playing with the cats. In rehearsals at Tygres Heart.

I wish I could be there in PDX to help celebrate his life with everyone for that is what I know he would hope you all would do.

Rest in Peace, Kiddo.

Sue

Anonymous said...

I've known Josh for most of my life. He's my cousin. Although I didn't see him on a regular basis, it was just like we were kids again every time I did see him. He was truly a very special person and I will surely miss him.

Deb

mampdx said...

I didn't know Josh personally, but from all that's been written about him, and the video of him and Lady, I can see he was a very special person. Having recently lost a friend myself in a similarly sudden, unexpected way, I empathize with your sense of shock. My sincere condolences to all his friends and family (two- and four-legged).

Anonymous said...

I'll just sit and cry now for a sweet and funny man and remember a thousand silly times at Tygres Heart with Josh. My condolences to his family and all who knew and loved him.
Marianne Itkin

Heather L Walker said...

Josh was a friend through a friend. But, as I knew him, he was a kind, sweet, generous man. There was a boyish quality about him. He was the light of any crowd. And, there was no way that you could be down around him.

I cry now for this precious life lost. And, how all of us who knew him - even ever so briefly - have lost one of the most amazing people any of us will probaly ever meet.

We are all better for knowing him.

Heather Walker
Wisconsin

Ryan said...

I met Josh in 1998 when I started working at Hollywood Lights. The thing that I always loved about Josh is it didn't matter how long it had been since you had seen him, it was like no time passed at all. He was reliably funny and friendly and I was always sad when we had to part company again.

The last time I saw Josh was at my Wedding. We played a great game of frisbee before the ceremony. Candice and I were grateful he was there for our wedding day.

I have great memories of Josh that will always stay with me. I'm a better person because he was in my life. The world has lost a great man, he will be missed greatly.

Ryan Broom
Washington

don said...

I have known Josh off and on since 1995, but got to know him much better in the last 3 years as we starting working regularly together on lighting calls with Portland Center Stage. Josh was, can't believe I have to use the word was, one of the truly great people in this world. We loved to laugh together and did so on a regular basis. I will miss his spirit and good natured way about things. Thank you for posting the documentary about Josh and Lady, who I think also passed away recently, because now I have a place to go and see my good friend Josh now that he is gone. Don Crossley

Anonymous said...

I grew up next door to Josh. I didn't have siblings and always felt close to Josh and his younger brother Brian. I was lucky enough to know him through high-school, where we shared the great theatre experience of AHS. I adore his parents and they are forever a part of my childhood. I am so sorry for your loss. Erin Smith

Anonymous said...

I have known Josh all of his life. I am his Aunt and have known him as part of my family. I remember when Josh and Sandy (my daughter) were at their Grandparents home one Christmas when they were kids and they made up a play for the rest of the family. We all laughed and chapped at their play. Josh always had a love of life. Whenever I saw him, he always had that "Josh" smile and I could see the love he had for his family. I know that this love and caring extended to all who knew him and I know how greatly he will be missed. Love Aunt Sue

defenestrated said...

I'm not the first and I'm sure I won't be the last person on here to mention missing Josh's incredible, infectious laugh. I hope you don't mind that I've linked to this video - it's such a sweet way to remember him, and I needed to say a couple of words too. Thank you for posting yours.

Eric said...

I was very sad to learn of this news earlier this evening. I went to school with Josh and had the pleasure of working with him on several occasions. What I can say succinctly about him is that thinking about him, remembering him, makes me smile. He had a big heart and was always eager to help others. He will be missed.

RoseEtta said...

I was very lucky to have just recently worked with Josh. I ask all of you in Celebration of Josh, call someone you haven;t seen in awhile and reconnect! Don't let another pass without seeing an old friend! Rose Etta

RoseEtta said...

Day! Don't let another DAY pass! Sorry I started crying and missed a word! Josh is laughing at me!
Rose Etta

Sandy said...

My favorite memory of my cousin Josh, was the one Christmas Josh and I produced a little play for our family. At 10 years old his creativity was beyond imaginable. I feel so fortunate my kids spent time with him. They remember how much fun he was to play with…big kid….I will miss him.

defenestrated said...

Thank you for inviting me to your other blog, and for starting it. For some reason it won't let me comment there, so I'm trying here. You're more than welcome to link to the post I wrote, or cut-and-paste it to your page, or whatever you want to do.

Someone from work was talking about how much she still had wanted to learn from Josh. She's right; he had so much left to give and share and teach the rest of us that this is still really hard to wrap one's mind around.

rich bachelor said...

Josh and I worked together with Oregon Ballet Theater and PICA. I've only known him three years, but he had a way about him that always made me happy to see him, and am completely bewildered by his passing. It hurts, and just doesn't make any sense.

Siren65 said...

I keep checking in here, reading all the comments, and looking at the Memories of Josh blog. It just isn't getting easier. My love goes out to all of us that loved Josh so much.

I posted some old photos on my Facebook account, for those interested. (look up Allison Anderson)

Swinebread - would you be willing to contact me via email? allison@tubil.com.

Pandabonium said...

I remember this video and thought Josh seemed like a really neat guy to know at the time. I am very sorry for your loss. I too lost an old friend this week, so truly do understand the pain. Your remembrance of his is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Josh was a beautiful, brilliant man who was my Ferdinand and my would-be Hamlet. I worked with Josh on a number of projects at Tygres Heart Shakespeare Co. and was always his enthusiast. He was heaven to direct and act with. He was also a gentle, kind, radical, gorgeous soul and it breaks my heart that he could be taken from us so soon. I will miss his friendship, his hair, his eyes, his voice and his smile. I bless him on his journey and say, with all deepest sincerity, "Good night, sweet prince."

--Glenn Scofield Williams

Selba said...

Sorry to hear about this sad news.

I remember that I've seen this mini-documentary before.

I really admire and like people who love cats, dogs and cats.

Swinebread said...

Thank You everyone for your kind words about Josh. I miss him deeply.

Anonymous said...

We have know Josh since 1993 and we were shocked to hear this sad news. He was a kind and funny man who will be missed by many. Our condolences go out to his family.
Eileen and Mike

Anonymous said...

I’m saddened to hear of Josh’s passing. He was an amazing guy. So easily lovable. With the most genuine and jovial laugh I’ve ever heard. I had great fun with him sword fighting in one of our college plays; I had no idea how he was going to perform it from one night to the next. He kept things new, fresh, playful. I wish I could have gotten to know the person he became after college. In reading all the comments people have offered about him, it sounds like he remained a wonderful person to be around.

Nathan

Double-H said...

I just learned of Josh's passing today, and I'm speechless. Such a hard month. I lost my mother on 11/27 and am flying up for her service on 1/3. To hear of a 36 year-old like Josh passing is really tough. I worked with Josh in the early 1990s at Tygres Heart Shakespeare and recall him fondly. He was a real young-in back then (weren't we all) and had a genuine love for theatre and theatre folk. I'm glad to hear that he continued to work in theatre and built up such a great community of friends in Portland. My condolences to all that were close to him.
-John H.H. Ford
Los Angeles, CA