On March 22, 1995, a tragic accident took the life of Jeffrey Sehler, a student at the UA and a personal friend of mine. He died in a drowning incident off the coast of California. A strong riptide carried him out to sea and he couldn't swim back. A few of his friends witnessed the entire incident and tried to help him out but without success. Two days later his body washed up on shore. He was only 21 years old.
Jeff was my boyfriend during most of his UA years. We would spend a great deal of time together doing things that most students wouldn't dream of doing. We challenged the ski slopes, often taking slopes that few would ski. We hiked in the mountains, often taking trails that nobody else would climb. We climbed mountains together and many a time he would slip and fall and just get up without a scratch. He challenged life to the limits Ÿ often doing things that most guys wouldn't even attempt. And I guess that was the irony of Jeff.
His last challenge he didn't make. His last challenge took his life. And for his many friends, it was a loss that we are still` dealing with.
We attended many Grateful Dead concerts. One time we followed the Dead through nine straight shows from Phoenix to Las Vegas and through California Ÿ again, pushing the envelope of endurance. He loved dancing, music, art and above all, sports.
He also touched his friends. They might remember him from his leadership during summer camp in Wisconsin where he taught wind surfing and water skiing. They might remember him from school Ÿ once you were a friend of Jeff's, you were a friend for life.
But we didn't realize the number of lives he really did touch until I attended his funeral, one of the largest ever in the Milwaukee area. The many friends from camp, from the UA, from his old neighborhood in Milwaukee where he grew up, all the way to the families of his friends. And they all showed up to pay their respects.
And so, I thought as a lasting tribute for a soul we all still feel, I would write a small but important letter to the editor as a tribute to Jeff from all his friends and the people he touched. I know he'll be remembered by us all for the rest of our lives.
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