Goodbye, Jeff

(I am taking two weeks off blogging in memory of my good friend Jeff Cahill who left us suddenly on Friday.)

cupcake.jpgDear Jeff,

Thank you for all the cut-the-crap insights, the silly stories, the unmentionable pranks, the great (home-cooked, take-out and 5-star gourmet) meals, the late night drives and coffees, the unconditional support, the illuminating wisdom, the great conversations, the reality checks, the travels, the priceless little life-changing lessons about life, and even (dare I say it) the annoying need to be right all the bloody time…

Thank you for simple being part of my life. It has been a fantabulous 20 years.

I wouldn’t be who I am today (or anywhere near half as interesting a person) had I not known you.

I shall miss you terribly (and I will of course continue to email).

If you know Jeff, please feel free to add your thoughts below.


  1. Clare said:

    I only knew Jeff for a year and saw plays and theatre with him courtesy of a mutual friend, Desmond.

    I always had intelligent and interesting conversations with Jeff, and he was very kind to me and this is how I will remember him :)

  2. Ruth Oxley said:

    I have known Jeff for many, many, many years, but only in the role as a work colleague. He was one of the best and super-organised teachers and HoDs I have worked with in my 25 year career as a Science Technician.

    With Jeff, you either liked him or you didn’t, but I reckon he was one of the good guys. You knew exactly were you stood with him and he didn’t take crap from anyone!
    What a waste to lose such a good educator and such intellect!


  3. Craig said:

    I was a student of Jeff’s many years ago. Although I haven’t spoken to him for (I’m guessing) 10 years or so, I have thought about him recently as I started teaching my daughter to count. I remember Jeff insisting that children should be taught to count from zero. Here’s to you, Jeff: she’s starting from zero :)

  4. Dean said:

    Mr Cahill,
    I have never met a person admired as much as you. Throughout the 2 and a half years teaching me, you have not only been the best teacher i have ever experienced, but an exceptional mentor, and great friend. You are a legend who will never be forgotten. Thanks for all of your teaching, humour and amazing life lessons.
    you will truly be missed.

  5. Terry Mason said:

    I will never have or make another friend quite like you my dear friend Jeff. I ache so terribly at your passing and miss you with my whole being even though I try to remain upbeat and positive.
    More than 10 years my best and most loved friend and looking so much forward to our January trip to Tokyo, London and the South of France.
    We shared a great bond and I am so much the better for your influence on my life.
    I will miss the laughs, the nights out, the wine, the chocolate, our conversations…all of the ‘bullshit’too!
    Who can I replace you with who will be so frank and yet so full of fun and crap at the same time mate? So cheeky and rude…in the most wonderful way! (Of course!!)
    I WILL take you with me when I travel and WE will visit all those spots together just as planned Jeffrey.
    Keep near in spirit my greatest friend and I will know you are there!
    The memories of all the great times are bittersweet now but I know in time that only the sweetness will remain.
    Goodbye dear mate!
    Lots of love

  6. Fiona said:

    Having known Jeff for 9 years I am deeply shocked and saddened by his sudden passing. My most recent and happy memory was sharing Easter Sunday with Jeff at my Mum’s house. We laughed a lot, as always, and our Easter Day was all the richer for his being part of it. Other special memories I shall treasure are blind wine tastings, playing bingo, dining at the Coode St cafe and lively debates about anything and everything under the sun. I was looking forward to the play reading dinner party he and I were in the process of planning. I was grateful for Jeff’s support of my fund raising efforts for womens cancer. Jeff to me was one of those rare people who represent the “whole package”; kind, funny, loving, generous, ascorbically witty and astonishingly intelligent. His quirky and often snobby observations of others never failed to make me laugh. Dear Jeff, I shall miss you much. With love, Fiona

  7. Ian said:

    i met jeff way back in 90. i was such a handful then. but he was good to me, generous, patient. we did stuff :-) we saw youssor n dour at belvoir, we went on this awesome road trip through millstream and wittenoom gorge in his restored toyota corolla, we hung out at home, ate in, talked and debated till late and he was there every time some idiot broke my heart. And we took pictures – yes, he took pics of me with dad and my friend at my graduation! yeah, we were good friend during my years in perth. last time i saw him was in late 2005 when i went back to perth for a friend’s wedding. i remember i got really sick and jeff looked after me! and i think he visited me in melb the following year but somehow my memory of that is so hazy which is unsettling. i have this picture in my head, of him sitting in my morris minor and being so tickled that it ran so well and looked so good for such an old car. i hope that’s a real memory and not something my mind’s making up. Goodnight Jeff.

  8. Kunal Topandasani said:

    Dear Friends,

    Jeff has been the most amazing mentor and guide i have ever had in my lifetime.

    May the lord take care of him and give him everything he deserves in the world above us.

    Thank you Jeff for taking care of me.


  9. Zern said:

    My friend Christina Jayne Duncan shared this with me just now:

    Death is nothing at all.
    I have only slipped away into the next room.
    I am I and you are you.
    Whatever we were to each other,
    that we still are.

    Call me by my old familiar name.
    Speak to me in the easy way
    which you always used.
    Put no difference in your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed
    at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word
    that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without affect,
    without the trace of a shadow on it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same that it ever was.
    There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
    Why should I be out of mind
    because I am out of sight?

    I am waiting for you,
    for an interval,
    somewhere very near,
    just around the corner.

    All is well.

  10. Desmond Pereira said:

    Mr Dearest Jeff,

    You were my best friend and I will miss you ’til the end of my days.

    We shared so much over the years we’ve known each other. I was your hairdresser, your stylist and personal shopper; and in return, you were my confidant, mentor, jester, entertainer, raconteur, sommelier, theatre companion, teacher, chauffeur and big brother, you never judged nor criticised me and I was always happy to be around you.

    You were always there to lend me a hand in anything I needed and never ever let me down. How fortunate was I?

    Like everyone you met and knew, you touched them with your smile, your style, your charisma, your laughter, your love, kindness and generosity you gave so freely.

    You taught me so much about true friendship and Life, it’s hard to imagine my world without you in it.

    Your loving memory will always be with me, every day and in everything I do. We always said we’d grow old together; well now at least in spirit.

    Au revoir Jeff.

    Until we meet again, I’ll toast you often with Champagne and say “Faaabulous!” to keep your memory alive.

    Your dear friend,

  11. Brett Johnson said:

    Deepest condolences to friends and family, Jeff was a brilliant teacher who made science fun, a true loss to everyone.

    Kind regards

  12. Jacob Gunzburg said:

    Mr Cahill,
    Your passion and zest for life will never be forgoten at Carmel School.
    Your Teaching ability and your sense of humor will be sorely missed in the school scene.
    You were always there to help we out in times of need and spoke with such passion.
    Mr Cahill you were a great educator and an even better friend.
    Thank you so much
    Jacob Gunzburg

  13. Christopher Lau said:

    Ever since our chance acquaintance many years ago, you have been a great friend, fellow foodie, photography enthusiast and sounding board. Not to mention generously sharing your wines and finer aspects of its appreciation.

    Thank you for sharing dinners, late night coffee conversations and of course, pineapple juice with soda!

    Goodbye Jeff, be “Faaabulous” where ever you are! Missing you heaps.

  14. Keith Rainbow said:

    I find it hard to express the sheer disbelief and sorrow I feel realising that I will no longer be able to discuss Life, the Universe and Everything with Jeff. We shared that special bonding and synchronicity of thought that is very common to those who love physics enough to study it at Uni. As an educator myself, I was continually impressed by his natural ability to inspire his pupils and his great gift for explaining the harder issues by analogy and example. I considered his textbooks to be models of clarity, and in conversation I could always feel the enormous pleasure he gained from teaching science. His capacity for work seemed almost legendary, and every time I visited I marvelled at the books and documents stacked high on his desk – all “works in progress” that eventually came to fruition.
    As a friend he was both true and constant and I feel very lucky to have been part of his extensive circle of good personal friends. Life after Jeff can never be quite the same for me. I will miss the smile, the laughter, the mischievous chatter, the good dining and learning about the merits of finer wines. Like Desmond, I too will remember forever his trademark “Faaabulous!” every time I have a good glass of wine.
    Vale Jeff, I will miss you and your generosity of spirit for ever. My only consolation is that now you finally know ALL the secrets of the Universe.


  15. shane said:

    i was a lucky student on the late jeff cahill recently in 2007 when i graduated high school, where jeff instilled in my life more then just the wonderful world of physics. to me and the most if not all that were lucky enough to have met him jeff was something amazing, like physics always changing, always interesting, and the more and more you learn about it the more you love it. jeff wasnt just a teacher and a mentor to me, he was something eles, something through my tough 12 years of school i couldnt find with any other teacher. everyday he cared and dedicated to much of his time to benifit the generation of school kids so ultimatly they could be as succesful as possible. i know without jeff in my last two years of schooling life i wouldnt be who and where i am today.

    when i found out the news of jeffs passing i was shocked and utterly upset, i couldnt and often still cant comprehend the passing of such an inspirational human being, im sure he is in a better place today, he truely deserves it. Mr. J Cahill, YOU WILL REMAIN IN MY MEMORY FOREVER


  16. Andrew Cahill said:

    Jeff Cahill.
    An inspiring uncle to myself and my brother.
    he will be misse dvery much so, i hate to think of who is now to write those excellent text books of his, i know they wont be awsome but they need to be done.

    Now i need to find someone else tofill that huge gap he left in us all. another mentor, another best mate.

    to all out there who miss him and on behalf of those people, i formally say, Fair well my old pal.
    you will be greatly missed.

    Quote: Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. quoted by a good friend of jeffs

  17. Joseph said:

    It is so funny to be reminded of the “counting from zero lesson”, also that friction is not a factor of a material’s texture but of its composition.

    Jeff was my physics teacher 20 years ago and friend since.

    It is amazing to me that a person through education and kindness can affect so much.

    Yes my daughter will learn to count from zero also.

    Joseph Geha

  18. Chris Nye said:

    Dear Jeff, you were one in a million.It was a privellege to say you were a wonderful friend. The first time that I met you was when you were a House Master.We shared some wonderful times together bothat your home along with other friends and at my home.You became part of my family. You shared many joyous times with us.You were always able to make us laugh.I will never forget you,you will always be in my heart. I will have a drink of a fine red and think of you even as you said white wine suits me better. Goodbye my friend Till we meet again. Love Chris

  19. Daniel said:

    Fabulous Jeff,

    Thank you for your 15 years of friendship, conversations, laughter, honesty, dinners and support. One of the few people in this world that genuinely had time for people. There was no such thing as grabbing a quick bite to eat or a 5 minute chat on the phone; dinners tended to go on into the early hours of the morning and a short phone call was an hour. I will forever hold those times and numerous others dear. You will be missed until we meet again.

  20. Nicholas Keenan said:

    Goodbye Jeff

    You taught me well at high school. We shall miss you greatly

  21. Daniel Boland said:

    I was lucky enough to be one of Mr Cahill’s students from 2002-03. I will never forget his endless enthusiasm and wittiness. One of my favourite one-liners from him was when he would rub his fingers together playing “the world’s smallest violin” as music to accompany someone’s sob story. In the five years since I had him as a teacher I have been reminded almost weekly how valuable the generic skills he taught in the classroom really were. I was shocked to realise how well I could already use excel compared to others at uni all thanks to his persistance in the classroom.

    I was also luckly enough to have him as my Debating coach. He came to watch every debate we were involved in. If you were ever stumbling through a topic you could look up and see Mr Cahill grinning back at you for reassurance. At times though you had to be careful looking at him, because he was smiling so much it would make you burst out in laughter mid-debate!

    Thank you so much for your guidance and wisdom, there is no way I could have achieved what I did when you were my teacher and what I have since without it! I’ll be thinking of you when I go for the “WOW factor” when making my next poster :)

  22. Ferdinand said:

    He was a most eloquent and elegant thinker and orator. Unforgettable. A giant in science education. Michael Faraday would approve.

  23. ryan said:

    jeff was a hero
    jeff was an inspiration
    most of all jeff will never be forgotten.

    no matter what any says or does, my thoughts of you will never change. you are one of the greatest men to have lived.
    rest in peace my friend ryan- your student

  24. Robert said:

    I knew jeff through his tutoring services. He was the greatest teacher i have ever had and also a great role model. R.I.P. You will be sadly missed.

  25. Josephine McGhee said:

    My Darling Jeff, I find it so hard to come to terms with your passing. Yes you are “larger than life” in so many ways. I was fortunate to meet you some 9 years ago when you were with Terry at ‘Hale”. I was looking at the photos on Thursday 5th June. Remember? you got bogged in your sports car outside my home.Looking good goin g nowhere xx We had lots of laughs about that. We had lots of laughs about other things too, and we shared in-depth conversations about something and NOTHING. You made me laugh. I remember us laughing out on my verandah down at my farm near Collie. Where your Gran lived I believe. You will be drinking a glass (or 3)of red with my dear husband Rod,who sadly left us 3 years ago. You two will be laughing at all the other heavely angels swanning around in the nether regions.And no doubt debating the cosmos and all its glory. Look after each other, I love you both very much. Till we meet again, you left a place that no one will fill. Another one of nature’s gentleman. See you Buddy. xxxxxxxxxxx

  26. Dave said:

    Jeff. Thanks for all the great tips with the science investigations. I aspire to one day to have your professionalism and dedication to the job of teaching. I guess I’ll be seeing you at that great Muresk guild hall in the sky. Seeya mate.


  27. Vincent said:

    Jeff Cahill
    Maybe I am not an old friend of Jeff. I met Jeef this spring. His brother Steve is our families’ friend. So when he came to China, we invited him to our family.
    I thought him was a very great person. And when I heard this news, I felt so sorrowful. He went to our home twice. And we had talked for a long time. Our conversations included a lot of things.I really thought he was a good guy. He was a very kind and generous person. He love everybody and he was loved by everybody. So I love him.
    I will remember him forever. I will miss him forever.

  28. Zern said:

    Thanks to all of you who have posted these wonderful comments here. I will share them with Jeff’s family and friends. I know these comments will mean a lot to Jeff also.

    Please continue to post comments at Jeff’s website.