We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of a dear friend and gifted instructor last week. Jim Weirich was a beloved elder of the Ruby community. I think he’d be ok with me calling him an elder. He once gently reminded me that his Emacs file was older than me. And when I think of that, I can hear his deep, contagious laugh.
Jim loved to teach. He was a naturally-gifted teacher and we’ll always be grateful that he chose to spend a portion of his time teaching with us. He had a lot of empathy for students. In turn, they loved learning from him. This quote from a student embodies what Jim was about:
"Jim was very generous with us and his knowledge and made everyone feel comfortable regardless of background."
Jim also loved learning new things. He was genuinely curious, and that made learning fun for him.
But here’s the thing: it was never about Jim. Not about how much experience he had, how much code he’d written, what he knew that you didn’t. No, his focus was always on other people. He was patient. He was kind. He always smiled. His laugh filled a room (even a ballroom). He was gracious, and he cared deeply. He had an incredible, joyful spirit.
So while Jim contributed a lot to our community (and it’s a long list indeed), he’ll be most remembered not only for what he did, but for who he was.
One of our favorite memories of Jim was when he would travel with a ukulele and play during course breaks. We’ll always remember Jim with a big smile, cradling a tiny ukulele, and making a joyful noise.
Jim recorded one screencast for the Pragmatic Bookshelf, Source Control Made Easy, where he explains the foundational concepts behind systems such as Git. If you’d like to purchase Jim’s screencast, the full purchase price will go to Jim’s family from now forward.