Yesterday, I found out that Ezra Zygmuntowicz had passed away.
Ezra and I first met in the #Caboose family. The first time we got to spend time together, in person, was at RailsConf 2006.
(photo credit: Jarkko Laine)
A few weeks later, he emailed me to ask about getting a job here at Planet Argon. We couldn’t afford him so he continued to pursue other paths… and a month later was helping found EngineYard.
(…one of those things that I still find myself asking, “what if we could have?”)
Back when Planet Argon had a hosting department, Ezra and I collaborated on various deployment best-practice projects. He was always helping our team figure out how to make deployment easier. Some of us might remember his famous nginx configuration (the closest version I could find). He was an active contributor in the Ruby on Rails Deployment group that I started. He was always around to help the community.
Ezra always seemed to find time for the community… whether on mailing lists, at conferences, commenting on our blogs, or chatting over IRC.
When Ezra and his family moved to Portland, we made several half-assed attempts to schedule time to catch up again in person. It never happened and our interactions were limited to keeping up on Facebook
His passing is a great loss to our community.
To his friends and family, I am sorry for your loss.
To his son, (should you ever discover this), your father helped pave the way for hundreds of thousands (if not millions?) of software developers around the globe—whether they know it or not. He was constantly looking for innovative ways to solve problems. His talks at conferences were always fascinating… and the rest of us would sit back and think, “where does he come up with these ideas?!”
He was a trailblazer.
He will be missed.
Thank you for everything, Ezra.
Update: If you would like to contribute to the memorial fund for Ezra’s son, Ryland, please visit this campaign on indigogo.