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A beautiful sunset view from our Juneau, AK living room window

Goodbye Jason

December 21, 1952 -  March 29, 2022
Arizona sunset- 20150117_175410.jpg
A beautiful sunset view from our Prescott Valley, AZ backyard

East Aurora Celebration of Life

by Michael Ohler

Yes, there was a gathering as he knew there would be, but he likely didn’t know who would organize it. My brother Jason passed away on March 29th, 2022. Four months later on July 28th there was a celebration. Not the first one mind you, as we had already gathered at a memorial in Juneau, AK, his adopted hometown of over 40 years, a month earlier. This time we were back in East Aurora, NY, the town where he and my other brother Rick and I were born and raised. The setting was a fish and game club; not necessarily a reflection of Jason’s interests, but a beautiful outdoor setting which allowed all that wanted to attend to do so in the manner they chose (lawn chairs, picnic benches, coolers, casual attire, etc.).

It was in fact a wonderful experience for all who attended, but I want to be clear that it wasn’t my idea; and it wasn’t even my brother Rick’s, even though he, unlike me, has called East Aurora home forever. Rick and I were thinking that since Jason hadn’t lived there in almost 50 years and neither had 99% of the people he was closest to back then, there really wasn’t a need for a service in East Aurora. Those aforementioned close friends from 50 years ago (which Jason was good at staying in touch with over social media) thought differently. It was a group of them that said Jason’s life needed to be celebrated and it needed to be done where his amazing life began. Brother Rick is closer to this group in age and is in touch much more than me, so he converted to the idea first. Jason’s wife Terri was all for it, from the first mention. She’d make the trek from Arizona, no questions asked. I was the last to sign on. Quite honestly, I didn’t want to celebrate a loss that I still couldn’t comprehend. But begrudgingly I began to attend the Saturday weekly planning sessions, held by Jason’s former classmates, and I warmed up to the idea.


I could comment about the beauty of the setting and will comment (briefly) on the event itself, but what was striking about the experience (not unlike in Juneau) was the number of people, old friends of Jason’s, and some merely friends of ours, that went all out for this celebration. That group knew what needed to be done. Jason’s life warranted an opportunity for those of all ages, including my son Brinton (age 12 at the time) to recognize his life. I think it may have been the saddest day of Brinton’s life, so far, but it is/his Uncle Jason is, a memory forever etched in his being. His other nephew Gabe was there as well as his nieces Mariah and Addie, and a grand niece and nephew. Even some other Ohler cousins made the trip from multiple hours away. 

We who loved Jason have added a new  opening page to his website, one that captures the joy and love of two celebrations of his life: at the  University of Alaska Southeast in his long time Alaska home, Juneau, in June of 2022; and in his  hometown of East Aurora, N.Y., in July. We hope you will also find the other items that we have  included helpful and enjoyable.

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