Friday, February 03, 2006

Lex de Haan

My friend Lex died 1st of Febrary, 2006, at 1600 hours CET.

He asked to see a few friends before the final shutdown abort, and James Morle and I flew in on the Sunday before and visited him in the hospital.

On Tuesday I visited him again, in his home, and he told me he had decided he would leave this place the following day at 1600 - he had gotten permission from two doctors independant of each other the previous day, and seemed very much at peace with his decision.

After 90 minutes of splendid conversation about things past, present and future we hugged and said goodbuy.

He did ask me to accept one final present, which turned out to be a tie with Asterix and Obelix. We were both big fans of these cartoon characters. But not until later that afternoon did I learn that that was the tie he had worn for his wedding.

And not until the following day did I learn that he had left us with a riddle: 1st of Febrary, 2006 can be written as 1-2-6, which he had repeated to his wife and daughters a couple of times in his last 24 hours. As some perhaps know, Lex was famous for his work with 3-valued logic, and the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. So 42 times 3 is 126, which was figured out independently by Lex' oldest daughter and my wife Anette.

I have many good memories of things Lex and I have done or participated in together. When I look through old pictures I keep saying 'Ah, yes, he was also there!'. And always with a friendly, positive attitude and a sharp mind.

My best wishes for Lex' family.



Blogger Rachel said...

The world has lost a gentle sweet soul. And it is so very Lex that he would leave that one final riddle.

My heart aches for his family and friends.

I am glad you were able to spend time with him before he left. And that he was able to choose the time to go, so that he left with dignity and grace, as he had lived his life

11:03 AM  
Blogger Moans Nogood said...

Oh yes, the Dutch law allowing him to die at a time and place of his own choosing is not bad at all.

I've had some people very close to me die in the Danish system, where doctors and nurses are effectively applying too much morphine, until the patient dies, and I have so much respect for those nurses and doctors that make the right decision without being covered legally or financially.

Just because they have to. Because they are human.

The Dutch system seems a bit "cold", since there's a procedure involved, etc., but after a few days I must admit, that I'd dearly wish there was a similar law in Denmark.

It made Lex' final days so much more dignified.


4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bolt from the blue for many of us who had no idea he was sick.

I'm glad you were able to visit him.

I've passed the news along to Helpkern, so some of his old friends at Oracle can hear the sad news.

Chris Gait

6:51 AM  
Blogger Roger Snowden said...

And I appreciated your updates during his final hours.

He will indeed be missed.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad and unexpected news of Lex's passing, thanks to Chris, reached me at Oracle.
Despite only having met Lex through email, his clear skills were only surpassed by his own modest and kind ways.

By coincidence, his departure happened almost exactly seven years after a singular few days of warm weather in Northern Italy, like in these days, as if something was bringing a taste of Spring outside the natural boundaries of the season. Seven years ago on Feb 3rd my father died by cancer at 66, after only 4 weeks since the beginning of the symptoms.

As Morpheus, the dream lord, puts it in 'A Game Of You' in the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, "endings are mixed blessings".

It was good anyway Lex could make his final choice.


5:42 AM  
Blogger Noons said...

The Dutch law may be "cold" but it is also wise.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Tharg said...


I appreciate the moans nogood - anagrams in a foreign language are not for the faint hearted.

The "final shutdown abort" is an elegant way to describe what happens to aged or ill Oracle DBA's - nice touch. I was saddened to hear of Lex's demise, and I didn't know that he was an "oak tabler".

Although I never had the privilege of meeting Lex, (and until recently had never heard of him) I found an interesting thing a couple of days ago. I was googling for some help with a script, and found some sage advice, where one of the demo records used has a surname of "De Haan". I thought to myself, "what a wonderful epitaph", "even after he's gone, Lex is still helping newbies like me". I hope one day that I can be good enough to leave such a beneficial legacy. Maybe this is the sort of thing we should all aspire to?



P.S. keep on moaning, Mr Nogood

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea about his passing until stumbling onto this blog. He was an individual I had hoped to meet someday as his DSI courses within Oracle were awe inspiring to me. Being a young Oracle employee I drank from the well of knowledge that seemed endless in those days and specifically sought out his work and words as the best available. I wish his family well and praise the universe for his existence.

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4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not meet Lex or knew of his death until I read his book Mastering Oracle. I found the book a valuable piece of information about Oracle. So I became fascinated and obsessed with his simple and straight forawrd presentation and became a good fan of his approach to Oracle and wanting to meet with the guy and to my suprise found out that he passed a way six years ago. My his soul rest in peace and wish his family will carry his legacy on.
It is sad to lose a brilliant man of such status.
Friday, 6th Jan,2012

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