A recollection of his life by his parents. With permission from Publisher Joe Meno as well as Robyn and Don Jessiman we are honored to mirror an article published in BrickJournal, Spring 2006, Volume #1, Issue 4.
This gallery pays tribute to the 10th anniversary of James Jessiman's passing showing pictures of a:
1 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3002.dat
(a red Brick 2x3 for all those who are not CAD nerds) LDraw.org's logo.
Following James' death, several members of the community wrote him sentimental letters. View these here. Also, view the archive of the guestbook of the original James Jessiman Memorial site.
James' personal website is still available to view online. The above link takes you to the Archive.org version of his site as it was when he passed away.
James Jessiman affected a great many people with his contributions to the LEGO community. His respected involvement in the hobby, his constant work with LDraw, his prodigious output of intricately rendered pieces, and his giving nature, all endeared him to us. He was truly a friend among friends. His passing sent a wave of sorrow and anguish throughout the world of LEGO enthusiasts. A wave still felt, and reflected in the writings of those who mourn his passing...
These were written shortly after James' death in July 1997.
I was shocked when I learned that James Jessiman, the heart of our community, has gone forever. My English is not good enough to express my feelings. I'm very sad to loose somebody that was close to me by his letters and programs, however so far in the reality. I felt sadness and emptyness when I had a look at the Ldraw directory on my machine yesterday. I pray to God for James.
If we in this mailinglist community plan to send a condolence letter together to the family or set up a memorial page for him I'd like to join too.
Everytime I start LDraw - I'll think of You. You were a Great LEGO fan and I'll remember You forever.
Let God be with You.
Rene Versik (KLF)
Although I'm just beginning to use the programs you worked so hard to create, I'm so very glad that you made them public. It's my hope that these programs will live on, in one form or another, for a very long time.
I can only hope that my life's contributions will be so accepted and touch so many people around the world.
You will not be forgotten James.
You've given many of us something to remember you by, for this you will always live on. I'll miss our chats, I may not have known you personally, though I feel a great lose in your leaving. I hope life afterwards is all we could hope, and that you've finally got those Holy Grail sets in heaven!
You are missed world wide. You gave so freely a part of yourself, and that will never be forgotten. You've left a legacy that will not soon die, and has touched so many lives, more than anyone could ever expect.
James, May you be with God.
When I looked at the James Jessiman homepage just recently I was shocked to discover that he has passed away. To die so young is not fair. My English is not good enough to clearly express my feelings but I want to make my condolances to his family and friends who have to miss him.
I hope his spirit will live forever and that he will be remembered by anyone who is using his program or is interested in LEGO.
These symbolic monuments are dedicated to James Jessiman, A friend who gave us a great tool for cyber LEGO building. I hope that 'we all' continue his work,
Although I had only seen James' postings to RTL for a few months before he died, he always acted with great politeness to all, and seemed like an all-around "nice guy". Of course, his page was great too!
Memorial Guestbook Archive
These are some of the guest book entries from the "In Remembrance Of James Jessiman" memorial page, which span from 1997 to 2000.
Subject: Thank you
From: Mats 'Rickenbacker' Nylund
I just found Ldraw on the web a month ago, and I think that it's already done more for my 3D modeling skills, not to mention gotten my interest in LEGO up again. It's a great program, and it saddens me that James isn't around to receive the praise he deserves for giving it to the online LEGO community. Thank you, James, wherever you are.
Mats 'Rickenbacker' Nylund
From: Tony Lloyd
Having only just re-entered the world of LEGO now I'm in my 'second childhood' I was deeply saddened to discover that the author of such an incredible piece of software was no longer with us. I wasn't fortunate enough to have known him but for so much time and effort to have been put in to a piece of work for no reason other than to share it with the worldwide LEGO community he must have been a true human being. An example to the rest of us.
Subject: I am truly touched.
From: Paul Zinkievich
I am truly touched by the loving devotion payed to this talented young man. LDraw parts and models will be used to help a USA school group develop models for a special project. LDraw is far reaching. Perpetuating his memory. Thank you.
Subject: Just Great!
I always liked to play with LEGO, but now i spend more time behind my computer. These programs and this site are so great, now i can still have all the fun i use to have. Thanks to James Jessiman.
I never knew about him before and have never used lDraw but visted lots of sites using ldraw and he is important to all of us.
Subject: What a very untimely death...
From: Ryan Thomas Romaine
I am greaved at the loss of a fellow lego builder and computer program designer. I too am close in age to James and would like to thank him, and his family for his contribution. May his spirit abide with the True GOD in HEAVEN. And his soul be in peace. In Jesus name, Amen.
Subject: So sad!
From: Alan Gerber
It is so sad that James died. I think his program will live on forever, even though he didn't.
Subject: James Was Z-Man
From: JJ Sierra
Thanks to James we all have the BEST Virtual LEGO Building program! :oD James - I hope you're in Heaven playing with INFINIT LEGOs! ;o)
just silence ...
Subject: In Memory
Thanks for all your time and hard work James. I appreciate it and My heart goes to your family.
This is my first visit to this very feature-full and nicely created site. My wife and I (and along with possibly most of the population) grew up with LEGO as achild (and we still think it's awesome!). I did not know of James Jessiman till now but i would like to pay my respects as a humane person to what he has started here, it looks fantastic and his dream shall continue as you are continuing his work. Respect payed to Mr James Jessiman and to the hard-working people at Ldraw.org. Thank you.
From: jonathan watson
sorry about the death of james he was a smart man, every day I use ldraw so Im paying my respects to james jessiman, good bye james
Subject: Wish I Had Known James
From: Tim Romine
I've actually been using LDraw for quite a while, and only now have I visited this part of ldraw.org, but I must say my heart is heavy with the loss of such a decent, intelligent human being. I had no idea James had died so young. He will be sorely missed, even by those who never knew him, like me.
Tim Romine AFOL for Life firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Chris Perritt
It occurred to me just recently how lucky I am... I knew James. We met at school when we were about 12 years old, and remained close friends right up until he passed away. He was my best friend. I remember the first time he showed me his lego drawing program...he was so happy with it. This is the first time I have searched on the net for James' name since he passed away. I was amazed then by the number of pages that came up when I searched and happy to find a memorial for him this time. I was looking at pictures of my wedding recently and there he was, which prompted me to search again, which is why I found this site. I'm glad that there are people who are still using his designs and ideas. I guarantee that he would be happy about that. James was one of the nicest and most unassuming people I have ever known. It's unfortunate that he wasn't able to see some of the things that we have today - let alone imagine the things that we don't have because he wasn't here long enough to make them work! I guess I still think of James' passing as one of life's great injustices. I can only imagine that there was a computer system somewhere that only he could fix, so he was called in to take care of it. Well, that's how I like to think about it anyway.
Subject: a little confused...
From: Adam Bragg
I'm not familiar with James Jessiman, I just found the "memorial" bit by folowing a text link for the Ledit program. I've read a lot of this site looking for something in particular to no avail. Now I mean no disrespect by this, (remember I don't know anything about the late Mr. Jessiman), but I am a little confused. There seems to be a LOT of emotion surrounding this mans death. The text makes him sound better than Mother Teresa. Now here's where I'm confused, other than write the original version of Ledit, what did he do that warrents such emotional devotion? I mean, it's sad that he died, Ledit is a nice program, but some of the phrases used to describe him seem over the top. Again, I'm not trying to be disrespectful - I'm genuinely curious as to what he did to provoke such a group response.
From: Albert Yao
Rest in peace fellow LEGO maniac...
Subject: I look at the LDRaW dir and look on in awe...
From: Robert "Neo" Hill
James was a very gifted person and will be missed very dearly... I pray to god for his happyness.
Subject: The Mozart of LEGO
From: Pat Hough
I dreamed of software that would let me build with LEGO, with whatever colors and pieces I desired! Now, some eighteen years later, the dream is realized through James Jessiman. Ldraw - truly a work of art. Music has Mozart. LEGO has James Jessiman. And like the master's works of the late eighteenth century, of which untold numbers of other musicians have created arrangements and variations thereof, LEGO fans continue to pay tribute to James' masterpiece with add-ons and additional parts listings. Thanks, James.
Pat Hough December 2000
Subject: Wonderful Tribute
From: Fran Leonard
What a wonderful way to memorialize a person. He truly must have been a wonderful person to have so many think so highly of him. A bright light that we can all share because of this site. Thank you..........Fran Leonard
From: Chris Thomson
I've been a long time LEGO fan, since the age of 5 or 6. I've just recently rekindled my interest, after growing up just a little too much. After discovering James' MLCAD, I became elated to an undescribable extent. My wife thought I had gone comepletely wacko, and it wasn't until I found a couple of child-hood 'LEGO-circle friends' that I could share my exitement. My one sadness, though, is that I could not personally thank the man who's idea it was to bring this sector of technology into the world of LEGO Interest.
Subject: A great program...
From: Muvlo R.
He did a really awsome program, and it's great he put it on the web free to anyone who wanted it--it's too bad he couldn't continue to work on it.
From: M Brown
What can I say? I guess I don't wander around enough on the net to see anything about what happened back in 1997. I knew of Ldraw and had a quick check on it, rather cool idea, just a shame that you are no longer here to answer our questions and lend a helping hand. You may be gone but your memory shall live forever! Everytime someone uses your program they'll never forget the man behind it! Thanks!
From: M Brown
As an Australian, I feel that this is something for us to be proud of! Thanks James! I sadly only just heard about you! (I think I should check out the net a bit more)... Rest in Peace... you may be gone but your memory still lives on!
Subject: Thanks James
From: DJ. Santjojo
I don't know you personaly. But I do know that you recieved a great gift for all people including me. Thank you very much James.
Subject: I didn't know him.
From: Ben Nelson
I didn't know James, but it's touching to me to see that he's remembered. I only hope that when I pass on that I leave something behind me that touched so many lives as he did.
Subject: Thanks James
From: Rob What a great way to be remembered.
From: Jeff Elston
He created the program we all use today.... and still use.... we are forever going to keep his legacy to lego going. even though we may never have known him, a little peice of him is in every lego brick we use.... he is a mentor to use all.... and he awaits us in lego heaven..... rest in peace James..... we miss you.