Farhad Mirbod was born March 21, 1969, to Parviz and Toya Mirbod in Kermanshah, Iran.
From an early age, Farhad took after his mechanically inclined grandfather, who taught him to make lanterns; he in turn taught the neighborhood children to make them. He spent many happy years in Iran and savored memories of sleeping outdoors on balconies with his younger brother Farshad and cousins in the summer. But when the 1979 Revolution took place in Iran, his family immigrated to the United States.
They moved first to New York, then to Upland, Calif. Farhad spoke barely any English when he started fifth grade, but was winning spelling contests within a few months. As a teen, he enjoyed working on cars, riding dirt bikes, playing guitar and building model airplanes.
He attended UCSB, earning a BS (1993) and MS (1995) in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in thermal dynamics, and put his degrees to work in engineering at Raytheon, Flir and Sonos. It was during his college years that he met Wendy while both were taking the same physics class. She remembers the day she came to school with a cough and he returned from a class break with hot tea and lemon for her, saying, “When I’m sick, this is what my mom makes for me.” It was the start of a 30-year romance.
Wendy and Farhad married on April 10, 1995, and created a family full of bright and independent children: Emily was born in 2000, Evan in 2004 and Ethan in 2005. They went on lots of outdoor adventures together, sailing in the Santa Barbara Harbor, skiing in Mammoth and camping and backpacking at Sequoia, Joshua Tree and in the Sierras.
Farhad had many hobbies, from photography and bread-baking to disc golf and remote-control airplanes. He dove headfirst into things he was passionate about, as evidenced by his weekend-long beer-making stints, with all data recorded in Excel spreadsheets. He was a true audiophile who loved attending concerts and furthering his knowledge through podcasts and documentaries.
Farhad also enjoyed the art of conversation and could engage in lively dialogue with anyone, whether meeting a new parent at one of his children’s schools, during a game with his monthly poker group or debating social responsibility with his kids. Even when he had an opposing point of view, he would always make people feel valued and appreciated. He will be remembered by friends and family as brilliant, funny, rational, humble, thoughtful, focused, staunchly atheist, and with a quiet intensity that belied his love of heavy metal and hard rock music.
Farhad died at home on June 25 after a nearly two-year battle with metastatic lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Wendy; children Emily, Evan and Ethan; brother Farshad; and many extended family.
In lieu of flowers, Farhad would want friends to donate to National Public Radio, as he was an NPR fanatic. In recognition of his contributions, all Sonos speakers will now be made with an embossed heart on the inside.