Jeffrey Martin Kustal
“By rising gently you might learn,
The days come once and don’t return,
And you should be there when they do,
There is but one life given you.” (from the poem “The Days in a Life”)
Poet, devoted husband and father, friend, and world traveler, our beloved Jeffrey Martin Kustal peacefully ended his long battle with Parkinson’s on June 14th, passing at the age of 81.
Jeff was husband to Lyn, and father to sons Robert and Eric. He eventually found lasting happiness in the small town of Ojai, California, thousands of miles from where his journey through life began, on March 2nd, 1941, when he was born to Robert and Susan in the bustling neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay.
After graduating from Brooklyn’s James Madison High School and New York’s Pratt Institute, Jeff received his graduate degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School. He then shaped what would be a highly successful business managing properties across the United States. He based his company first in Santa Barbara, where he re-located in 1974 with first wife Carol, and later in Ojai, where he moved in 1993. But Jeff’s true love and passion was always writing poetry, and he may have been most fulfilled through his involvement in his later years with the Ojai Senior Writer’s group, where he made lasting relationships.
Jeff will also be remembered for his amazing health and stamina, the byproduct of what started as long-distance running in his late 20’s and evolved into grueling sessions on the exercise bike and treadmill in his later years (maintaining the pace of some half his age), and, finally, walking the equivalent of coast-to-coast even as a dreaded disease enveloped him. 90He’ll also be remembered for his quick wit (with the slight propensity to veer into Dad-jokery), his deep generosity, his heartfelt concern for others – and, last but certainly not least – his beloved garden, which grew into a personal backyard-oasis from years of diligent work (and, lest we forget, his vast accumulation of mileage points).
Jeff is survived by his brother Glenn (Marion,) his sister Cathy, his wife Lyn of Ojai, Lyn’s daughters Dana and Amy (Thompson) of Simi Valley, son Robert and wife Emi of Walnut Creek, son Eric of San Francisco, and grandsons William and Nico.
A Celebration of Life will be held July 16th in the area surrounding his beloved garden. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to The Parkinson’s Foundation or The Michel J. Fox Foundation.