The entire New Times family was hit with a tremendous shock Wednesday afternoon when we learned that our brother Jeff Stratton had passed away suddenly after apparent complications from a stomach
ulcer in Honduras. He was 47.
As part of an accomplished journalism career around the country, Jeff served as New Times music editor between 2000-04 and then transitioned to a staff writer from 2004-07, and continued to contribute writing for every section of the paper up to the present. Most recently, he was spearheading his own paper, the Roatan New Times. Far greater than that, he was a dear friend, a loving father, and a brilliant, articulate thinker. Anyone who spent a few minutes with the guy could feel that warmth right away.
Unsurprisingly, Jeff and I bonded over music as soon as I moved to South Florida last year -- and he contributed several ace pieces to the section, including an enlightening story on the recent goings on of Built to Spill. When he heard that I was woefully behind on my Brian Eno listening, he was the kind of guy to load up and pass along a zip drive with speed. Now, hearing Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets, Another Green World, and so forth is a happy reminder of Jeff's gifts and friendship.
A lot of folks have stepped forward to express their love for Jeff and grief following his passing.
From the Postmarks:
Good friend of the band, and all-round great guy, Jeff Stratton, has passed. He wrote the first story on us, even before we had a name for the group. He was an eloquent, thoughtful and wickedly incisive writer who loved the music and people in South Florida's local scene. We are gutted, to say the least. Our thoughts go out to his family. Goodnight, Jeff...
From Radio-Active Records:
RIP Jeff Stratton. A talented writer and a wonderful human being. You will be missed.
From John Linn, former New Times food writer:
Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Jeff Stratton. Jeff had so very much to say and the eloquence to say it in a way that touched many people. The guy could make you laugh almost effortlessly. He'll be remembered fondly.
From TheHoneycomb.com's Steve Rullman:
one of the best writers South Florida ever had has passed on. I just
communicated with and shared music a couple weeks back. Not happy. Will
always remember our first hang, at Elwoods, when he first became music
editor. I also liked when he recently shared a photo showing that he
still had a honeycomb sticker on the back of his truck. Kid had style
and will be missed dearly.
From Jake Smith, past New Times nightlife editor:
My former editor Jake Cline had a great suggestion: Go to Browardpalmbeach.com. Do a search for "Jeff Stratton." Read anything with his byline -- music column, feature story, album review, whatever. Just read it. The guy was that good. This one is one of my favorites and it was the first Stratton piece I ever read, long before I met him and long before we played music together and became like brothers.
From guitarist Juan Montoya (Floor/Cavity/Torche/MonstrO):
A true friend and supporter of muscians, thank you for listening. Love you brother. You're in my heart
From Tom Bowker, New Times contributing writer:
My good friend Jeff Stratton has passed. He was my biggest supporter as a writer. I talked to him less than 48 hours ago. I'm crushed. Viva el jefe!
As has already been said, just head to Jeff's author profile on the New Times
site and pick something at random from the past decade -- you'll learn
something, and it'll be a captivating read. I particularly like that he
pulled no punches in a review of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore,
which pits his work unfairly against the Magnetic Fields' Stephin
Merritt's wordplay. There are umpteen others that exhibit Jeff's
unending wit and insight.
My musical tribute to Jeff is one of the gems from that zip drive he passed along -- to a guy who would come running to tie our shoe, no sweat. This is just the beginning of our conversation about Jeff, and many others will weigh in with their memories.
Details on a service for Stratton are still being worked out.
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Stratton leaves behind his partner, New Times Managing Editor Deirdra Funcheon, and their son, Cooper.
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