In Memory

Zeno Jasaitis

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04/29/21 06:29 PM #1    

James A. (Jim) Stehr

(EM to Michael Jasaitis)

Hi, Michael:
I was saddened to learn minutes ago that Zeno has passed away.  Our PHS Class of '60 is thinning rapidly.
Life at PHS was difficult for many; I expect he was one who would say "Amen" to that.  However, with your family living up the street at King and Farragut, Zeno and I had fun on one occasion.
I don't recall the year, but it was in the spring or summer.  The Christmas before then, I had foolishly asked "Santa" for a model jet engine used for a model airplane.  The engine was a pipe about 2 inches in diameter, 36 inches long, with a red bulbous head with an air intake and a single spark plug sticking out of it.  Somewhere on the head was a port to which we attached a fuel line for the usual model airplane fuel.
I had built many small, historic models, but I'd never seen anything fit out with an engine like this.
On some occasion, I described it to Zeno; he said bring it up to the house and we'll try to start it — static on your driveway.  I had it fastened to a length of pine board, on which one could stand with it on the ground.  The directions showed a diagram of a bicycle pump attached to the front air intake.  The idea was, since it was a "pulse jet," to replicate the pulsating intake of air and fuel with the bicycle pump and adjustments to the hand-held fuel tank, assisting the flow.
So, we gave it a try.  Zeno clipped a battery to the spark plug.  He held the fuel tank near the engine.  I had the bicycle pump in front of it.  After all the connections, I started making short burst of air with the pump.
In about a half minute, and a few encouraging pops from the engine, THE GODDAM THING STARTED UP IN FULL!!!!  I don't think I had ever heard such a noise!!!!! — a ROAR!!!  It lasted only about two seconds, until Zeno or I or both of us dropped whatever we were holding!!  It stopped!!!!
JEEEEZE!!!!!!  ENOUGH!!!  We laughed hard, but damned if I wasn't scared shitless!!!!  I knew immediately I was well over my head with this engine.  And that was the last thing I ever did with it!  I remember this, because it was a moment of good fun with a good guy.
I wish only the best for you and other members of your family.
James A. Stehr, PHS Class of 60
cc: PHS Class of 60 Memorials webpage.

04/30/21 02:27 PM #2    

James Crangle

I bought my first car from Zeno. It was a 1941 Coupe Deluxe. Unfortunately i had not mastered the ability to drive when i bought the car so it only lasted 2 days. The car had vacuum shift and vacuum assisted  brakes but it also had a vacuum leak.Pete Jacobs and i took the car for a ride the second day i had it. We only got as far as the Key System Train station at the corner of 41st and Piedmont Avenue. That was where i tried to lay rubber going onto Piedmont Avenue and hit a Yellow Cab. End of my first car. Zeno was a good guy. He didn't seem at all surprised when i told him i had wrecked the car. Neither Pete or i was injured.

05/01/21 10:17 PM #3    

James A. (Jim) Stehr

Received from Zeno Jasaitis' sister, Jean Jasaitis Franklin:

Jim - ... I have not read your Tribute to him [James Killian] - I'll have to ask [brother] Michael about it!  I looked forward to every day of class with him, even though I hated the topic:  Literature of the Grotesque.  I think it was [my sister] Jenny that insisted I had to have a class with him, and that was my last and only option.
At the [retirement] gathering, I told him I always got A's in my English classes, and he gave me a C.  He shot back, "But are you a better writer?"  Like you, I was stymied, incapable of analyzing on the spot, the impact he had on my writing ability.  I was simply his faithful fan - just listening to him read was heaven.
Yes, my parents were Celeste and Zene.  Dad learned his clock/watch making skills from his father, who owned The Shop of the Wooden Clock.  Michael has that same wooden clock!  He was indeed from Lithuania, but I find it interesting that you stated, "that's a REAL stretch" since my mom was in Real Estate - and I just started reading a book on synchronicity today! If you stretched out Real, you'd get Real Estate!  The author paraphrases Herman Hesse, "there are no accidents in the circle of synchronicity.  At least not when one is on the path with heart, the path of destiny,"  Perhaps our hearts, centered on Zeno, connected in the circle around him.
... as I'm sure many did.  -JAS



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