Obituary for Jason Adlestein
Jason Adlestein, fifty years of age, passed away due to heart complications on 11/23/17 at the Reading Hospital. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Jason began an adventurous life of experiencing numerous diverse places, along with a variety of living and working situations. Jason’s home base was always the house he shared with his parents and a variety of pets overlooking the Oley Valley where he constantly returned for extended visits and was able over time to appreciate the delights of rural Berks county existence (funnel cake and the smell of livestock under the lights at the Oley fair; the less-than-slick music streaming from the band shell: he loved all of it.)
Jason’s Dyslexia with its special educational and developmental challenges, a burden for so many kids in past years before it was finally recognized and treated with the sensitivity and dignity it deserves, actually opened paths for Jason to move up North of Boston to Beverly Farms MA to attend Landmark School. By chance, in 1968, Landmark had just been gifted the Te Vega, a three-masted, gaff-rigged schooner (built in 1929 in Keil, Germany) and was starting its school aboard ship program. During four semesters, for two years, the ship took Jason to Moscow, St Petersburg, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Africa and numerous other ports around the Mediterranean. As a Te Vega crew member, he worked below and above deck. He told stories of late night watches and storms so tempestuous the students on deck had to be tethered to the masts so they wouldn’t be swept overboard. Down in the galley, he had the honor to sample the first glass of water to come out of the ship’s new salt-water purifier: he pronounced it good. Fortunately for folks back home, he took along his little super-8 camera and recorded moments of his adventures to share with others.
So began his work with various cameras and media, which led him to Miami Dade Community College in with an excellent reputation for its special program for dyslexic students. Jason earned an AB degree in TV, Video and Film. leading to his jobs working on film crews doing productions in Miami. In addition to serving as Production Assistant on a number of features (where he got to work with Muriel Hemingway, Peter Fonda, Gloria Estefan, Franco Nero, Gary Busey and such directors as Menachem Golem and the legendary, Fred Williamson), he was often the designated and credited as Production Photographer. To supplement his income, he worked for several years with an events security company that placed him at most of the major sports (including the World Series), concerts (ranging from the Rolling Stones and Van Halen to the 4 Tenors), and other entertainment events where he got to know many a “star” and gathered many a story to tell about his interactions with folks circulating in an orbit some distance from the serenity of the Oley Valley.
The next phase, with experiences very different in kind but for which Jason had a natural affinity, was his work for several years at Shepherd Pratt Hospital in Baltimore. As a Resident Counselor, he worked with troubled kids, many from dysfunctional and abusive families who were placed in his unit by the legal system. It worked out for the kids and for Jason but it was a stressful and extremely demanding job.
After his diabetes moved to foot and leg problems necessitating minor amputations and then heart problems followed by kidney failure and the need for dialysis, Jason settled back into his family home. This was a place visited by friends of his parents from the world of academia, and the arts where he absorbed and appreciated the gobbledkygook they spoke and their anti-Trump politics which, media savvy that he was, Jason understood and was glad to carry on when company was gone.
Last, and most important always for Jason was his deep love of family and friends; nothing ever mattered more. He was lucky that life gave him such richness and health during his early years that despite his rapid decline physically at the end of his 50 years (but he still had his beloved Eagles who may well have been on their way to the Super Bowl), Jason lived a full and joyous life always loved and giving love.