In today's blog post, I reach out to you in tribute to Kevin M. Rutherford, our dear friend and colleague.
It is with an exceptionally heavy heart that I am writing to share that Kevin passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 14, 2023. Our compassion, love and support go out to his wife Jennifer, Kevin's family, their friends and extended family at this time of loss. Last week, we held a week of silence on this blog in honor of Kevin. This week we felt moved to honor Kevin here, the place many of you heard from him regularly and share what he meant to us, partners, & clients around the world. Bear with us, as we have a lot to say, but we loved Kevin and he will be missed forever.
Kevin's family tribute: https://www.schoenfh.com/tributes/Kevin-Rutherford
Kevin loved animals, a passion he shared with his wife Jennifer. Their family included 2 horses, 2 dogs, a cat, rabbit, chickens, and a turtle. They loved them and cared for them like they were their children. For this reason, Jennifer has asked that anyone wishing to do something to honor Kevin, contribute to a local animal welfare cause of your choice in his memory.
Yes that is a real owl, rehabilitated from an injury and unable to return to nature, living on in loving human care, sitting on Kevin's mouse, at an event site in South Africa in 2017.
As a tribute to our friend, here's some things our team and people have shared with us about how Kevin impacted their lives.
"Kevin has left behind a very positive example for us all to follow and carry forward"
"His ability to teach with humor and honesty was something I always looked forward to when working together on projects. Kevin was a great leader, teacher, and friend, and his passing has left a huge hole in all our hearts"
"Kevin was one of the best mentors I have ever worked with. He was patient, kind and understanding during all learning processes. Because of this he positively helped to shape my engineering career"
"It has been a delight to work with Kevin over the past many years. He was always thoughtful, professional and intelligent with a keen focus on technical excellence. We could not have asked for a better partner, and we will miss him tremendously"
"Kevin always looked like the young and kind American Football student player we get to see in American movies in Europe to me. I always imagine him with his kind smile, blue polo shirt and beige trousers in my mind"
"I have fond memories of Kevin singing karaoke one jovial night in Fremantle, Australia. He was incredibly talented. Definitely the star of the evening. I was blown away by both Kevin’s technical, creative and interpersonal skills"
"He was everything I could’ve asked for in a collaborator. I know he was a very dedicated husband and someone we all counted on to show up and be there. He was quietly funny, seeing irony as humor, careful to be fair, and detail oriented"
"I have been working with Kevin for many years by email and online, and I met him only 2 weeks ago in person at a conference. He really seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and his competence was way over the top"
"Kevin was a true scholar and a gentleman, and I have fond memories both dealing with him and having fun where he was much braver than us all on the stage"
A time for gratitude
I am thankful for the impact Kevin made on my life in so many ways. I am grateful to my wife Lisa who was with me, along several career long colleagues and close friends from CSIA when we received the news of Kevin's passing early on May 15th. They held me up, rallied behind me, and empowered me to support Kevin's wife, family, and our team. I am appreciative of our entire team, and especially our team leaders, that received the tragic news, and supported and held us up from afar. I am humbled by how the Software Toolbox team has handled this tragedy with grace, professionalism and compassion. Thank you to the countless people that have reached out to me and our team from around the world.
For me, as team lead here at Software Toolbox, I lost a dear friend of 17 years. Kevin and I had travelled we figured over 300,000 miles around the world, meeting clients, training them and partners, attending events, having fun and adventures. Kevin was a fantastic collaborator, would always give me great perspective, ground me when I needed it, encourage when it was time. When I travel again next month, though I'll have the pleasure of mentoring and introducing one of our technical team members to the international travel circuit, it's going to be challenging to not have his companionship, as he was planning to join me for another run to Europe, 3 countries, 10 days, 2 events, 2 customer site visits.
I started looking through some photos this week to share with his family and many smiles and laughs along with the tears were had, in his memory. Kevin and I had just done an 8 day trip to Sweden and Denmark in March, and Chicago 3 weeks ago, after a long silence from the pandemic and I blink, and he's gone. Life is short and precious.
I've heard from people who have said, "what?! no more John & Kevin show?" Yes Kevin's karaoke voice is tragically silenced, but lives on in myself and all that heard him sing. Trust me he sounded much better than me in the photo below! I intend to keep it alive whenever I can, and whether they choose to sing or not, you'll be meeting a lot of our team out on the road in the coming months and years. We intend to make Kevin's spirit proud of us! If you're inclined to Karaoke, consider singing "Sweet Child of Mine" - one of his favorites, in his honor!
Moving forward in Kevin's honor & memory
Kevin was an outstanding trainer, and over the years he has imparted so much of his knowledge to his teammates here, and that team is committed to carrying forward and using that knowledge he shared, but also building on it, and "doing what Kevin would do". Our team will heal in time, and are comforting and supporting each other in this tragic time. As their leader and mentor, I ask for your patience and compassion for them, as they seek to honor Kevin in all they do for our clients and partners.
We will be resuming our technical blogs soon, and you'll be meeting more of our team members through them as they share expertise like Kevin shared his own and theirs every week. Kevin was a strong, persevering man who never gave up in the face of a challenge. We as a team have said that we will honor Kevin's legacy by continuing that path forward.
To Kevin, his wife, their families and our clients and partners that knew Kevin, peace and love. Hold your loved ones closely, enjoy every day we get to be on this planet.
If you've worked with Kevin, have any great photos to share, comments you'd like to share with his family about how he impacted your life or business or a fun adventure you had with him, please email them to me at email@example.com. I will make sure they are included in the tribute we will share with his wife and family. You may also share your comments on Kevin's family tribute page.
Rest in peace Kevin.
President & Founder