Goodbye, Igal

IgalSometime early Tuesday, April 9, Igal Koshevoy left us, following a long struggle with depression. He was a beloved member of our open source technology community, and will be missed.

Igal was a volunteer and core contributor for a large number of projects and groups in the Portland tech scene. He helped create Calagator, our community calendar, and became one of its core maintainers. He coordinated a number of user groups for several years, including pdxruby, pdxfunc, and pdxdevops. He was one of the founding committee members for Open Source Bridge, spending long nights to develop our OpenConferenceWare software in time to launch the conference. He hosted some of the most enlightening and entertaining BarCamp Portland and WhereCampPDX sessions on topics like Trains!, Strange Maps, Things that Hover, and more. He was also a skilled photographer and friend to all cats.

Igal, our community won’t be the same without you. We miss you very much.

We will be planning a memorial service. Please contact if you would like to participate, or leave a comment here.

115 thoughts on “Goodbye, Igal

  1. PDX Tech community has loss another. 🙁 I remember Igal at Bar Camp PDX and seeing him around always with a camera taking pictures. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. Would love to help out in any way I can. Thank you and you will be missed Igal. Hugs Stephanie and Family

  2. There’s huge ache in the heart of Portland. That man made everyone in the room happy with no more than kind words, a smile, mad code skills, and a camera. He will be hard missed. Most sincere and deepest condolences to those nearest and dearest among us.

  3. Igal, I hope you went off in a big ekranoplan. You’ll be missed.

  4. I am deeply saddened to hear this, and would love to attend a memorial service. Also, if there are any Ruby projects I can help with, please let me know.

  5. I was a friend of Igal’s in high school. I lost touch with him after graduation, and attempted to locate him on and off over the last few years; I am deeply saddened by his passing. I would very much appreciate the details of his memorial service, both for myself and for those I know who were also close with him growing up and who lost touch with him after.

  6. No. Really. Please say this is not true. And please email me with any information. Thank you.

  7. Christie, thanks so much for letting us know. I am stricken to my very core, for the loss to the community, but more for the loss of someone I counted as a good friend. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for anyone in this difficult time.

  8. I just heard the news. I’m confused. Igal, Spencer, Ben, and others hung out quite a few times. Igal always had an upbeat spirit, and seemed to ‘light up’ when sharing his knowledge about computers with people. He was so smart. I will be praying. So sorry for this significant loss. Big wtf.

    • I also wanted to say, Igal gave me so much encouragement one time when I was down. I felt like I wasn’t learning how to program fast enough (as a Linux and programming newbie). In response, he sent me website links with tutorials, and information. He was genuine. Apparently, an expert in his field, but also open and friendly to everyone.

  9. I’m just really sad to hear this news. Igal was the smart kind of funny and such a genuine person. You will be missed, buddy!

  10. This is horrible, horrible news.

    Thank you Igal for your exemplary attitude, code, community participation and kindness.


  11. Igal would often walk with me after a beering after a meeting to my train. And we would talk while waiting. I will miss that.

  12. Wow. Not what i was expecting. Having just lost a friend to lung cancer and another to a heart attack, this make this spring definate cluster. I am sad to see this for Igal. I really admired his work. Both with calagator and his community projects.

  13. I’m so sad about this. I’ve been missing Igal at the Ruby group meetings lately, but didn’t know he wasn’t happy. I’m going to miss him a lot more now.

  14. Igal was one of the first tech folks I met after moving to Portland and always a joy to talk to at meetups. This is a tragic loss for all of us.

  15. I’m so sorry to hear this. Igal was such an amazing and energetic person.


  16. I’m not going to diminish the action you took in any way. Many of us have thought it. I liked talking to you, and wish I still could. I’m sorry you needed to do what you did and I hope that if there is a final sense of peace that you have found it.

  17. Igal was such a smart, kind and intelligent man to be around. I had the pleasure of working with him for a number of months a handful of years ago. Truly a loss.

    My thoughts and prayers go out for those closest to him in this time of loss.

  18. I’m stunned! Igal was such a positive force in the Portland tech community. I’m so sad.

  19. This is really sad and tragic news.

    I didn’t know Igal well, but as others have mentioned, his knowledge and enthusiasm were truly inspirational. He really believed in the Portland software community and his endless contributions to all of us are a testament to his dedication. He was a rare individual and his absence will be felt in so many ways.

    Thank you for everything, Igal!

  20. I probably haven’t seen Igal in over 10 years…and now I won’t get another chance. He was wickedly funny and mischievous, clever, resourceful, and full of the most amazing stories. He taught me the only Russian phrases I know (don’t ask), and was truly a unique individual. He will not be forgotten.

  21. One nice memory I have of Igal is from 30 Hour Day back in 2009. I played in a band that closed out the variety show. He really dug our music, and he made a point to let me know afterwards when we were loading out. It meant a lot to me to have his enthusiasm and emotional support partly because I had no idea how our music went over — many people at that time didn’t even know I played, and hadn’t seen that side of me before — but also because I had just been laid off, and I needed a pick-me-up like that. I wish I could have done the same for him.

  22. Igal was the most welcoming and actively social programmer I’ve ever met. I wish there were some way this hadn’t happened. I’m shocked and sad. I wish there were something I could have done to prevent this had I known. Wow…

  23. NNNOOOOOO!!!

    I’ll miss you Igal. You’re one of the many reasons why I moved to Portland. I wish I had told you that before you were gone. :'(

  24. Like Jeff and Chris above, I knew Igal from High School and our many MANY weekends camping together in the Boy Scouts. He was friendly humor wrapped in an often ill advised stroke of genius. The world is diminished with his loss, and I can’t help but feel like a bad friend tonight.

  25. I just wish Igal had been able to treat himself with the same kindness and generosity that he extended to the rest of us. He will be sorely missed.

  26. Oh, no. This hurts my heart. Igal was a bright light. I wish I had known him better. Depression sucks. 🙁

    Go find a friend and tell them you love them.

  27. I wish I had an opportunity to get to know Igal better. I have been attending meeting he has put together for years, and I always had a deep admiration for his efforts in coordinating all the meet-ups he was a part of. Super depressing to hear that Igal took his life, while knowing that he gave so much to Portland’s tech community. I hope the best to Igal’s family and those that were close to him.

  28. Igal was an inspiration to me. He was a humble man. He always expressed his gratitude for everyone’s talks, and gave some kickass ones himself. He organized countless events, including five years of pdxfunc, where I grew as a speaker. He had a good word for everyone, and gathered everyone for social events afterwards, where he impressed us with his knowledge of Eastern European history and language! I had some talks with him until late into the night. He always had a smile on his face and an ear for everyone. He will be sorely missed.

  29. Igal was always one of the cool conference organisers at my most favourite conference ever, and he made everything work. He was incredibly talented; he seemed to be writing the software, managing the network, giving directions, juggling people, taking photography, and running amazing side projects, all the same time. We never got to spend much time together, but when we did he was an incredibly sweet and lovely guy.

    Right now, this doesn’t feel real. The thought of this actually happening just feels so strange, so… foreign. I look at the picture of Igal and still think “Hey, I’m going to be enjoying awesome vegan food with him in a couple of months.”

    Goodbye, Igal. You are sorely missed. 🙁

  30. I wish I could say something more formulated that expresses how I feel about this, but all I can think of is this:

    NO. NO. NO. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no!!! No. Please no.

  31. No, no, no, no. I only know Igal from the last few years of pdxfunc, but anyone who met him for even a minute knows what a friendly and smart guy he was. I was always in awe of his energy, and so grateful for his limitless generosity with his time to the Portland programming community. I deeply wish now I’d told him this. What a tragedy.

  32. I didn’t know Igal well but always saw him taking pictures at stumptown syndicate events. I didn’t realize he was dealing with depression, so I was surprised/saddened to hear this news. I know what it is like to get that depressed, and I am sorry to hear that this happened.

  33. Dear Igal,

    I am sorry to hear that I won’t be joining us in Open Source Bridge this year. You will be missed and for the countless days ahead. I was thinking about you deeply on this day of April 9 and now to come to find out, you have taken a permanent vacation from this plane of existence.

    I have and always will consider you a deeply regarded from and working collaborator, between here and the spontaneous moments we have had seeing movies, discussing politics, hanging out with Police Officers, and seeing random movies at night to the great times we had during Open Source Bridge when I first came on to meet this team now three years ago. You help me find a kinship in this tech community and helped me realize how wonderful of a city that Portland is and how lucky we all really are. For this, I am forever grateful to you and my gratitude goes out.

    You were and are an amazing friend for the time I had known you. I wish you the best in your continued journey. All Love to you good sir. May your spirit and ideas soar for the many generations to come.

    Your friend,

  34. Igal was so kind and always willing to help. Coming in with zero experience, he was always there and able to explains things in ways that made sense. You will be missed Igal and thank you so much for what you have done for this community and for me.

  35. I am heart broken at this news. I had been curious where he had gone from devops. I inquired a couple times on #pdxtech. Now I wish I had really inquired.

    For me he was someone I wish I knew better. For those who truly knew him I am so sorry for the loss.

    I will always remember his presentations at wherecamp. His collections of famous maps was fascinating and then the next year he followed that up with use of geography in video games. His perspective was insightful and he had clearly done his homework.

    Igal you were a joy. I wish I could tell you that now.

  36. Igal was the first real Rubyist that I met in Portland, and my bridge into the tech scene. I would go to the meetups and then go late into the night with Igal and usually a few other rotating people, having great conversations. Really, really great conversations. The best I have ever had in Portland. The best I ever will have.

    I am completely devastated by this news. And I’m disgusted with myself. I could have done a better job of showing how much I appreciated Igal. And I should have. And now I never can.

  37. I haven’t spoken to Igal since HS. Always a very nice guy and intelligent. A very sad day to all that knew him, friends, and his family.

  38. Igal was my first exposure to PDXRuby, and he defined the Portland tech community for me. Let others have said, he was welcoming to newcomers, encouraging to those tentative, and he seemed smart, opinionated, and open minded all in one.

    I know this is a terrible loss for the community at large, but for those of you who knew him closely, I’m especially sorry for your loss.

  39. Oh no! This is terrible. Igal was one of the first people I met in the Portland tech scene in 2008 when I first moved here, and he’s basically the face I picture in my mind when I think of the Portland Ruby group, hack fests, Calagator, and many other projects he helped out with. He was always warm and kind.

  40. Simply tragic. Igal was one of the most giving people I’ve met in the pdx tech community and overall, just a great person. He will be immensely missed.

  41. Igal was THE person many of us aspire to become. He gave his all and expected nothing in return. He opened his heart to ignite sparks of passion throughout the whole community. He sets such a high bar that no individual could ever hope to match on their own, but he leaves his mark in all of us and it is now our turn to share that spark with the rest of the world he leaves behind.

  42. I am still reeling from this and I’m having a hard time with words. Like many others, I wish I could let him know how much of an effect he had on our lives because of how integral he was to our introduction into the pdxtech scene and how welcome he made us feel. We’re all going to miss him very much, and I am so sorry for those that were close with him.

    Rest in peace, Igal.

  43. I am deeply saddened by this news. Igal was such as bright, smart and positive person when I was around him. He was such an amazing mentor and gave so much to the community.

    I am at a loss for words and heartbroken.

  44. This is truly truly sad. Tremendous loss for the PDX tech scene and tragic for his family and friends. Igal was talented in so many wonderful ways, not the least of which was bringing people together.

  45. Igal was one of the smartest, kindest, most generous people I have known. He was incredibly giving of his own time and attention. I wish now that I had taken some opportunity to tell him directly just how much I respected him.

  46. After moving to Portland recently, I was eager to connect with the tech scene. Igal was one of the first people I met and was by far the most welcoming and encouraging. I will never forget that. I hope we can honor him going forward.

  47. I’ve seen quite a few (far too many) announcements like this in the past, but this is the first one I’ve ever seen for someone I knew personally. I would never have guessed that he suffered from depression, and it isn’t in me to fathom how this kind of decision can happen. He had such an otherwise brilliant and engaging mind; I’m sad to hear that that mind is now lost to us forever.

  48. Heartbroken. My mind cannot comprehend this. Seeing the list of people above highlights both what a great community we have in PDX and what a huge part of that community Igal was. Igal went beyond any technology or programming language, and he was always respectful. I hope we all will choose to be a bit more kind. I read this just a few days ago

    Thanks for everything Igal.

  49. Igal for me was the face of the ruby group, and one of the first rubyists I met after moving to Portland. He generously spent several hours helping me through sticky problems on my website and answering questions, and he was always so kind and funny. Thank you Igal. You made a newbie to town and ruby feel accepted and welcomed, and made many people’s lives better just by being here. I’m sorry I didn’t let you know how much I appreciated your presence and your kindness sooner.

  50. This is very very sad. Igal was an integral part of the Portland tech community. We will all miss him. Ruby in Peace.

  51. Didn’t know you well, Igal. But remembering your smile. Found a pic of me you took/posted on flickr. Didn’t even know it was there. Thinking of you.

  52. I first met Igal in 1997 while working at and attending PSU. He was one of the smartest and kindest people I had the pleasure of spending time with. From collaboration on the Tech Team, to his pursuits at the CAT, and all the debates on programming and lab setups with him – we all enjoyed his views and passion on everything.

    In the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of re-connecting with him at several local community events, after losing touch for many years. He was still the bright light that I remember from my college years.

    This is so sad. Depression is such an awful thing. My own family has been through the wringer and I understand some of the battles. Some. It’s nigh impossible to know who and when to help, but always remember to try and be there for your friends and family whenever you can. The little things can make a huge difference in anyones day, and a cry for help can be as simple as wanting to talk or catch up. It matters.

    Igal you will truly be missed.

  53. Like so many others evidently, Igal welcomed me to Portland’s unique tech community. Bumping into him around town was always a reminder of how close we all are, and his passing puts the importance of personal connection in perspective.

    You will be missed more than you could have known.

  54. No words. Everything just sounds pithy and doesn’t come close to the sense of loss with you gone Igal. You were always upbeat and had a good tidbit about any topic. I’ll miss you much.

  55. Fuck. I can’t even begin to articulate what Igal meant to so many people and projects. Like so many here, I remember a smart and funny (albeit quiet) guy. Like so many here, I am stunned and heartbroken.

  56. Whenever I entered a room Igal was in the room always felt very positive and the people in it felt connected to each other. How sad to know that we’ve lost that.

  57. I’m so very, very heartbroken about this. What a colossal loss to the Portland tech community… and well beyond. Igal always amazed me with the sheer volume of giving he was capable of. It was not just that he was an extraordinary giver, it was that he was not half-assed about any of it. He brought passion, commitment and professionalism to all his volunteer work. He gave us his all. He was a sweet, ever-smiling man, full of encouraging words and ready advice. He had a massive impact on the local tech scene and was one of the most welcoming to beginners you will ever find. The good he did has cascaded through the local tech community, and the local community, and well beyond… and we are much stronger for it. Igal was the snowball that turned into an avalanche for good and though he is gone the ripples of his good work will be felt for many years to come. Igal was assuredly a force for good in this world and he will be very, very sorely missed. Such a tragedy. Such a loss. Unthinkable.

  58. Igal was a fixture of our community. Camera in hand while introducing people to each other, helping new people find their place, etc. It will be impossible for us to fill his exact shoes but we can honor his memory and contribution by trying to be more like him.

    Find new people at a meetup, introduce them to others. Tell them about the other amazing groups and conferences we have in town. Disregard programming language and framework barrier.

  59. I encountered Igal many times through his work on pdxfunc, and in that spirit let me say that his impression on humanity will not be GCed as long as we retain references to it.

  60. Igal, I didn’t know you well so this news is surprising and also so sad. Surprising because you seemed to be, and clearly were, such a positive force in this community. We will miss you.

  61. oh wow. this is so sad. igal was one of the most positive, encouraging, wonderful to deal with and technically stellar lights of stumptown syndicate and portland tech in general. he always was so encouraging, helpful and supportive of my endeavors. i’m so sorry he struggled so hard for himself and could not seem to give for himself what he gave so easily to others. he will be sorely missed. of course, yes, please let me know about the memorial arrangements.

  62. Wow, this is horrible news. I didn’t know Igal well, but I knew him through the PDX Ruby Brigade, which got so much better after he came along.

  63. I keep coming back to look at this photo of you, a photo of you in my backyard, on my birthday years ago. Thank you for sharing it with me and all the other nights we shared, talking, laughing and loving.

  64. What an incredible loss to our community. I feel the need to do something to ensure he’ll be remembered. Isn’t there an open source project we could name and dedicate to his memory?

  65. I met Igal briefly through pdxdevops. He impressed me with his ability to include everybody. It wasn’t enough to just give people a venue to talk, he wanted listeners with different backgrounds and different levels of expertise to all benefit and participate. If you are reading this I am sorry for your loss.

  66. Igal was always friendly, kind, cheerful. I figured his life was full of friends, and he didn’t need another. I was so, so wrong.

    As Amanda Fritz told us at “Working Kirk” Reeve’s memorial, depression is a disease, often lethal. We are not bad friends if we lose a friend to suicide, but if we are there, perhaps we can offer that small iota of encouragement that tips the balance in favor of seeking professional help that works. Or perhaps we can merely fill in some time in the depression sufferer’s life until a better encourager comes along. Life is the sum of many such nudges, leading to light or darkness.

    I write this not to Igal, but to the rest of all of you, especially if you are outwardly confident and seemingly successful at life and friendships. I’m too clueless to know that I am missing a friend until something like this happens. If your life has an emptiness that one more friend might help fill, lets get in touch, perhaps sit in a park and eat apples together. If I help keep you around, ready for the possibility of miracles, perhaps someday you will return the favor.

    • Keith, while I did not really know lgal I know many posting here and feel their plaintive emptiness. I lost my wife to suicide as well and I think that if someone really sets that up as their preferred option, none can talk sense into them… But being there as much as i t is healthy helps… I appreciate your reaching out, we all need one another. James

  67. I only knew Igal through PdxDevOps, and even with that limited exposure; I’m really sad to hear he’s gone. He always tried to get everyone involved in the conversation and listened to everyone’s point of view. His infectious smile and kindness will be sorely missed in Portland.

  68. [sobbing]
    Igal I always appreciated you at PDX meet-ups. I remember the few times we actually had the chance to hang out and talk in person. You challenged me, you encouraged me, you made me laugh. You HELPED me, and not just with tech stuff.

    You gave so much, but did you take the time to re-charge and receive the same from others?

    I’m not surprised Igal. I’m sorry. I could have listened to you with a more loving and perceptive heart about your own struggles.

    I’m so very, very sad you won’t be with us the rest of this lifetime. I will miss you very much. I’ll see you on the flip-side, OK? I still want to get to know you better.

  69. Dearest, Igal.

    I keep remembering the wonderful time we shared when you visited me and my family in Japan last year. My whole family loved you, and your curiosity and your bursts of positive energy has inspired us. You were so gitty, taking pictures of what fascinated you, surrounding yourself with smiles and warmth. Always.

    I thought about you all day today.
    You will be missed. You already are.


  70. Why is it those who burn the brightest burn so quickly? Peace, bro. I’m sorry I wasn’t close to you over the past few years to help in any small way.

  71. This is just totally shocking… Its hard to imagine how this could be possible 🙁 I know that people suffering from depression are often great at hiding it, but it just doesn’t compute :/ I haven’t seen him in almost 20 years, but according to my memory and the testimony of everyone that’s posted; Igal was always so positive and encouraging, this seems like it should be a bad dream 🙁

    I had to cut short reading over people’s comments, it was just too much to bear, but it seems like we’ve all had very similar experiences with Igal, well, in that they were all very fond memories, and it seems that he was the same person to all of us. Something like a brother who naturally took care of us. For who he was, it was impossible not to adore him. :_(

  72. Igal – you will be missed, I enjoyed the time I spent with you, mostly at wiki meetups – scary how someone so loved can be stuck in a bad place.

    tears of joy to have known you. tears of sadness that more people won’t get to know you.

  73. I had the privilege of working with Igal over the years and was always inspired by his drive and kindness. All of us at COPIOUS will miss Igal…

  74. Igal was a bright light and a force for good every time I saw him. We are the better for having known him and are diminished by his absence.

  75. Others have said all I could say about Igal: kind, caring, always curious. I’ll miss him and I’m sad to not have his presence around town any more.

    I think a common reaction is to want to be able to *do* something. I contacted a mental health professional at Multnomah County to ask for advice and got a detailed, thoughtful response back. I’m not sure yet how to share her comments. For now, I’ll share these two points:

    1. Please consider attending a support group meeting, as well as talking about your grief and your memories of Igal with your friends in our community.

    2. If you need to talk with a trained counselor, at any time of day or night, please call your local mental health crisis line. In our region, see . Several years ago I called the Multnomah County number and I found the experience very helpful at the time.

    Be good to yourselves.

  76. I will really miss working with Igal on wherecamppdx and seeing him at other events. He was a human being that thrived on the success of what people can achieve together. I just really appreciated that an easy going and nice person like Igal was around building community and helping others.

    I simply cannot fathom a wherecamppdx without a new addition of Igal’s ‘the “Amazing Geography of Fiction”, a tour of extraordinary places with maps, videos, images, and analysis.’ I get misty every time I think about it.

  77. Been trying to wrap my mind and heart around this for a couple days without success. Perhaps the best testament to who Igal was as person and member of the community is right here. I hope we all can touch as many in as positive a manner.

  78. So sorry to hear this sad news. Igal was such a positive force in the Portland tech scene. My condolences to all who were close to him.

  79. I’m not sure I can add anything to what’s already been said. Igal was an “includer” he did so much to bring people in and make them feel like part of the group. That’s a rare and valuable skill in community building.

    Is there any news about when/where the memorial will be held?

    I want to echo Jeremy Sharp’s advice to be good to yourself. I think perhaps in our profession as software developers we can easily get overwhelmed with the volume of stuff to learn. We can easily feel like we’re not measuring up. Be nice to yourself. Take a break. Celebrate your accomplishments.

    There’s a lot said about PTSD in those returning from war, but very little talk about PTSD that people experience as a result of negative workplace experiences. We need to talk about these things more.

  80. I was in disbelief when I saw this. So sad to see him go. He definitely set the bar for how to run meeting, that so many of us geeks lack the skill to do. I gained so much knowledge just by being around him at pdxdevops. This is such as big loss.

  81. I didn’t know Igal well, but I always enjoyed his presence at Where Camp, reading his listserv emails, and feeling his warmth indirectly in the PDX tech community. Hearing about this was a shock. I hope he is happier now.

  82. Igal, thank you for everything you did to stay with us as long as you did. I’m so saddened to hear this.

  83. When I moved from Austin to Portland five years, Igal is the person that introduce me to the rest of open source community in Portland. Kind and very friendly person. I am so sad to hear about the news. Depression sucks!

    Thanks for everything, Igal, you will be missed.

  84. I’m stunned. I knew Igal though the Ignite events and not terribly well — but he exuded such a genuine presence and warmth. There are so many things these days that I just can’t understand…now this is another one. People..please reach out when you need support…we’re there for you! Don’t suffer alone!!!

  85. It’s difficult for me to accept and understand the passing of such a kind and intelligent person.

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