This site is for family, friends, and colleagues of Avner Magen to post their thoughts and memories of him. Avner died in a climbing accident on May 29, 2010, in Alaska.

Avner was a beloved and devoted father, husband and son; a terrifically warm, funny, and energetic person; a brilliant and creative researcher; and a wonderful friend and colleague.

Please share your stories, memories and words of support by sending an email to You may also post comments to any entry. Visit this Photo Site for a photo memorial of Avner and his family and friends. Instructions for adding pictures appear next to the album.

More details appear on the Avner Magen Memorial page.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kate Brown

As Ayelet and Avner's next-door-neighbours we had the
pleasure, the absolute pleasure, to see them many times a
day. I was going to qualify that this was during the warm
weather months but actually we would often see Avner out our
kitchen window in the winter, shoveling or walking the dog,
and would always laugh because of how lightly he was

Ayelet and Avner had just finished designing and making a
beautiful garden in preparation for Roy's Bar Mitzvah in
July. Ayelet has been tending to the plants and the new
grass with such pleasure and care. I loved seeing her
sipping a glass of red wine last week on her new deck in
total peace. Similarly, two weeks ago it was great fun to
come out our back door one morning to find Avner practising
rapelling from the roof of his second story wearing a
backpack. I called out to him and he looked over at the
roof line of our house thinking someone was there. I gave
him a hard time about what chance there would be that
another person would also be up on a roof just then.
Although I cannot remember it verbatim, he had a very funny,
interesting answer about the possibilities of people being
on roofs that kept the conversation going. With Avner,
conversations never ended. They just got interrupted -- by
kids or dogs or the phone ringing. He could make an
interesting, funny conversation out of any topic or starting
point. It was so much fun to give him a hard time about
everything and he gave it right back. It is so hard to
convey in writing the joyful banter that went back and forth
over our shared back yard fence with Avner and Ayelet, but
it was the most wonderful part of my day. Avner was truly
unique, one of a kind, and I will miss Avner forever.

When I think of our two backyards they were a place of such
joy and laughter because of Avner and Ayelet and their
wonderful ways. I so so wish Avner had not gone on that
climbing trip because we wanted to grow old with Ayelet and
Avner living side by side and enjoying each other so much.
I found it helpful to grasp how important climbing was to
him when I went on his work site. He has only 4 headings:
research interests, publications, teaching, and "pictures
from my climbing trips". He has photo collections from each
of his major climbing trips. I have had to remind myself
that he would not be the Avner that we all loved so much if
he did not honour all parts of himself, including his love
of climbing. There was an ease in Ayelet and Avner's
relationship that was so enjoyable to be around. They were
very different and yet both shared an openness, a feeling
that everyone in their family and beyond was free to be who
they were. This ease permeated their other relationships,
and their relationship with us. The ease between us was
tested in the last year since Ora joined their family
because I do not like being around dogs. While we worked
through a couple stresses early on, we had managed to turn
it into a source of laughter over our differences. A few
weeks back Ayelet and Avner had commented that we should
remove the fence and join our backyards. They were both
ready and waiting for a very fun conversation as Avner
anticipated our response: that something else would have to
go before the fence. Avner demonstrated his mock outrage
again with a huge twinkle in his eyes, and we each walked
away feeling true to ourselves but appreciative of each
other's differences.

Ayelet, you and your family have brought such joy to our
lives on Manning Avenue. I have never felt so at home in my
life than I do right here beside you. I will be here for
you forever to do anything I can to help you feel at home.

All our love forever to dearest Ayelet, Roy, Noa, and Ofri.
xoxoxo Kate, John and Jonah

1 comment:

  1. So true, so true.I think that the idea of joining backyards is great, but Ora is staying!