Out of bounds: Remembering Jeremy Fredrickson



Curtis Uemura

This spot is usually my forum to rant on sports and what I love and hate about them, but due to recent events I’m going to switch it up this week.

On Monday the Inquirer staff got a huge shock on what seemed to be a normal day.

A young woman walked into the lab and asked to see our advisor. “What is this concerning?” we asked.

“Jerry Backman, I’m his sister, he was on the paper….he died this weekend.”


This was probably the most shocking moment of my life.

The best way to describe it was like getting punched in the stomach while simultaneously having your eardrums ruptured. It takes away your breath, making you sit down, but it was basically dead silent so it seemed like you couldn’t hear anything.

Jerry, or Jeremy Fredrickson as he was known to us, was the editor in chief of the Inquirer during the spring 2008 semester.

Jeremy’s car flew off side of Grizzly peak in Oakland on Friday.

As more information continues to come in, it looks more and more like a suicide, as there were no skid marks leading up to the cliff and witnesses said it looked like it was a deliberate act.

Some of us had just seen him as recently as a week ago, and nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.

Talking to his sister on Monday really opened my eyes to Jeremy’s life.

She said he didn’t have many friends, and that the only people he hung out with were a couple friends from grade school, and even that stopped during the last two months.

I wish I could say I was a close friend of his, but honestly we were more of acquaintances then anything.

We only really talked about stories and how the front page design was going.

We were school friends, if you will; the type of friend that you only talk with when you are at school.

This is something I truly regret.

As a returning member of the newspaper I should have taken on that role as a friend to all the newcomers, something I didn’t do.

But now it’s too late, there are no do-overs or restarts, it is a done deal.

I have to learn from this, to be a better editor, to be a better leader, but most importantly to be a better person.

While having a conversation about this whole situation with a fellow editor, we had this exchange.

“I just keep wondering what he was thinking about.”

“Yeah, I wonder if he thought about us.”

And there it was.

During his last minutes on earth did we come across his mind?

Did he think of us as his friends?

Or were we just lumped into the huge pile of acquaintances that he never connected with.

I would hope it was the first, but really the odds aren’t in my favor.

So all I can do is hope and wonder…Why didn’t I do more to help?