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I was contacted by a relative of Jeff Wear - and seeing as I seem to be the first to hear about this terrible news - the task befalls me to get the word out. There is really nothing I can add at this moment. We are all shocked. Jeff Wear died on Monday morning, July 11th, 2005, while returning from chasing Hurricane Dennis.

Karen Leszke

The following is an excerpt from an email received from Jeff Wear's Uncle, David Wear. His email address is [email protected] .

"Jeff's mother Marilyn Wear on Monday morning at 9am received a call from the police about the accident. It happened in Kilgore, Tx. They left from Turlock, CA to Texas yesterday to take care of everything. This is so sad and awful because they are alone and broken. Jeff was their oldest son and Matt was his younger brother. My brother and sister-in-law do not know how they are going to get through this. I think you know how important the weather was to Jeff. He had devoted his life to weather and that is why he moved to Norman, OK.

The state trooper said he was traveling at probably a safe speed for the conditions but his car hydroplaned off the road and into an on coming semi-truck. He was apparently killed on impact as no ambulance was called. Our family is in shock and if you could, please post this sad news so that other of his friends or associates know what happened.

Thanks so much for your response.


David Wear,

Fresno, CA "


(Moderators - please feel free to move this post if it is incorrectly placed. In view of the subject's importance - I have cross-pollenated this with Everything Else so as to assure people will see it)

Moderator note: Jeff Wear fit the classic definition of a storm chaser. All of us at ST are saddened to hear of this tragedy. We give our sincerest condolences to the family.
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Jeff was a nice guy. I had the oppurtunity to meet him at several OUN chaser gatherings and I ran into him time-to-time (he lived at same aprt. complex as me for a few years). I saw him often on the road. He was one of those chasers that was always out there, and was never associated with anything negative.

His website is at:


Here is his bio:

For all those who may be wondering just who is Jeff Wear, where is Jeff Wear, and what did Jeff Wear....

Some people call me a storm chaser. Others call me a long haired freak with big eyebrows, big teeth, big feet, and a big head. A few may even call me that weirdo who put an upside down tornado in his avatar. Whatever you call me, I am a native of that haven for severe weather that is the San Joaquin Valley of California. Actually this area does experience some severe weather from time to time, and the flat, treeless farmland and clear, dry air that is characteristic of this region provided for some stunning sky scenes the .0004% of the time we did see severe weather. Growing up in an area with such an unobstructed view of the sky also gave me appreciation for the sky the 99.9996% of the time we weren't having severe weather.

Although I am primarily interested in the visual aspect of weather these days, my interest in weather developed from my interest in math. Beginning at age 6, I would always make sure I read the weather section of the newspaper and watched the weather segment of the TV news every day, as these were always filled with numbers. My interest in math disappeared around 7th grade when they started introducing letters, shapes, and Greek symbols, but by then I had already become hooked on the visual aspect of weather so that interest continued. I can trace my interest to tornadoes to an even earlier age, as I can recall being fascinated by the vortex caused by the draining bathtub at age 3.

I moved from California to Oklahoma in August 1999 to attend the University of Oklahoma, and settled in Norman permanently in January 2001. I did some "chasing" in California as early as 1996, but my chase career in the Plains began in 1998, when I took a week long trip out to the Plains with a group of chasers I met on Prodigy's Weather Bulletin Board and CompuServe's TWCForum. Since 2001 most of my chasing has been done solo within a 300 mile radius of Norman, although on occasion I will take longer trips. I have chased as far north as Nebraska and as far east as Illinois, and in 2004 I traveled to the Gulf Coast to intercept a hurricane for the first time. I enjoy interacting with others who share my enthusiasm for severe weather and tornadoes, so if you would be interested in contacting me my e-mail address is [email protected].

Following is a picture of my chase vehicle. If you see this vehicle out in the field, feel free to stop and say hi!

What horrible news... I never got to meet Jeff in person, but knew Jeff via the forums... I will keep his family in my prayers.

Jeff, we'll miss you.
I met Jeff at a chaser party in 2004, and since then only ran into him a few times. Despite not having gotten to know him, I do know that he was very much his own man, and he knew exactly who he was and what he wanted to do. I think it's awesome that he was living his dream, like so many other chasers. I take comfort in knowing he was doing what he loved to do at the time of his passing.

My deepest condolences to the entire Wear family & friends.
I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of this terrible news. I only knew Jeff via this board, but he was someone who I respected and was a valuable member of the chase community. He will be missed greatly.

And for his family and friends, I pray that God eases their pain and grief and gives them the strength they'll need to get through this tragic and difficult time.

Jeff died far too young. There's nothing that can be said that will make what happened a pleasant thing. But there is some comfort to be found in knowing that he had the opportunity to live his dream of chasing. Very few people actually to get to achieve their dreams, even those who live long lives. Yet Jeff did so. And he did so at a very young age. And he died while returning from doing what he loved.....chasing.

Again, hearing this just left me feeling like someone punched me in the stomach. I really don't know what else to say. Is there anything that we as a group can do? Cards? Flowers? Donation on behalf of one of Jeff's favorite charities? Perhaps a tribute of some sort on the main Storm Track page where his friends can contribute words or stories? News like this leaves me wanting to do something, but what I'm not sure.
Oh, my God....this is just horrible. We'll send our condolences to Jeff's uncle.
I can't even begin to compile what to say, except to say that what I have read of his on here, he was a good guy, and someone who will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff Wear's family and friends. I'm sorry for your loss.

Rest In Peace, Jeff.
How horrible. I did not know Jeff personally athough I enjoyed reading his website and his posts here on ST. My thoughts are with the Wear family.
This is terrible news. No life should end so quickly at such a young age. I met Jeff a handful of times over the years and he always struck me as someone who loved to be under the sky. Chase on, friend.

Wow. I can't even imagine what his family is going through right now. Never met the guy, but heard lots of great things about him. This is a real eye-opener and my deepest sympathies go out for his family. Stormtrack will miss you, bud.

I too am shocked and saddened to hear about this. I have seen Jeff a few times while chasing, as we were on many of the same storms during the past two years. He was a fixture in the chase community and his web site, photos and chase reports are one of the ones that I visit regularly.

My prayers go out to Jeff's family and friends.

I was never able to meet Jeff personally, but i saw him out on a few chases, his liscence plate "COPUNCH" was always recognizable. Im sad to hear about this. My prayers are with his family.
I'm sorry to hear this. I never really knew him, or met him except on StormTrack, but from what I've heard he was a great guy. His biography explains him great. Very open and extremly enthusiastic and willing to share his passion and talk with anyone about weather. He will truely be missed. God bless You dude.. My prayers are with Jeff's family and all of his friends...
This is terrible news, people shouldn't die at such a young age. Didn't know Jeff, but read many of his posts. He was a wonderful guy. Deepest condolences to him and his family. We will pray for him and his family.

This was his last post:
Barring an unforseen jog to the right that takes it into the west coast of Florida, I'm strongly considering going after this one. I'll be making a go/no go decision sometime tomorrow. I'd be willing to exchange cell phone numbers with anyone else who plans on being in the area....PM if interested.

A fateful decision, but I know that if he wanted to die one way, it would be out chasing and enjoying life while one can...

RIP Jeff...may God bless you.
This is very sad news for everyone.
My family and I wish to extend our condolences to his family and friends. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him I know he will be highly missed by his loved ones and in the chasing community.
About 10 years ago, there was a smart ass kid who use to terrorize a lot of people in The Weather Channel forum on Compuserve with his offbeat, and sometimes unsettling brand of humor. Naturally, being someone who loves absurd humor, I eventually was won over by the guy and we developed a friendship (along with a few other compadres along the way) which lasted, regrettably to say, until just a few weeks back. That kid was Jeff Wear.

I won't comment on what happened which created the rift between us. It was probably the sort of thing which would have probably eventually healed with time. What I will say is this. The community has lost a guy who had an extreme passion for what he did and definitely paid his dues over the years. Just go back to our chases in 1998 and 2003, for example, to understand how much futility we sometimes had to deal with.
Jeff never let those days get to him though. He could take the crappiest chase day on the Plains and somehow have you busting a gut laughing by the time you were settling in for the night at the next nameless and forgetable motel down the road.

I was to chase with Jeff again this past June, but circumstances came up which prevented this from happening. The last time I got to see Jeff was at the 2004 convention:


I always looked forward to meeting up with Jeff again, not only because of his sense of humor, but because the guy loved to talk storms as well. If there's any doubt about his dedication to the hobby, look no further than his signature license plates.

I'm sorry if my post is disjointed and incoherent, but it's really hard to know what feelings you're supposed to have at a time like this. I've never had anyone outside of my family that I considered myself close to who died so tragically and unexpectedly.

I'll just wrap it up by saying for the 10 years or so I knew Jeff, he was definitely one of those people you encounter on life's journey who makes you glad you went along for the trip.

Peace Jeff.

I'm very sorry to hear this. I remember seeing him at Rocky's picnics. Never got to know him, though. A genuine chaser.
My thoughts and prayers to his family.
I'm totally stunned and deeply saddened by this. My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to Jeff's family as they deal with such a sudden and horrible tragedy. I never met him in person, but got to know him through the numerous exchanges on here. It won't be the same anymore as a vaccuum will ceretainly be present in my mind. What a tragedy for us all, his friends, family, and the whole stormchasing community to lose Jeff. He will certainly be missed but never forgotten.

I hope and pray that now he can "chase" anywhere and anytime he wishes without earthbound burdens. From now on as we gaze up into the heavens to wonder and behold the power of mother nature, I know he'll be there with us in spirit.

God Bless. Peace.
I am sadden by this news, I never met Jeff. I did enjoy reading his posts to the forum, My prayers go out to his family and friends.

While we may never meet half the people we come to call our compatriots in this hobby or this field, the loss of anyone, especially at such a young age, is no less shocking.

May his family and friends here and elsewhere take comfort in the degree to which he obviously touched the lives of those around him, evidenced even here by the outpouring of sadness.

In the end, that is really all that any of us can hope for, to have touched as many lives as possible before the end.
What a tragedy. My condolences and sympathy to his family and friends. He was clearly a vital member of this community and will be missed.
I never got the opportunity to meet Jeff, I knew him just through his posts on Stormtrack. I am greatly saddened to hear of this tragic accident and my prayers go out to his family and friends. Jeff sounds like an amazing man, and one whos love for mother nature and dedication to chasing was incredible. We will all miss you.

Rest in Peace Jeff
Jeff's untimely passing somberly reminds us that the perils of chasing lie not just within the tornadoes, the hail, or the lightning, but within the water, the people, and the blacktop, as well.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Jeff, unfortunately. I viewed his site on numerous occasions; however, and learned some of his personality traits on ST. Through his demeanor in the threads, his upside-down tornado avatar, and his license plate, we learned quite a bit about Jeff.

Things will be different in the chase community, that is a definite. My sincere condolences go out to Jeff's family and friends. The storm chase community is behind you.

Jeff, you said it numerous times in your blog. Allow me to repeat the words.

Thanks for stoppin' by. Please, come again.