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In Memorium — Jeff Folick

We recently lost a wonderful and dedicated member of the Orange County Buddhist Church, Jeff Folick, who also was very involved in the BCA and IBS. I would like to dedicate my message this month to him.

I had the great privilege of serving at OCBC for 34 years, and during those years, Jeff was more than a member of OCBC to me. He was a personal friend. Our kids grew up together, playing basketball for OCBC and being in Dharma School and YBA together.

Like many of the families here in the OCBC community, when your kids grow up like that together, the parents become lifelong friends as well, and I know many other parents here at OCBC have travelled with the Folicks, shared birthdays and anniversaries together, long after their kids have grown up. Gail and I too have shared a few trips with the Folicks and other couples here at OCBC. We will hold on to those cherished memories forever.

Jeff’s sudden passing shocked all of us, especially since he has been doing so well for these past years. It seems like yesterday, when about nine years ago, Jeff came into my OCBC office and said he wanted to talk to me.

I thought that maybe one of his kids had gotten engaged and he was going to ask me to officiate their wedding ceremony, but to my shock, he said he was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. My jaw dropped. What? Oh no! But I remember very clearly our conversation that day.

Jeff was composed and not despondent in the least. He said, “It’s OK. I’ve had a wonderful life. I have wonderful kids and family, and I have had a very fulfilling life.”

I think I tried to offer some supportive and encouraging words, but really, his whole attitude and demeanor was what I remember. We were so fortunate to have had Jeff with us for these additional years since that diagnosis. Maybe Jeff, more than anyone, appreciated beyond words, these last years of his life since that diagnosis.

As Bishop, I composed an “Ingo,” or honorary title for Jeff. Jeff’s “Ingo,” consists of the following characters, read “Dai-se-in.” “Dai大” means “Great.” “Se施” means “to give,” and “in院” means “honorary title.” Jeff’s “Ingo,” if I were to translate it, means, “Great giver.”

Jeff was a most generous giver to OCBC, to the BCA, to IBS, to many organizations and causes. He was truly a “great giver.” But to me, even more than his monetary contributions, Jeff’s greatest contributions were his leadership, his dedication, his willingness to serve, his level-headed wisdom and guidance, and his commitment to the Dharma, to the teachings.

When we first established our Buddhist Education Center at OCBC over 20 years ago, Jeff served as our first treasurer. He was the CEO of Pacificare, but he was willing to be our BEC treasurer. He really helped us to start our BEC with sound financial policies.

Jeff was a real student of the Dharma, attending BEC classes, seminars, and our weekly Sunday services and adult study classes. I don’t know if others in the community know this, but when Jeff served as president of OCBC, he was working out of Baltimore, Maryland.

Jeff would fly to Baltimore every Monday, and return every Thursday or Friday, and never missed a Sunday service or OCBC event. Many would say, “I work on the East Coast. I don’t think I can serve as president.”

But Jeff did it without any hesitation or reservation. That was the level of his dedication and willingness to serve and to give.

I think Jeff’s generosity to OCBC and other causes made others more generous. I think his dedication and commitment made others more dedicated and committed. I think his wisdom and level-headed reasoning made others wise and level-headed. After all, isn’t that what leadership is?

This is also how a Buddhist changes the world, by being the example that inspires others to live in that manner. A Buddhist creates world peace by first being a peaceful person themselves. A Buddhist creates more giving in the world by first being a giving and generous person yourself. A Buddhist creates more selflessness in the world by living a selfless life yourself. A Buddhist creates more reflection in this world, by being a self-reflecting person.

We have lost a wonderful example of giving, of dedication, of selflessness in Jeff Folick, but may his example continue to lead, inspire, and give us the example of how our Buddhist way of life can be lived.


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David Yamamoto
David Yamamoto
Sep 20, 2021

Our family owes a great debt of gratitude to Jeff and the Folick family. They were so supportive of the Choir and all of our endeavors over the years, and it saddens us greatly to hear of Jeff's passing. Namuamidabutsu.


Teresa Shimogawa
Teresa Shimogawa
Sep 19, 2021

The second to last paragraph was great. Thank you for sharing Jeff's story and legacy. My condolences to his family and everyone who loved him.

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