Jason Michael Baringer
1981 - 2001
in his heart"
the life of Jason Michael Baringer was brief, his accomplishments
rivaled that of an eighty-year old.
Jason was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and moved soon thereafter
with his family to southern California's Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Early in elementary school he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular
Dystrophy, a progressive, neuromuscular disease. Jason and his
family committed themselves to drawing attention to this devastating
illness. He became the MDA Los Angeles Region ambassador for three
years, during which he attended numerous events - including Jerry
Lewis Labor Day telethons - and met many dignitaries and celebrities.
Jason's academic career in the Palos Verdes Peninsula school
district was marked by numerous accomplishments, awards and honors.
Gifted in the use of Macintosh computers, he taught computer classes
for teachers during the summer months and developed the school
district's original web site. He was also an editor of the yearbook
for four years.
At the University of Southern California, which Jason attended
until his death, he began as a business major and was named a
Marshall School of Business Scholar. As Jason's interests leaned
more heavily toward philosophy, especially that of the ancient
Chinese, he contemplated changing his major.
In April 2000, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Jason's wish
to meet Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers Inc. and Pixar. The
pair continued their friendship through e-mails, telephone calls,
and a subsequent visit.
One of Jason's passions was exotic cars, especially Ferraris.
A chance meeting with a Ferrari dealer in southern California
afforded him a magical trip to Italy in 1991 where he was a special
guest of the Ferrari dealers of North America and treated to private
tours, test-drives, dinners, and all things Ferrari.
Jason pursued with fervor his many interests, among them: Apple
Computers, painting and drawing (he transferred to computer graphic
art when he could no longer use his hands), managing his stock
portfolio, collecting and growing orchids, and collecting hand
blown glass. He was a huge Chihuly fan and appreciated Frank Lloyd
Wright's legacy and such Mission Style derivatives as Stickley
furniture. Jason loved to read and, even though he said he hated
to write, wrote beautifully and seemingly effortlessly. He was
a huge fan of classic rock - spurred on by his school aide, John
- and collected CDs. He loved food and spent many hours researching
new recipes to try. He followed Formula One auto racing and the
Jason faced many medical challenges throughout his life. He had
amazing courage, determination and spirit as he faced whatever
the future held. Though he didn't talk about it much, his faith
in God and life was very strong. He never complained about his
lot in life and was always quick with a smile and a joke when
things got tough. He made people feel at ease with a disabled
person, and made friends with people all over the world. The medical
professionals who treated him both admired and respected him.
Jason's warm smile, compassion, grace, quick wit, and intelligence
will always be remembered. An inspiration to all who knew him,
Jason leaves a legacy of love, humor, faith, tenacity, integrity,
character, perseverance, and spirituality.
Picture Jason as he was happiest: in front of his computer with
his hand on his trackball, listening to the Doors, in a Ferrari
T-shirt with a smile on his face.