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Remembering Jack Dovan

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Dear friends and family,

It is with deep sadness and utter heartbreak I have to inform you of the passing of my beloved husband of 19 and a half years Jack Dovan (Moldovan). He died on December 15th at Eisenhower Medical Center from severe COVID pneumonia. 

He was in the COVID unit on a hi-flow oxygen machine for two weeks, not on a ventilator and not in ICU, and twice it seemed like he might turn around. But in the end, damage to his lungs from the virus was too great, and the extreme discomfort and pain from the treatment itself was too much for him to endure. On the morning of December 14th he demanded to stop the treatment and let him go. I said to him "Baby, if they stop the treatment you will die!" He answered “Honey, I am too tired, I can’t take it anymore. I AM DONE. I AM DONE. Tell them I want to go". They started hospice treatment a few hours later.

For a few minutes there was a slimmer of hope that hospice people might be able to bring Jack home to die. There was nothing I wanted more – to hold him in my arms for the last few hours of his life after not being able to be with him for two weeks. However, the portable oxygen machine was only able to provide Jack with half of the amount of oxygen he needed to breathe, so my hope to have him die at home vanished. He had to stay put. I was watching him on video for the last seven hours of his life. From time to time, I would talk to him and he would answer still. At some point he asked “Is there a yogurt and a soda?” I said of course and called the nursing station to bring him the snack and soda. His last nurse Denise fed him yogurt off the spoon and he couldn’t get over the taste of 7UP. Every time Denise would give a few sips of 7UP he would say “This soda is so delicious!” I guess he was thirsty.

After almost two hours, the morphine drip calmed down Jack’s pain and he stopped moaning. I told him “Good night, baby. I love you” and he answered right away “Good night honey. I love you too.” He was sleeping so peacefully on the morphine drip, finally with no pain and discomfort, his face was so relaxed. I watched for hours and couldn’t get enough. He took his last breaths a few minutes after midnight. The nurse was holding his hand and stroking his forehead, I was talking to him on video and then I read a prayer. The nurse said his breathing and heartbeat stopped with the end of the prayer.

This was the sad and unexpected end. To say that it was devastating or unbearable doesn’t even begin to describe it.

When Jack and I met on May 18th, 2001, we felt like we hadn’t just met. We both felt like we finally found each after having lost each other a few lifetimes ago and we both couldn’t believe that we were finally together again. We moved in together in a week and we were together ever since – until death did us part. We both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, and so we did. We were best friends and we always enjoyed each other’s company. Sometimes I would ask him “Baby, do you still love me?” His answer was always without a second of hesitation “Wholeheartedly!”

When Jack was sick in the hospital our dear friend Jesse, who has been tremendously supportive through the last three years of Jack’s health struggles, wrote to me:

“God is not ready for Jack. I know God is enjoying this beautiful love story between Jack and you as I am. He’s certainly enjoying seeing someone here below living and loving as he designed.”

Jack’s cousin Yael wrote to me on December 11 2020, Jack’s second week in the hospital:

 “Jack hasn’t let go of the connection. His fight is bound in your connection, seen from the very cloth that is you both in all you have. That’s a blessing in this world and a gift not to be held lightly. Neither of you hold it lightly… you both have been courageous to hold that strongly always to the point that neither of you question anything for even a second. There is enormous beauty in that and in you both…I also know that neither of you are even a centimeter outside of your love. Keep being you. Keep loving strong”.

Jack was born in Israel. He was the younger son of Frieda Markowitz and Max Moldovan. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to New York. He grew up in the neighborhood of Bensonherst in Brooklyn. When he was 22 years old, he drove cross country to Los Angeles, CA to deliver a car to a friend of his. He arrived in Santa Monica in the middle of the winter, looked around and called his mother to send him his clothes. He lived in California ever since.

He found a job as a salesman in a clothing business and it became his passion for the rest of his life. He had clothing stores, wholesale businesses, printed and sold t-shirts. However, the best years of his life and the most fun he had working were his years as a picker. He used to say he was an American picker before there was a show “American Pickers” on History channel. He travelled all over the country picking vintage clothes, Americana collectibles, rare stuff from old stores and warehouses. You could name almost any little town in America – and he’s been there.  He also travelled a lot to Europe on buying trips for the stores. 

Jack’s other passions were history, politics, vintage cars, and food. He remembered most places in the world by the food he had there and restaurants. 

Jack had the most loving and generous heart. If he saw that someone needed help, his first impulse was to help. When he had money, he helped everybody who asked. When he didn’t have money, he was generous with his love and friendships. 

He spent most of his weekends with his parents, Max and Frieda, in the last ten years of their lives because he said “That’s when they needed me most”. 

Another huge place in Jack’s heart belonged to his stepdaughter Brooke. He loved her deeply and tried to be in her life as much as he could. They shared an incredible connection and love and a sense of being true father and daughter. He met her when she was just 2 years old while her mother, Lisa, was embroiled in a terrible custody battle with her biological father. Jack came to the rescue and fought fervently to ensure that Brooke wasn’t separated from her family, something that would have been very likely if he hadn’t been in the picture. Despite separating from Lisa when Brooke was just 7 years old, he continued to love and look after her for the rest of his life. Graduations, boyfriends, bad days, the loss of her mother - Jack was there for her through everything. Even during some of his worst health spells, he would still remember to call to just check-in and say “I love you” and they would chat at least 2 or 3 times a week. He was a true guardian angel and was the best dad Brooke could have ever asked for. There will never be a day that goes by that she doesn’t think of him and how lucky she is to have had him as her chosen family.

Jack’s best friends of many years were Alan Sussman and Frank Sofer. They enjoyed great times together over the years, and Al would came several times over the last 2.5 years to help with Jack. 

Many of you dear friends are not aware that in the last three years of his life, Jack was very ill. In 2017, he was diagnosed with “water on the brain” disease and had his first brain surgery in February 2018 to have the shunt placed in the brain to pump excess fluids. The surgery caused a baseball-size bleeding in his brain and devastating complications. We spent 12 days in the hospital and a month in the skilled nursing facility before we could come back home. Complications robbed Jack of his short-term memory, coordination and most of his mobility. He needed 24-hour care and help with everything, so I quit my job and took care of him. He felt safe, loved and taken care of. He was never alone in the hospitals, rehabs or ERs. I always lived in his hospital rooms. 

There were weeks and then months when he was paralyzed from the neck down, days when he couldn’t think and sometimes couldn’t speak. So he had to have shunt pressure adjustments to improve his condition and then the second brain surgery in April 2020 to fix the shunt malfunction. That surgery was successful and Jack regained some of his mobility again, was able to think, talk, read the news on his phone, and watch TV. He was aware of what was going on in the country and the world. 

In the days and weeks when Jack was better, he was the same loving, goofy, funny, happy Jack, love of my life. We joked and laughed a lot, we had amazing conversations and couldn’t get enough of each other’s company.

Until COVID hit us both around Thanksgiving. This time I was not allowed to take care of Jack in the hospital despite his mental and physical disabilities and my pleas with the management. The first week he didn’t even understand why he was by himself, where I was and why I wasn’t there with him. I was on Facetime with him 9-10 hours a day talking to him, watching him sleep, reading to him, calling the nursing station when he needed help. It was difficult for him to remember where the help button was on his bed.

The second week he was growing weaker, and was in such tremendous discomfort as the doctors couldn’t relieve his pain or anxiety with medication because all they would slow down Jack’s breathing and they had a hard time maintaining his oxygen saturation with 30 liters of oxygen per minute. The doctor said if put on a ventilator, Jack wouldn’t come off of it alive. The doctor kept saying to me it’s one day at a time. Until Jack couldn’t take another day anymore.

Jack is survived by his wife Natasha, his stepdaughter Brooke, and his older brother Michael. 

He will live in our hearts for as long as we live.  

The funds will go towards covering Jack's final expenses.


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Natasha Taylor
Palm Desert, CA

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