Posted by: clare on: October 10, 2011
Absorbed in the mediocre demands of the moment, I went to work today, dived into conference tasks, and resurfaced to a smack in the face from reality: Kees Overbeeke’s untimely death.
Kees crept into my life without my even noticing. For a start he edited Funology, the book containing Alan Dix’s chapter on deconstructing experience — the publication which most strongly drove the direction of my doctoral work.
And then I finished my EngD and moved to Eindhoven, and met in the kitchen one day this talkative, friendly man, energetically cleaning up and good-naturedly grumbling about the state of the place. I was impressed when I twigged: here was Kees Overbeeke — leader of DQI, editor of Funology, keynote speaker at CHI09 — cleaning the kitchen and gregariously chatting to any old stranger who passed by. That’s pretty awesome leadership by example.
I grew to look forward to bumping into Kees in the kitchen, and it wasn’t long before he invited me to come and look around in DQI and hear a bit about their research. “You’re welcome anytime,” he said, “it’s a free place.”
I’ve been at the TU/e for a little over nine months, and in that time DQI is the one research group outside my own to make a strong impression on me — and that’s all because of Kees. He was very clearly a passionate, community-oriented leader and an enthusiastic, gifted researcher: he was inspirational to a lot of people, myself included. I shall very much miss our chats and his infectious enthusiasm.