Nejat Ezal: Memorial and remembrances
I smile so often without knowing the cause
is it true happiness or just a mental instability?

- Nejat Ezal
The worst, and best, aspect of dying is that one will be absolutely alone.

- Nejat Ezal
Nejat was survived by his brother, Kenan, and his parents, Bulent and Anne Ezal.  Memorial Services were held on April 30, 1994 at 2:00pm at the UCSB Cliff House at Coal Oil Point Reserve.  His ashes were scattered at sea near the Channel Islands that he so loved.
Humanity:  that which can discern and contemplate its own Death?

- Nejat Ezal
Friends and family gathered at the Memorial service and helped scatter his ashes
A plaque honoring Nejat, and including one of his thoughts, was placed in the waters off Santa Catalina Island just outside of the Casino Point Underwater Park.  Divers visit it annually to clean it.
Casino Point Underwater Park
The Casino on Santa Catalina Island
Excerpts of messages to the Ezal family and rembrances of Nejat
We welcome your rembrances, stories and pictures of Nejat.  If you would like to share any, please email them to us.
Letter from Kenan to friends and family
Message from Alan Peltier given at the Santa Barbara Dive Rescue Workshop
Messages at the Memorial
I only got to know Nejat as a person, not just as a brother, in the last 3 years while we worked and lived together. Of course, I've known him for all of his life, but he was always my kid brother. I used to protect him to the best of my ability from all kinds of harm...There came a time when I could no longer protect him from himself. Much to his dismay, I sometimes tried, but once he made up his mind to do something there was nothing to stop him from doing it. He died very happy.
- Kenan Ezal

When I first met Nejat I thought he was the most innocent and naive person I had ever met...I think it's a common 1st impression of Nejat. He was so brilliant, yet he seemed so unaware of anything unjust or even slightly depressing in life. It didn't take long before I realized that I was the naive one and that I had completely misjudged him. In fact, I have never met anyone who pondered life and all of the problems and injustices in the world as much as him...On the inside he was like a philosopher pondering EVERYTHING and on the outside he was like a carefree child who bounced around making everyone's day a little brighter.  If you knew Nejat enough to get a glimpse of just how complex and fascinating he was, you couldn't help but come away a better person. Even if he just popped into your life for a few minutes, he'd probably leave you with a smile on your face. I know I'll never meet anyone who loved people and life as much as Nejat.  His acceptance of others and his ability to see the good in everyone was incredible and even incomprehensible to me when I first met him.  Now I miss it.
- Alan Peltier

Nejat didn't have to impress people with a lot of talk; he just did what needed to be done and wasn't looking for praise and glory. Only a person that is very confident in their own abilities is able to do that. That type of person is one that has had a lot of support and love while growing up, but he never lost the sense of wonder of a child.

All my best students have been free spirits, as Nejat surely was. One can't tell such people where and when to be free. About all one can do is point out the risks, insist that they obey the regulations, and hope for the best. To chart and require adherence to the truly safe path would be to make them all old prematurely or send them off in other directions. In keeping with this argument is Nejat's statement, "Life is too important to be taken seriously." He was however; quite serious in wanting as a result of his life to leave the world in better shape that it was when he arrived. How else could he have been so interested in the care of marine mammals? Why else would he have given up secure and interesting employment to take up marine science?  And certainly and wonderfully, he left all the young people he knew a model of near perfection in human relationships.
- Jim Case

Nejat was on the threshold of a distinguished career in science.
- Jim Childress

Nejat's insights in the technical problem solving area are truly exceptional, and his ability to make valid technical evaluations is second to none.
- Larry Gilbertson (Delco)

Nejat in Paris:
Paris had been grey and rainy that summer, causing people to be moody and depressed.  But the weather couldn't affect Nejat, who was perpetually cheery and excitable.  Everyone, including strangers on the street, was entranced by him.  My fears that he would be lonely when I was at work evaporated when everyday he came with stories about how he had been invited to go here and there with people who just seemed to be drawn to him.  I had never heard of the French inviting a tourist to go anywhere!  Everyone fell in love with Nejat.

Nejat had this uncanny ability to make you feel at ease and want to be his friend after just meeting him... I deeply regret never having gotten to know him better.

It is rare that you meet someone who with that first smile becomes your friend; someone who knows nothing about you one day and all your secret thoughts the next; someone who asks for nothing in return except friendship itself; someone who makes it just as easy to share sadness as it is to share joy; and like a precious memory, a friendship like that is forever.

This precious person's attitude was infectious! He proved to me that idealism isn't naive. It can be nurtured and celebrated and bloom into breathtaking beauty. Oh, did Nejat experience life, and savor it! I feel so blessed that some of the sweetness of his life has spilled over into mine.

You, the parents, should be proud to have raised such a fine young man;  a person who apparently excelled at every single thing he attempted.  We believe his passing was a loss for the world.  Nejat was the most alive person we have ever known.  He probably lived more in his 25 years than most people do in 75.

He was the kindest soul I ever had the privilege of meeting and he will be greatly missed...the time Nejat spent with us here on Earth was filled with goodness and kindness.  He was a beautiful person.

Maybe the good die young because they accomplish things and influence others in a time span that takes most of us a full lifetime.

Nejat showed me that I need to enjoy my life and appreciate the surrounding beauty.  The bravery he showed in changing majors has also lent me strength.  I will never forget him or what he has shown me.

His positive outlook on life rubbed off on the friends he associated with, which makes us all better people...I will always remember Nejat's zest for life and will continue to remind myself to live life to its fullest as he so magnificently did.

Nejat taught me to see life thru the wondrous eyes of a child.
Messages in their original uncut form:
Letter from Kenan Ezal  to friends and family
Message from Alan Peltier given at the Santa Barbara Dive Rescue Workshop
Messages at the Memorial
Messages in their original uncut form: