RIP, Jeff Stratton: Past New Times Music Editor & Friend Forever

Categories: In Memoriam
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The entire New Times family was hit with a tremendous shock Wednesday afternoon when we learned that our brother Jeff Stratton had passed away suddenly after apparent complications from a stomach ulcer in Honduras. He was 47.

As part of an accomplished journalism career around the country, Jeff served as New Times music editor between 2000-04 and then transitioned to a staff writer from 2004-07, and continued to contribute writing for every section of the paper up to the present. Most recently, he was spearheading his own paper, the Roatan New Times. Far greater than that, he was a dear friend, a loving father, and a brilliant, articulate thinker. Anyone who spent a few minutes with the guy could feel that warmth right away.

Unsurprisingly, Jeff and I bonded over music as soon as I moved to South Florida last year -- and he contributed several ace pieces to the section, including an enlightening story on the recent goings on of Built to Spill. When he heard that I was woefully behind on my Brian Eno listening, he was the kind of guy to load up and pass along a zip drive with speed. Now, hearing Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets, Another Green World, and so forth is a happy reminder of Jeff's gifts and friendship.  

A lot of folks have stepped forward to express their love for Jeff and grief following his passing.

From the Postmarks:
Good friend of the band, and all-round great guy, Jeff Stratton, has passed. He wrote the first story on us, even before we had a name for the group. He was an eloquent, thoughtful and wickedly incisive writer who loved the music and people in South Florida's local scene. We are gutted, to say the least. Our thoughts go out to his family. Goodnight, Jeff...
From Radio-Active Records:
RIP Jeff Stratton. A talented writer and a wonderful human being. You will be missed.
From John Linn, former New Times food writer:
Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Jeff Stratton. Jeff had so very much to say and the eloquence to say it in a way that touched many people. The guy could make you laugh almost effortlessly. He'll be remembered fondly.
From TheHoneycomb.com's Steve Rullman:
Jeff Stratton, one of the best writers South Florida ever had has passed on. I just communicated with and shared music a couple weeks back. Not happy. Will always remember our first hang, at Elwoods, when he first became music editor. I also liked when he recently shared a photo showing that he still had a honeycomb sticker on the back of his truck. Kid had style and will be missed dearly.
From Jake Smith, past New Times nightlife editor:
My former editor Jake Cline had a great suggestion: Go to Browardpalmbeach.com. Do a search for "Jeff Stratton." Read anything with his byline -- music column, feature story, album review, whatever. Just read it. The guy was that good.  This one is one of my favorites and it was the first Stratton piece I ever read, long before I met him and long before we played music together and became like brothers.
From guitarist Juan Montoya (Floor/Cavity/Torche/MonstrO):
A true friend and supporter of muscians, thank you for listening. Love you brother. You're in my heart
From Tom Bowker, New Times contributing writer:
My good friend Jeff Stratton has passed. He was my biggest supporter as a writer. I talked to him less than 48 hours ago. I'm crushed. Viva el jefe!
As has already been said, just head to Jeff's author profile on the New Times site and pick something at random from the past decade -- you'll learn something, and it'll be a captivating read. I particularly like that he pulled no punches in a review of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, which pits his work unfairly against the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt's wordplay. There are umpteen others that exhibit Jeff's unending wit and insight.

My musical tribute to Jeff is one of the gems from that zip drive he passed along -- to a guy who would come running to tie our shoe, no sweat. This is just the beginning of our conversation about Jeff, and many others will weigh in with their memories.
 


Details on a service for Stratton are still being worked out.

Stratton leaves behind his partner, New Times Managing Editor Deirdra Funcheon, and their son, Cooper.


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12 comments
The AMAZING Dik Shuttle
The AMAZING Dik Shuttle

There would have been no ShuttleLOUNGE without the Jeff Stratton stamp of approval.  He gave the first review of the concept and helped shape the entire idea.  He was a local crusader. He will be missed.

Davidjoshuarogers@gmail.com
Davidjoshuarogers@gmail.com

I am so saddened to hear this... I was just checking out his photos this week and thinking, " he was such a good dude and such a straight shooter. Humble and wise and an exceptional writer who helped us get our some street crthen the local music scene.

My thoughts to all his family.

skyshooter
skyshooter

Jeff you "magnificant bastard" you reminded me so much of Hunter S. Thompson with your writting style, your sarcasam and demon wit will be sorely missed, I valued our friendship over the decades, and am a better person from knowing you. I'm sad the songs we were working on will never be finished. 

Miss you D. Dubuque... see you on the otherside.

Slip
Slip

I talked to Jeff several times while he was at New Times regarding my band and the music scene. Always a nice guy and I enjoyed reading his articles. Condolences to family and friends.

Abel F.
Abel F.

Jeff was always a very positive and encouraging force to all of those who had the pleasure of working with him. He will be sorely missed. Que viva "el Jefe" por siempre!!!

Michael Alan Goldberg
Michael Alan Goldberg

This is very, very upsetting news. I never met Jeff, but he was my music editor when I started freelancing for NT-BPB in the early/mid-2000s and he was always extremely kind, gracious and supportive in our e-mail exchanges. Seemed like a great guy and was obviously a terrific writer and editor. I always kept up with his work long after he moved out of the music editor position. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He'll definitely be missed.

Eydie
Eydie

I'm so sorry to hear about Jeff. Last time I spoke to him was via email; I had given him some advice on low-paying freelance work he could do. He was one of the few genuine people I knew when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale and worked with him at New Times. My love to the little family he left behind. -Eydie

Mr. Entertainment
Mr. Entertainment

Hats off to a good one. A real writer, a lover of music, a friend, a thinker......... you shall be missed by many.

Mr. Entertainment

Stefan Kamph
Stefan Kamph

I met Jeff at that Built to Spill concert at Culture Room shortly after I arrived in Florida. While we talked, his musical knowledge took the form of infectious enthusiasm. Made me feel like I was witnessing a historic performance that night. Our contact since then was all too brief, but I immediately thought of him as a friend. He was clearly a loving dad and a devoted creator. I'll be digging through the archives now.

Mindy Hertzon
Mindy Hertzon

I am so heartbroken over the passing of Jeff Stratton. He was one of my dear friends and helped me find my house 8+ years ago.  He went out of his way for his friends without anyone asking.  I would take care of his cat for him when he was traveling.  We would listen to Utopia/Todd Rundgren while drinking wine and talking music & photography.  Jeff was a true friend in every sense of the word.  After caring for his cat, he gave me a great painting of a Sonny & Cher album cover that was his but that he knew I admired.  He loved music. He loved his friends.  He loved journalism.  He loved his family.  We all adored him.  May his sweet soul rest in peace.  I will never forget him.  My love to his family and to Deirdra & Cooper (his little adorable son).  :( 

ErinHilburn
ErinHilburn

Rest in Peace, Jeff. A talented and eloquent writer, for certain. I followed his work when I first moved here in 1999, long before freelancing for New Times and meeting him. He gave me great feedback on my writing, and was just generally a pleasant person to be around. My heart goes out to his family, I am so sorry for their loss. 

Lori Dawn Cartagena
Lori Dawn Cartagena

So sorry for the loss of your friend and the friend and family of so many others. A great loss.

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