PAUL PONEK, JR.
[This eulogy was delivered at Stefans funeral on Saturday, October
20, 2001 by Brooke Jones, Stefans second wife and the mother of his daughter,
Kristin Ponek. It is reprinted here to help you remember Stefan as he would like you to
remember him as a man who loved laughter every bit as much as he loved music.]
Stefanovich Ponekowsky part Pole, semi-Seminole. Once upon a
time Stefan referred to himself that way. He was, after all, part Polish and part Seminole
Indian. He was many things.
As I contemplated what I would say today, the first thing that occurred to me was that
this room would be filled with a very interesting assortment of people. Thanks to
Stefans eclectic walk in life, what we have here are veterans of the Paisley and
Patchouli past; Generation-X upstarts; and a lot of people taking it one day at a
time. This gathering also includes Stefans two children; his three (count
em three) ex-wives, and his lady. If ever there was an opportunity for me to
stick my foot in my mouth, this is it!
I know hes watching right now, and I can hear him saying Be careful!.
Okay, Ill be careful.
Stefan and I first met in Boston in August of 1969 just days before Woodstock. In
1973 I moved to San Francisco. Stefan was working at KSAN. I began hanging out at the
station and made a point of routinely telling Tom (Donohue) that the station sounded
okay, but it would sound much better if I worked there. (I was 22 years old at
the time I was an idiot!) Stefan and I soon became friends. It was a friendship
built on a very solid foundation he told me he had a son named Seth
told him I had a brother named Seth. Hey, friendships have been known to spring from
In April of 1978 we had our first date. He cooked dinner angel hair pasta and a
really fabulous home-made pasta sauce. I thought Wow, this guy can
cook!. Little did I know, pasta sauce was the one and only thing he knew how
unless you count his ability to simultaneously flame-broil all the contents
of a grocery bag
but my daughter already told you that story.
In the Fall of 1978 Stefan was the Program Director of KMPX. One afternoon in October,
while eating lunch and waiting for a phone call from Benny Goodman, Stefan was hit by what
he thought was a major case of indigestion. What it was was a major heart attack. He did
what came naturally he went for a walk and smoked a cigarette.
He walked back to the building that was the home of KMPX. The buildingalso happened to be
the home of about a dozen doctors offices. He walked into an office and said I
think Im having an attack of indigestion. The doctor took one look at him and
said, No, actually I think youre having a heart attack, to which Stefan
said I cant be having a heart attack, Benny Goodmans about to call
Stefan had an abiding love for music all kinds of music. Whether it was a 40-piece
symphony orchestra or four white boys with Marshalls, Stefan got
it. If youd sit still long enough, hed tell you that Freddie Mercury was
Mozart in a previous life; that the Beach Boys begat the Back Street Boys; that Marilyn
Manson is a latter-day Alice Cooper; that Alanis Morrisette is Starship Next
Generation, that Snoop Dog is really just Pete Seeger with a good tan and a bad
attitude, and that, on any given day, a little Polka can save your soul.
Between the two of us, Stefan and I worked at every place in the Bay Area that started
with the letter K, with the possible exception of K-Mart. Sometime in 1980,
while I was Rockin The Bay at KMEL, he was on the air at KYUU and a character by the
name of Madame Dictionary began making regular appearances on his show. The crusty old Bag
(Madame Dictionary, not Stefan) claimed to be the worlds foremost authority on the
mis-use of the English language.
Each day, before she was scheduled to join him on the air, Stefan and I would sit around
the house, legal pads and pens at the ready, and wed retool the Mother Tongue.
Hed say: Protracter -- Id say: A farm vehicle that gets paid.
Id say: Altercation -- Hed say: A fist fight between competing seamstresses.
Horrific A fabulously talented slut. Dragnet Material used to catch
An artful segue of music and laughter, that was Stefan Paul Ponek, Jr.
Ill leave you with this one final story
.When I was pregnant with Kristin,
Stefan and I, like all expectant parents, spent lots of time trying to come up with a name
for our baby. One night Stefan had an epiphany. Ive got the name he
said. Boy or girl, Ive got the name!. I waited and then, with a smile on
his face, Stefan said Stereo! Okay, say it with me now
He was a deeply twisted puppy
and Ill always love him.