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Welcome to the memorial page for

Joseph "Jay" E. Lake Jr.

June 6, 1964 ~ June 1, 2014 (age 49)

       Jay Lake died at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, June 1, 2014 after a six year, hard-fought battle with colon cancer. He died five days before his 50th birthday.

      Jay was born Joseph Edward Lake, Jr. on June 6, 1964 in Taipei, Taiwan China to Sarah Ann Bryant and Joseph Edward Lake, Sr. Raised by his father, a United States diplomat, and his step-mother, Jo Ann Kessler Lake, Jay grew up living and traveling in Asia, Africa and Europe. Jay attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, graduating in 1982. He graduated from the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas Austin in 1986. After college, Jay embarked on a professional career in advertising and marketing in the high tech industry, which gave him exposure to continuing technology issues and trends. He holds a patent for a System to Manage Multi-media Communication and has one pending for a System for Managing Leases of Property.

      In 1993, Jay married Susan Mendes Lake and the couple added daughter Bronwyn Ariadne Qiu Ju Lake to the family when they adopted her from Nanfeng, Jiangxi, China in 1998.  Jay would often be seen at science fiction and fantasy conventions accompanied by Bronwyn, known as The Child.

      In 2001 Jay made his publishing debut on the science fiction and fantasy scene. As he said, after 11 years of effort, he was an overnight success.  One of the most prolific writers in the genre, he has seen more than 300 short stories and 10 novels published with more in the works. His works have been translated into multiple languages and received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. He was a first place quarter finalist in the Writers of the Future contest in 2003 and went on to receive the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer in 2004. His blog, where he wrote about everything from writing and photography to politics and parenting to interesting travel logs, has been ranked as a top 25 science fiction blog. In 2011, he co-hosted the Hugo Award Ceremony at the World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. His work has been nominated for several awards, including Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon and Sidewise Awards.

      Jay has received many accolades from the science fiction and fantasy community, and he never forgot to pay it forward.  He mentored many writers early in their careers. He taught at writing workshops, spoke on panels at conventions and helped to open doors for promising new writers.

      In 2008, Jay was diagnosed with colon cancer. Using his mighty writing talent and broad audience, he met the specter of cancer head on and sought to demystify it by blogging openly and honestly about his journey through traditional chemotherapy, experimental immunotherapy treatments at the National Cancer Institute and the emotional and psychological impact of facing a terminal diagnosis. Through crowdfunding, Jay raised money to have his entire genome sequenced and made it available in the hopes that future cancer treatments might be found to help other patients.    Lakeside, a Waterloo Productions documentary, followed Jay’s battle with cancer and is set to release in 2014.

      Jay’s survivors include his daughter, Bronwyn Lake; wife Susan Lake, partner and caregiver Lisa Costello; mother Sarah Bryant; father Joseph Lake; step-mother Jo Ann Kessler Lake; brother Michael Allen Lake and his wife Ksenia Lake; sister Mary Elizabeth Lake and her daughter Delaney Otteman;  and a legion of  family and friends.

The memorial service will be private.  Later this year there will be a public celebration of his life.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations in his honor may be made to: 

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
P.O. Box 5703
Portland, Oregon 97228


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