'Oh Wow': Steve Jobs' Last Words

Mona Simpson remembers her brother as a man who loved beauty, art, and family

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 31, 2011 3:48 AM CDT | Updated Nov 5, 2011 7:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW." Those were Steve Jobs' final words, spoken as he looked at his family just hours before he died on Oct. 5, recalled his sister Mona Simpson in the eulogy she gave at his Oct. 16 memorial service, as published by the New York Times. Even in dying, Jobs displayed his "capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later," writes Simpson. His breathing slowed and he could no longer wake up, but still she could feel him pushing, setting goals, even if those goals were now just another few minutes of life.

"What I learned from my brother’s death was that character is essential: What he was, was how he died," says Simpson, who only met her brother, who had been given up for adoption at birth, when she was 25. She says that Jobs was always a hard worker, obsessed not with novelty, trends, or success, but beauty, art, and love. "In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic," she says. Her remembrance is peppered with moments free of airs: Steve picking her up from the airport in jeans, dinners "served on the grass," which "sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb." Click to read her entire eulogy.

Mona Simpson remembers her brother, Apple founder Steve Jobs.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Steve Jobs waves to his audience at an Apple event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco in March this year.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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What amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away. - Mona Simpson

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