A Tribute to Jess Cruz

by Dr. Lourdes R. Montinola ©

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, FEU

(Editor’s Note: This piece was read by VPAA Elizabeth P.  Melchor at the necrological service, FEU University Chapel, 8 June 2005.)

Dear Jess. The last time I saw him was at the Cultural Center to attend a concert—I don’t remember which one for no matter how sick he was, inevitably I would see him there. And no matter how far Las Pinas church was, I would bump into him there too, religiously following the Bamboo Organ Festival. Mondays, he would have a review of what he heard or saw, and I used to play a game with myself comparing my reactions to his. I was always amazed at his knowledge and appreciation of music and the arts, and his ability to critique beautifully. 

Jess was the last of the outstanding professors of literature and the humanities at FEU—many times voted the best teacher by a host of students whom he cared for personally. With him around, we had hoped that the interest in literature at FEU could be revived. 

Strangely he was in my thoughts the night before I learned that he died. I was listening to a Philharmonic Concert at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York. The pieces were mostly modern, although there was a Cello Concerto by Barber. The sounds that arose were strange, and sometimes frightening, with unusual instruments, including a cymbalon. I was thinking of how Jess would describe them, and how elated he would have been to be there that evening with a wonderful conductor and orchestra. 

I hope that Paradise and Heaven will be for him a cultural feast, with the sounds of beautiful words he created. We shall miss him. ©

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