In Memoriam: Todd Brooks

Update: A memorial service for Todd will be held at 10:00 am. on Wednesday, February 28th, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in San Mateo. 

Venture capitalist Todd Brooks has died from an apparent suicide attempt. He was 46 years old, and leaves behind wife Marilee and three young children.

An online forum has been set up for friends and colleagues to communicate with – and to help — the Brooks family during this difficult time. The site also is expected to provide memorial service information, once it has been finalized.

Brooks began his career as a senior equity research analyst with Franklin Templeton Funds, where he covered the communications equipment sector. He then moved on to JAFCO America Ventures (since renamed Globespan Venture Partners), to serve as a managing principal and back such companies as Brocade Communications.

Brooks later joined Mayfield Fund in 1998, before leaving in 2003 due to “differences in investment philosophy and over the direction of the firm.”

Two years later, Brooks teamed up with fellow ex-Mayfielder Peter Levine to form a new VC shop tentatively named BLX Partners. They set out to raise a $200 million fund, and were well on their way until Levine unexpectedly pulled out to accept a CEO role with open-source startup Xensource.

At the time, Brooks said: “I remain passionate and focused on the fund formation process and continue my discussions with several potential investment professionals who have been under consideration as team members throughout the fund-raising process.”

As of last August, he was reported to have been doing some informal recruiting, and also to have discussed some sort of partnership arrangement with Worldview co-founder James Wei. We had not reported on his activities since.

According to the Marin County Coroner’s Office, Brooks was witnessed jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge at 10:23 p.m. on Thursday night, but he was not discovered until 2:58 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

News of Brooks’ passing has been met with both shock and sadness by former friends and colleagues. BitGravity CEO Perry Wu wrote in a mass email that Brooks was a “terrific friend to many of us,” but that most were unaware that he had “long suffered from depression.”

On a personal note: I met Todd only once in passing at an industry event, but had spoken to him about half a dozen time in the course of my work (part of which included covering his departure from Mayfield). He was a straight-talker who would take the time to help a layman like me understand the arcane intricacies of his latest optical networking investment. This really is a damn shame.

2/20 Update: Let me also emphatically state that this is not an act of cowardice, as some peHUB readers have cruelly suggested in their comments below. It was apparently the result of a mental illness, which is very real and has debilitating effects that most of us will thankfully never experience. The notion that someone with severe depression is capable of making “rational” decisions is to reject the science, and to publicly suggest otherwise at this time is to reject common decency.

Men have long been believed to suffer depression at lower rates than do women, but the reality is that they simply have had different symptoms. Sadly, this also is one cause for why men are four times more likely than are women to commit suicide. For more information on men and depression, please read the latest Newsweek cover story.

And please keep the Brooks family in your prayers…

 

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75 Comments

  • i can’t believe it. todd was such a great guy. is there any memorial info yet?

  • An amazing talent and a good guy.

  • a tragedy. a very good guy who will be missed.

  • Killed himself, leaving behind a wife and 3 young kids? What a coward.

  • Todd, you will be dearly missed. But as an old friend I will always remeber you as RealMoney, one of my fave posters.

  • Todd was a great guy.
    Depression is a dangerous and serious disease; I am sorry his friends did not know about it.
    My deepest sympathy to the family.

  • Todd was a wonderful person, and cared for many. He always saw great things in people, and it is unfortunate that his disease did not allow him to see the same in himself, for that brief weak moment, that he saw in others.

    It is also too bad that people like “Steven” from the post above is too naive to see that depression is a serious problem that our world is seeing in larger numbers…

    Todd we will miss you and always remember your happiness that you gave onto others….I will truly miss a good man, and a wonderful father who did care deeply for his family very very much.

  • I totally agree with Stevens earlier comment

  • All,
    I have been asked by some readers if I would consider removing Steve’s post, and have given it a lot of thought. For now I am keeping it up, as am staunchly against censoring this section. That said, I ask peHUB readers to be respectful and — above all — decent. If you cannot be, I ask that you simply say nothing. This is not a question of a bad deal or other business-related folly. This is about a man’s life, and that of his grieving family.

    For those who are interested in issues of men’s depression — which is very real and debiliating, please read the latest Newsweek cover story at http://www.newsweek.com.

  • I served on a board with Todd during the height of the bubble. He had terrific enthusiasm and I learned a great deal from him. He stood in support of this particular company despite the implosion of the telecom world, and it didn’t seem to deflect his spirit. His energy was palpable, and for that and more he will be missed. He and his family are in my prayers.

  • Depression finds you, you don’t find it. It rises and leaves when it wants to rise and leave. It can return suddenly and unannounced.

    Any reputable psychiatric MD will tell you that there are no two depressions alike. Moreover, the combination of treatments available, though they have science behind them, are hit and miss at best.

    To Steve, who said in judgement that Todd was a coward — may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Todd Brooks was a terrific person and his death reminds us all of the how vulnerable we are to the daily pressures of life. I applaud Dan Primack editorial comments in today’s PE Week Wire (2.20.07)regarding the mental illness and encourage him to add it to this PEHUB story. In the meantime, my deepest sympathies for the Brooks family.

  • Steven and Ken – Grow up. And since you’ve both got such a strong aversion to cowardice…practice what you preach…throw your full names up there. You should both be thankful for being so blessed in life…that’s the only explanation I can find for such petty, innapropriate comments. Do everyone a favor and take a break from contributing until you gain a little life experience.
    -Jack Herbert

  • I am completely confounded by comments from Ken and Steven who think suicide is an act of cowardice. Clearly, these folks have not learned anything about the impact of mental disease. I hope that they can learn empathy for others in what remians of their own sad and pathetic lives.

  • Jack Herbert – he took the easy way out depriving his family of a husband and a father.

  • I met Todd and James Wei when they were at Jafco in 1995 time frame; I suggested they look at Ciena as a potential investment, because optical networking (there was very little then) was about to take off. Ciena was one of their great success stories for Jafco. Todd always showed interest in network infrastructure opportunities. As for his depression, I never saw it, but it is a terrible burden to bear through life, for yourself and for those who love you.

  • Ken–if you had any cosideration for this man’s family, you would have kept your opinion and your gratuitous comment private. Suicide is usually not a coward’s way out, but in their own reasoning system is seen as the only way out. Failed suicides almost always are amazed that they attempted the act and cannot even contemplate a second attempt. We have much to learn about this act, but needlessly hurting this man’s family advances no cause but your desire to appear superior to someone else.

  • Ken (who still practices the cowardice he accuses others of–still no full name posted) and Steven (ditto),
    I have rarely seen such ignorance let alone such disregard for the feelings of others. How do you think your comments make his survivors feel? Of course, you hit and run and don’t even take credit for your utter rudeness. I can only imagine what others will have to say about you when you are gone–given your propensity for sensitivity and compassion. Smugness is so unappealing. It must be hell to be perfect. Good luck to you. You’re gonna need it. Frankly, it is a shame that space has been wasted on your comments. Perhaps we should ignore you and you’ll go away.

    Much more importantly, Todd Brooks was a really great guy. He has left a void in our community and will be missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

  • I had the good fortune of knowing Todd, thought not well. I have the bad fortune of being a survivor of my mother’s suicide, which has led me to become involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, of which I am now vice chairman. Perhaps like Todd, my mother battled her depression for many years before ultimately succumbing. For those interested in understanding the real facts and real science about suicide, or how to provide comfort and support to survivors of suicide, I would encourage you to visit their website at http://www.afsp.org

  • I can’t believe it. Very sad.

  • While I did not have the pleasure of knowing Todd, I am all too familiar with the devastation of depression. Maybe Ken & Steven have been affected by suicide in their own life,and this is their cowardly way of coping… or maybe they are just that ignorant!
    My deepest sympathy to the family.

  • Very sad news, my thoughts and prayers are with Todd and his family. May he find everlasting peace and may his family find the courage to live a rich full life remembering the joyful times with him.

  • depression often misunderstood,my sympathy to the family

  • Very Sad. May God wrap his arms around Todd’s wife and children. Its completely unamaginable to me. I wish them all well. Prayers.

  • This is a very sad event indeed. Ken and Steve’s comments show the lack of understanding towards this horrible disease.

    I didn’t personally know Todd, but regret the loss of his life, am saddened that he couldn’t find help in time and send his family my condolences.

  • Todd Brooks was a good man – a dedicated husband and father and a straight talking and honest investor who stood solidly with the companies he backed. His loss is mourned grievously by those who worked with him as well as those who know and love his family. Our prayers go out to Marilee and the kids.

  • Todd will be missed. He was a great human being and a terrific Venture Capitalist.

    He backed us at Brocade Communications, then co-invested in CDS. He was my sponsor/mentor while I was an EIR at Mayfield.

    He was truly a loyal friend, and will be missed.

    Our prayers go out to his family who have a huge void to fill. He loved his family and spoke passionately about them always.

    A sad day for the VC Community and your compassion is appreciated.

    Roy Thiele-Sardiña

  • This is indeed a sad day for us all. Todd was a terrific guy and a strong and loyal friend to many. He was a passionate advocate of the entrepreneur and a remarkably successful investor.

    As an industry, we have lost someone special in Todd. Todd was in the process of building a new firm and genuinely wanted to improve and reinvent venture. He wanted to start a new firm to better serve LPs and entrepreneurs. Our industry was stronger with Todd pushing this agenda.

    As a friend, I won’t soon forget his hearty laughter. I will miss him dearly.

    My deepest sympathies to his family.

    Jon Callaghan

  • 25-2 Thanks to all who took the time to write your thoughts on Mr. Brooks and his family. It is a relief to know that there are far more decent people outweighing the 2 idiots and their comments. My sincere condolences to Mr. Brooks family, friends and to all who knew him.

  • Todd Brooks was a passionate, articulate, intelligent, caring individual. As the former Mayfield marketing partner,I knew Todd well and worked with him the entire time he was at Mayfield. He was outspoken, and cared deeply about his work and family. To suggest he was in any way a coward is to not understand his personal situation nor his family’s grief. Todd will be sorely missed by all of his professional colleagues and many, many friends.

  • Todd was a friend whom I enjoyed just hanging out with.

    I will miss him but I do feel that he has found the peace in the afterlife that he couldn’t have during his time on earth.

    Todd’s battle with depression was long and very difficult but I know that he faced it head on. Todd did as much as he possibly could to overcome this terrible disease but ultimately the depression took him from us.

    Rest In Peace my good Friend.

  • I was shocked by the news and have heart-felt sympathy for his wife and kids. As everyone else feels, I wish I could have done something personally to help out before such a tragedy took place. The best thing that we can all do now is to make a donation, in memory of Todd, to what ever organization that you think will do the most good in preventing this kind of thing from happening to others (www.afsp.org is my choice). Todd will be sorely missed.

  • Todd was a warm, generous, enthusiastic and smart person. In business conversations, before launching into interesting and insightful back-and-forths, he always carved out time to ask how you were and what you were up to – and he was sincere about asking. He had accomplished so much to be proud of. He loved and appreciated his friends and family, adn vice versa. That this depression could take him to a place where suicide appeared to be the right thing to do is a true, deep tragedy. It is a disease that diminishes all of all of our lives by taking him.

  • I worked with Todd at JAFCO America Ventures and have known him socially after he left JAFCO to Mayfield. Todd was a class act. He knew optical networking deeply and was influential in creating such world class companies such as Avanex, Brocade, Monterey Networks and Qtera.

    He was an upbeat, high energy guy who had this amazing deep laugh that was very infectious. As a young guy in the business trying to learn stuff, I have always aspired to be like Todd. In addition to being smart, talented, etc. he was always empathetic to entrepreneurs. He took his job seriously but never himself.

    I will miss him and our industry will miss a wonderful and talented investor who embodied all that is good in early stage investing.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Marilee and the children.

    Venky

  • Todd was an incredible person who had a deep and lasting impact on his friends and colleagues. He was sincere, big-hearted, and enthusiastic. He was a good friend of mine who I will miss very much. Those who saw him support his communications companies when they went out of favor know the depth of his convictions and his courage.

    Todd Hewlin

  • What a tragedy! My deepest sympathies to his family.

    I met Todd when he was at Mayfield, and he struck me as an energetic and buoyant person with a zest for life.

    He was in his prime, sad…

  • While I did not know Todd well I certainly feel for his immediate family and friends. Having lost my older brother to suicide when I was 13 years old I can tell you first hand how devastating it is on family life. Nearly thirty years later my family members are still dealing with depressions and its effects on day-to-day life.

    Even with all the advancements in treatment and therapy it is still, in many ways, more of an “art” than a “science” when it comes to understanding and treating depression. Ken and Steven’s comments are clearly misdirected, perhaps due to their lack of knowledge. May God bless the Brooks family with love, support friendship in the years ahead.

  • Todd and I served on a board together, so I knew him professionally rather than personally. He was a thoughtful man of high integrity. The tragedy of depression followed by suicide has struck many in this community twice in the last couple of years. To have so many friends yet feel so alone is the greatest tragedy of all. Peace be with you, Todd.

  • Todd’s passing is a sad state for all of those who kmew him. I will always remember our once a week cocktail hour at Il Fornaio before heading home to our families. This was a special time to socialize and exchange funny stories. Todd was a gentlemen in every regard and his memmory should remind us of the importance of our family and friends. On his behalf, go sailing, play more golf and enjoy your kids.

  • May his family see better days…& just one note that i recently saw on cable a docudrama made in coopperation with the authoritys @ the golden gate bridge in sf ca…where they set up cameras that filmed 24/7 for an entire year…& it was amazing how many hundreds of apparently normal peoples from normal walks of life for one sad reason or another…with apparently no signs or symtoms of any negativity or depression just quietly & quickly got themselves onto the bridge & suddenly jumped…& that it got to a point in the docudrama that the next person you walked by & just greeted with a smily face could just leap over the railings so fast & plung themselves into the watery abysses…& that they discovered that when after being able to try & infact save numerous lost souls…that it just could of been a simple case of somebody close to them in thier lives who either betrayed them & or a deep feeling of hopelessness in a biz enviroment, while others like family or friends or coworkers exelled…so what i got from that was that we all should take the extra few moments in time to be extra nice to anyone & everyone excluding no-one because you never know when what you might have said or done & might have not said & done could have made a huge difference in someones delicate life for whatever reasons…& the cost of being nice & saying a simple goodmorning , goodnight in a warm caring way co$t nothing & is absolutly free & again can make a world of diffrence…especially to somebody having a very ruff day in the marketplace & i am sure we have our share of heavy days…wheather it is loosing a dea! a million U$D or a close someone…or all of the above in a single day is enough…& one other thing…we really take everything for granted until usally it is to late to realize it i.e. being able to get up refreshed & healthy…in a first world eviroment type society…with just the basics of utilitys plumbing, heating, ac, a kitchen…just think about how a person in the hospital or homeless must be feeling & you should be able to realize how grateful we must all be…even though most of us has worked very hard to just to hold on to it & survive in the rea! world…because again by the time we usally realize these very important issues it is because it is to late…it does not cost anything to make everyday thanksgiving day…without feeling weird…because all you have to do is just think about putting yourself in a thirdworld situation without a crackberry for one instant…& then, just maybe,you could then just imagine…how it would feel like…let us all put our heart & souls of the burk family in our own little simple prayers before you retire & arise this week…shalom & bless the usa…

  • oops…i was waiting to say it , last but not least…but pushed the submit button to quickly…that i just want to take the opportunity here, to personally thank you very much daniel.primack@thomson.com for everything that he has already done good in the past years & is doing good right now & will be doing good into the forseeable future on behalf of my flock & groups of wall streeters & other hu$tling like index & equity trading analysts & cross-marketmakers…& that i have been one of the many locals, thats been monitoring everything i.e. timely “heard it on the street” news-data, that daniel has blessed us all with…since virtually day one & how much i really appreciate it & as well, let int’l others, less informed, how much i do…goodevening

  • I did not know Todd and what I do know about him comes from this blog. He clearly was held in the highest respect by many who knew him and the comments reveal a level of esteem earned by all too few of this world’s inhabitants. From that I hope his family gains a measure of peace and solace.
    To my knowledge I do not know either of Steven or Ken, but I now know all I need to know about them and I hope that his family never encounters their thoughts.

  • I knew and worked with Todd for many years, largely as a member of the boards of several companies in which Mayfield had invested. He was always pragmatic, thoughtful, passionate and upbeat. His loss is a tragedy for his friends and his family. I will honor and remember him as a real leader in the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

  • Friends can post messages for Todd’s wife, Marilee, on the website that was set up by family friends (see link at top of this article). She has taken comfort from reading the many kind comments already submitted. I would also encourage people to contribute to the “memory book” described in this site. Given that Todd’s kids are so young, this book may someday be an important way for them to learn more about their father and how he touched the lives of so many people in a positive way.

    I’ve known Todd professionally and personally for twelve years, but only since his death did I learn that he’d been taking medication and undergoing treatment for depression. I always found him to be fun, smart, kind, compassionate, and a person of the highest possible character. He brought humanity to a business where people achieve great success by making dispassionate decisions, frequently with little regard for their human impact.

    Todd, perhaps this wasn’t a good business for someone like you, but I’d like to think that it’s the rest of us who should rethink the way we do things. Rest in peace, my friend.

  • Todd had the reputation of being a ethical and respectable business man. Although I did not have the privilege of knowing him, I wish I could have helped in some way. The news really hits hard when you hear of such loss. I wish Todd the peace that he so deserves and the strenghth for his family and friends in the days ahead.

    For all those working in Venture Capital, I hope we come to appreciate the most important thing in life….our families. It is never to late to hug and tell someone you love them. Please all, make time for your families as you do for business.

    With highest respects, LS

  • My heart goes out to Todd’s wife and children and to all others who knew him well. It is a tremendous tragedy to lose someone so young, talented and compassionate. Todd, you will be missed!

  • I got to know Todd over the past couple of years and enjoyed his company immensely. He was a very kind man who put his family above all else. In fact, he turned down a few very compelling professional opportunities over the past couple of years to support Marilee and the recent arrival of the twins. He was also a uniquely talented investor with a great passion for helping entrepreneurs make their dreams come true. He is a role model to many of us who are now growing up in this industry and he will be sorely missed. I send my deepest condolences to Marilee and the children – you are in my thoughts and I hope you can take peace in the fact that your husband/father is a sincerely respected and admired man.

  • I worked with Todd years ago at Franklin Templeton. We had a lot of laughs, and I found him to be such a gentle man. Years later, to my delight,Todd and Marilee joined our small school community. I have been so touched by his devotion to his wife and their family. I always looked forward to seeing him in the morning at school drop off…
    I am still coming to grips with the loss, with the tragedy of it all and will miss him and his infectious smile.
    Vickie

  • Todd was a true human being with genuine respect for every person in his life. Learning that he touched so many lives while carrying the burden of this dark and real desease called depression, makes him an extra ordinary person I had the pleasure of knowing, as short lived as it was. I will always remember Todd.

  • Todd was a great man and a good investor. He is missed by both his colleagues in the VC world and the entrepreneurs he worked with. My best wishes and prayers to his family.
    - Stu Phillips

  • I believe that Todd’s pain was so great, that only in death could he escape it. Everyday that he persevered amidst unimaginable pain required bravery beyond the comprehension of those who have never suffered from this terrible illness. My hope is that his family has no regrets – only a deep and comforting sense of pride in his life here on earth.

  • My most sincere condolences to his family. I had many good conversations with Todd, and he constantly affirmed his love for them. I am deeply grieved that depression has the capacity to resolve itself in such a profoundly sad finality. My prayers are that those who are able to see will understand, and that those who are afraid will find comfort amidst the apparent futility.

  • We will miss him. We only recently met him and discovered he was actually a long lost cousin from our Texas side of the family. We are so grateful to have known him over the past 10 months since we met, and we saw him 15 different times. He loved his family so, and treasured his wife and children.

  • Our family is devastated to hear of this catastrophic loss. The Brooks family have taken terrific time to celebrate their community and friends. We are so blessed to have known them briefly and been inspired by their detication and family values. We pray for your peace and know he shines on you all every moment.

  • We coinvested with Todd. I liked him a lot. He was straight up, thoughtful, considerate, always looking for ways to help. What a terrible shame.

  • To the Brooks family
    Our prayers are with you at this very sad, sad time. I saw Todd at a holiday party in December and recall that he was still passionate and energetic about his venture capital endeavors. He was always very helpful to me as an entrepreneur during our fundraising projects.
    We will miss him. Our condolences to the entire Brooks family.
    marilyn suey and steve diamond

  • I counted Todd Brooks as a friend and I am so very fortunate that he let me into his life. We should all strive to be as kind, gracious, and considerate as Todd Brooks. He will always be an inspiration to me.

  • Dear Todd,

    I will always be grateful for the kindness you showed to everyone in all situations. It never mattered what the person’s status or calling. You have truly been an example for me and many others.

    I will never forget how intensely you worked to master some of the technologies we discussed while I was at RHK. We always enjoyed seeing you.

    To Allison,
    Todd spoke often of your relationship and I can tell you how very proud he was of you and how much he treasured you.

    To you and your whole family please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • To me, Todd was one of the most generous individuals in the VC world. He always had the time to chat and offer his guidance whenever asked.

    I extend my deepest sympathy to the Brooks family.

    Art Klein

  • Todd was so full of life so passionate…….weather it was chatting about technology, sailing, eating sushi, taking Grant fishing, taking a stroll around the block with the family; I am having a very difficult time knowing that I won’t see him around. Todd you will be deeply missed.

  • My background with Todd does not come from the business world, but I knew him to be a good man and he is and shall be missed.

    I could go on for pages on the topic of depression and mental illness, but this is now all in the past for Todd, so the best we can all do is to remember him (and to cherish our memories) and to continue moving forward. I know that this is what Todd would want.

    Todd, you will be missed, but your memory will live on.

  • I respected Todd for his honesty and straight forward style and will remember standing next to him and his family as our sons played soccer against each other. I am profoundly shaken and wish his family solace. As a neighbor and a member of the St. Matthews School Community we will embrace his family as our own. Todd you will be missed by many you stood out in this world. God bless your soul.

  • I am so sad by this. Todd was a wonderful person. I knew him mostly professionally, served on a few Boards with him. I have run into him in town and at the airport a few times recently and each time he has asked me to give him a call….and sadly, I never did. I never did because, like him, I too was/am silently and anonymously suffering from depression – and the thought of calling him to talk about deals or to have to act once again like everything was ok or to have to keep up the charade of just another successful investor, was always too hard. For those that can only read about depression, take it from me, depression creates such a profound sense of self-worthlessness and shame, in a world of strength/success and over achievement, that silence, isolation and pretend are the only options, and they only suffice for so long, unfortunately. I too have struggled with this for so long – silently. I can count on one hand the number of people that I have let in on my secret. I recently started a new medication, which for the 1st time in over 10 years has given me hope. It is only now that I am starting to feel like I can share this with others – the grip of shame and self hate is not now quite as strong – yet, am I ready to put my name on this note…. We need to be able to talk about our warts, our problems, our weaknesses – we all have them. But God-forbid we let it out that we are not perfect, that we are not the best at everything, that we don’t have all the answers, that we actually are not sure if that last investment really made sense – instead we just pound our chests harder everytime and hope that our secrets never get out. What if we all lived in a world where men were taught from the beginning that it was ok to feel, that it was ok to share, that it was ok to have faults, that all of us are far from perfect. What if Todd and I had a free dialog over the years about our problems, our treatment, our fears….What if I had called Todd back and when he asked me how things were I answered with truth instead of bravado. I am sorry to admit that I think I know the answer to these questions. I am sorry Todd that I wasn’t there for you or the Brooks’ family. Please know that Todd did not do this to hurt anyone any more – quite the opposite. He knows what a burden his illness has been to his whole family, as do I. Living with a depressed person is not like living with the terminally ill. The depressed person walks and talks and can act just like the healthy person he once was – but despite those glimmers of the Todd that once was, he was sick. Unlike with cancer where they patient is clearly sick and the family can grieve with the sick and help, if the sick gets grumpy or out of character, you can blame it on the cancer or the treatment, but with depression it is so different. The depressed appears by most standards ok and that grumpiness, or acting out of character, or his wanting to be alone or not go to the kid’s school event yet again, or not calling that friend that you keep running into; to the wife, the family or friends this all just seems wrong or mean – but again he was sick, just as sick as the guy with cancer. Todd was sick and his sick mind convinced him in a very real way that what he was to do, the ultimate sacrifice, was the best thing he could possibly do for his family and for us all. He was not a coward, he was sick. I am so sorry for him, his wife and children. Maybe someday I will have the strength to talk with them directly.

  • In NYC, there will be a suicide awareness walk held in June that my wife and I are participating in. Although we did not know him, Todd will be in our thoughts. Here is the website for anyone who may be interested.

    http://www.theovernight.org/

  • Back in 1988, is when I first met Todd. One of my roommates was dating Todd while they were grad students at Berkeley. And, they later went on to wed.

    Todd was then who he was now – charming, bright, gregarious, tenacious, and kind. And even back then, he suffered from depression.

    To those who have posted critical comments here, you obviously have never suffered from depression nor lived with family members who have suffered and chosen suicide as their last option.

    Being a woman who has suffered from depression & having come from a family with a history of depression & suicide, I can tell you it is a painful, horrible disease often with no visible outward signs.

    What people don’t realize is that it is easy to hide your battles and that often drugs & counseling don’t help. In the end, you feel you have no other choice but to end your misery because you are unworthy.

    I hope that the tragic loss of Todd in our lives, will help others who are struggling in silence to know that there are other options and to reach out. We all care.

  • I would like to commend Dan for his clarification on the devastating role that depression can play. About twenty-eight years ago I left my marriage, two young children, and decided not to continue in setting up a hedge fund upon returning from the east coast. Little did I know that I defined myself by being a father and provider, and yet in “my mind” I had blown up those identities. Fortunately through support and medication, I am still here to share the above. I have a wonderful second marriage and now my two offspring are in their early 30′s.

    Though I never knew Todd, I can relate to the despair, over which he had little control, that he no doubt experienced. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and three children.

  • Having read the many beautifully worded, warmly caring and supportive (OK, minus 2)thoughts in all of the comments thus far, I find myself re-evaluating online communication. I’ve been one who says computer dialog/monologue lacks a personal sense: abbreviated, often sent in haste (and, just as frequently, regretted later), distancing. Give me a handwritten note or a phone call any day. What a joy to read your comments and be proven very wrong! Thank you all for helping me see the power in immediacy–the chance to reach out and embrace someone while you’re juggling your own ToDo list and, most importantly, to do it in a compassionate, loving way. You’ve melded technology (mind) with humanity (heart) and provided support and caring concern for someone who needs exactly that . . . and NOW.
    Thanks, too, to those who lent further understanding to the very real illness of depression. The more we know, the better we can learn how to deal with it.
    I now know Todd better because of the personal reflections you all shared. And I’ve added a new dimension to the word “community.”
    My thoughts surround you and your family, Marilee. As you can see by the long list of comments, you are loved and cared for.
    Peace to all . . .

  • Todd was a special person; I feel fortunate to have spent time with him in recent years as we pondered our industry and our paths. Todd always aspired to a very high and uncompromising standard in his own professional life and influenced those around him to do the same. He was smart, insightful, driven, and always took time for his friends. I will miss him deeply.

  • Who does depression hurt? Everyone.

  • I have known Todd for 20 years. He was always someone who I looked up to. He was smart, caring, gregarious, and a responsible husband and father. My kids always looked forward to being around him. What is most disturbing is that he could be gone in an instant under these circumstances. It is like suddenly discovering that a solid foundation is nothing more than sand. I know Todd would want to still be here with us. I believe he would still be here if there was a suicide barrier on the bridge to prevent a temporary impulse from becoming a permanent tragedy. Please visit the Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Task Force website and help make this happen.

    http://www.pfnc.org/bridge/index.aspx

  • Instead of spending his few precious free hours flashing his wealth and success, Todd (and others) spent an inordinate amount of time setting up the Mayfield Fellows Program – to help promote entrepreneurship and mentor graduate MBA and engineering students as they prepare for the next phase in their careers and lives. This is how I met Todd as he volunteered to be my mentor for the last five years. I doubt I could have achieved my own goals with out his guidance and support.

    My own life had become very busy over the past year with a new promotion and the birth of our first child, and as a result Todd and I had lost contact. Lucky I have a selective memory and choose to make my last memory of him when we was playing bocce ball with his son at a Napa Valley outing in the fading light of the evening sun.

    I pray with all the strength I can muster that I too can give back like Todd did when everyone else seems bent on taking what ever isn’t nailed down. Marilee – please know that Todd will be remember for his generosity that is all too rare in the world.

  • There have been many attacks of the cowardly comment, and rightfully so. The easiset way for the author to realize the flaw in his reasoning may be to close his eyes, go there, and imagine how scarey it would be to actaully jump. esp with dependants and people you know need you. in his frame of reference, it must have required great strength, courage, and certainty in some strange sad way. Depression changes your solution set to problems, and he must have felt it was something he had to do, for everyones good. thats the todd i knew — strong, commited to good, and willing to shoulder a burden. i am devastated i cant offer him support and get him back. lets all look around and make sure no others in our field of VC view have any signs of this and reach out to help earlier.

  • I have had the privilege of knowing Todd since he was in chemical engineering graduate school, through his MBA, through our paths crossing in the telecom world and through many life events. Todd was the nicest, kindest, funniest person that one could ever hope to know. He cared deeply about others but he cared most deeply for his wife and kids. This was a man who always found the best solution for the world at large, unfortunately, his illness probably led him to believe that he was doing the best thing possible for his family. He will be greatly missed in the world as he made it a better place to live.

  • Todd and I never worked together but we did spend time looking at several deals together, we skied together and talked from time to time about our industry and our neighborhood. He was a really good guy – honest, direct, and pragmatic – and he clearly cared a great deal about his business and the entrepreneurs and others he worked with. I always enjoyed talking with him. I am very, very sorry for his family and especially for his children, who’ve lost a kind, generous and gentle father.

    This is a tragedy for everyone who knew him and a reminder that depression is easily masked from most people, especially by someone as personable and resourceful as Todd was.

  • Todd was a wonderful man. He will be missed. I had the great fortune to work with him during my time at Mayfield and he always put a smile on my face. Depression is a horrible desease and it hits our love ones when we least expect it. We’re left behind with questions and will never have answers. All we can do is pray for his soul and for his family. Believe in our hearts that he is now in a better place and that he is no longer suffering from this terrible desease that we have yet to find a cure for.

    We love you Todd. May you rest in peace!

    Elizabeth

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