On Friday, March 23rd, Vernon Adams was admitted to St. Joseph’s Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California.
Vern and I spent most of the day chatting about the joys of his life, his boy Maki, his baby girl Justine and his beautiful wife Allison.
After everyone was dropped off at school and situated he headed over to the warehouse. We were meeting there to prepare our very first order of clear craft stamps. After perfecting this little shipment we decided to meet up again around 6 p.m. to head out and ride mountain bikes in the hills of San Clemente.
We rode…well…we walked up many hills and rode quickly through the downhill sections. When we made it to the top of the ridge we hung around for a few minutes. Our attention was drawn back to our families. I asked Vern what was going on at his house. He said Allie had gone for a walk, Maki was playing some video games and Justine had been robbed of her movie in the process.
He was very relaxed and seemed fulfilled. It was Friday before a long weekend.
We loaded the bikes in the van and returned to my house. Vern had a coke while I made an egg burrito. Shortly after he hopped on his prized Vespa and sputtered off into the sunset.
Around 8:30 p.m. Vern had made it from Capo Beach down to south San Clemente. He was about 2 blocks away from his loving home when a driver pulled out in front of him. According to police reports he didn’t have time to hit his brakes, there were no skid marks at the scene.
Shortly after he was picked up by an ambulance and delivered to the hospital. The accident was apparently close to a local restaurant that was quite busy. As a result the phone calls flooded in immediately.
Vernon was treated immediately by a large team of surgeons. As day one bled into day two the team was able to stabilize his mind and body. He suffered a broken pelvis, femur, arm, jaw as well as a traumatic brain injury.
You may be wondering why we gravitated to the web name “Sans Oxygen”.
I spent a ton of time with Vern throughout the week proceeding the accident. We chatted about a few of his ongoing font projects and his future plans for them. The main font project was named Oxygen. I had begun using this font in our shared Google docs. I jokingly remarked at one point that if he was going to share a document with me it better be in his Oxygen font or I wouldn’t read it. After using this font I actually felt like my eyes could breathe easier while reading. His attention to detail and precision with his font work always amazed me.
In the font world the word “Sans” is used a lot to describe different styles of type and it always comes after the font name, never before. It essentially means “without serifs”.
Immediately following the accident Vern was unable to breath on his own. Yet it is a miracle that he was never without the oxygen he so dearly needed. The medics arrived so quickly that they were able to breathe for him, providing the oxygen he could not get on his own. Upon arrival to the hospital and even up until 96 hours post accident his brain did not show any signs of oxygen deprivation.
The fact is that Vern’s Oxygen is his wife, his son, his daughter, his family, friends and…his art. He may be temporarily away from this vital fuel but they are with him.
As many of your know, Vern is a man of few (but very intentional) words. A few of the parallels struck me as quite apropos. Here are a few excerpts from his personal blog.
On November 7, 2013 Vern wrote…
Work on Oxygen has been many steps forward but even more steps back. Finally reaching the stage (close) where it’s possible to imagine the fonts functioning well for their intended purpose. The final stages will include a lot of super-tweaking, to get the fonts as pixel perfect as possible…
And again he alerted the world…
Oxygen Sans Progress – new release coming!
Breath deeply my friend, we’ll see you soon.
Chris Adams (friend of Ol’ Vern)