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Lex - In Memoriam

LEX In Memoriam


Goodbye to Lex

At 16:00 on Wednesday 1st February 2006, our good friend and OakTable colleague Lex De Haan passed away. After a long, determined and highly successful fight against his cancer, it finally became too widespread and painful to continue. Lex managed to outlive the best estimates from the doctors by about seven months, which in itself tells a story about Lex's character.

Lex was well known in the Oracle community, and was one of the founder members of the OakTable. His work on the SQL language standards committee and, in particular, three-valued logic, ranked Lex high in not just the Oracle world, but the SQL world in general. Despite his academic prowess, there was never any arrogance from Lex; he always made time to explain the finer points to lesser mortals, often delivered with his characteristic Dutch candidness.

Lex at the OakTable

After many years working for Oracle, Lex formed his own company, Natural Join, which will continue in Lex's absence under the expert eyes of Lex's widow, Juliette.


In his personal life, Lex was a skilled baritone singer, and was even singing in the hospital in his last days. He was also a fantastically skilled craftsman, building everything from intricate (and working) medieval instruments to miniature oak tables, now the symbol of the OakTable Network. Cary Millsap has volunteered to take on this responsibility moving forward.

Party Garden
Mogens+Lex Fired
Curry Class

 Bjørn Engsig, an OakTable member, wrote this poem:

Three valued logic and SQL and stuff
To Lex de Haan it was not enough
He fought so brave to make it all
Knowing exactly the final call

From Life itself, he had to resign
We pray he left us with peace in mind
A terrible loss, to all who were close
We pray for his family, who really knows

Goodbye to you Lex. Thank you for the times we shared, you will be missed.

bike beer
group laptop
meal necklace
lexmno niels

A note to the OakTable from Harald van Breederode

Dear Oak Table members,

Yesterday I spoke to Juliette regarding Lex's final days and she asked me to send a message to say goodbye in style as  Lex was responsible for proposing me as a member of the the Oak Table and I was a very close friend of his. It was 42 weeks ago that Lex was diagnosed cancer during a RAC course that we were Co-teaching in The Netherlands. The doctors diagnosed a terminal illness from which it was very unlikely that he would recover.

Despite the shock of this news and the impact on Lex's life and those of his dear family, Lex continued working, wrote a new book, spoke at user conferences and continued teaching because that was what he loved doing the most.

It was 42 days ago that Lex and I were teaching together for the last time, and it was 21 days ago that we held our last shared Prutser day which we concluded with the traditional Prutser Pizza dinner at Lex's own Oak Table joined by Juliette. And if I recall correctly he ordered pizza #42.

During the last 10 month there were three moments where I thought: This could be his last week, but each time Lex decided to continue for another 42 something.

( I am still struggling to define this 'something').

Although it was expected that Lex would die, the phone call that I got from Juliette last Sunday was totally unexpected. Lex wanted me to come to hospital to say goodbye. So I went, and sitting by his bedside I was told that he lost half of his sight and was thus half blind. Somehow Lex saw my mobility cane and wanted to explore it. I'll never forget his words about my cane after he touched every inch of it. He said: "This is a wonderful piece of modern technology and I would certainly get this model myself, but I dont need one because I dont share your handicap".  In the past we had had numerous discussions about my progression to blindness and his cancer. His opinion was that becoming blind was more serious than having cancer. Of course I disagreed but Lex insisted. So we agreed to disagree.

Juliette told me yesterday that Lex's last wish for me was that I should carry him, together with five other close friends as a pallbearer to his final resting place which I will of course be honoured to do.

She also told me that Lex said that I don't have to walk in front because that would be a bit difficult for me as a blind man.

I am sure Lex would have wanted 42 people carrying him, but even Lex wasn't tall enough for such a large coffin. So 42 divided by the number of days in a week is six and there will be six of us.

Of course his coffin is made out of solid Oak and I am sure it weighs  42 kilos.

Lex's final statement was: "I disagreed, I fought, but I had to give up".

As you already know, Lex died on 1-2-6, bringing an end to the tremendous amount of pain that he was suffering.

We all lost a great Prutser, and we all will miss him.

Goodbye Lex!




Messages For Lex

Twenty years ago I wouldn't have imagined even the existence of the wonderful people with whom my life has been adorned, from Holland and Sweden and Denmark and England and Iceland and Australia and New Zealand and Indiana and California and New York and Colorado and Michigan and...

While I mourn the idea that I'll ever lose any of my friends, it is inevitable that I will, just as it is inevitable that someday my friends will also lose me. As sad as I am about the situation at hand and the unwelcome implications that it brings to mind about our own endings, to think of all the incredible losses that I have avoided by meeting Lex and so many others of you makes me feel actually even more appreciative than sad.

Cary Millsap

There is very little one can say at a time like this, that will sound right or make any difference.

Except that I'm so very sorry.


Melanie Caffrey

Please say hello/goodbuy from us. I wish I was there myself to shake the hand of the great man one more time. I'm very saddened by the news as would anyone
who had met Lex

Please give our regards to Juliette as well. It must be very difficult for her. God bless!


Jose Marco

It is difficult news. And I was just two weeks ago trading emails with him.
I'm very saddened by this development. My heart is heavy right now.

Best regards,

Jonathan Gennick


you expressed it so well. I never know what to say in such situations by that's exactly what I was feeling without having the right words: My thoughts were with Lex all day and my heart is heavy.

Wolfgang Breitling

I too have difficulty expressing what I feel about this.
Lex's impact on me and I know many others was huge both professionally and personally.

Niall Litchfield

Lex will never die inside me.
In my heart he will be alive, tall & great!


I felt so sorry for him when I got this mail.
As I am religious I prayed for him yesterday and today.
Right now I can't express with words the feelings in my heart,
which is so sad and heavy since yesterday.

Jože Senegacnik

Godspeed Lex.

Graham Wood

Last year's Dallas SOS conference was the only opportunity I have had to meet Lex and now I will never get another. 

At least I did get to meet him and I did finish his SQL book.

Mark D Powell

This is very sad.

Kevin Closson

Goodbye old friend.

With a heavy heart I thank you for the fun times we've shared, for your wisdom, and for being such a damn good friend. I'll miss you.

James Morle

ukoug20051101 lex-xmas
nametag crosslegged
inthought lokingdown


Please convey my love and support to Lex and his family. I have been mulling over this for the past 24 hours and any which way I look at it, it just does not make any sense. Why do bad things happen to good people? A simple question for which we do not have any reasonable answers. But I do know that Lex has been fighting cancer for many months now and is probably best for him to just rest.

I have enjoyed my time with Lex during the couple of DB Forums and I consider it an honor to have known him. Please tell him (if this is not too late) that he will be missed.

With thoughts of reflection,


Please let him know how special he was! I will cherish the lunches and dinners
we shared at HOTSOS last year. Please play his favorite music for him and give him our love!

With a most heavy heart,

Carol Dacko

Lex had a great influence on me last year.  I was very leery of staying in someones house for a week (mostly a private person). 

I'm glad he talked me into it, I really enjoyed the time with him and Juliette.  It was shortly before he was diagnosed, I feel honored to have spent such a long time with him - so shortly before he knew.  It was a really good time.  He will be missed.

Tom Kyte

I can't express how sad I was to the news yesterday.  I had exchanged e-mails with Lex last month and he was looking forward to Hotsos and his Masterclass. I was looking at some of my pictures from UKOUG2005, Lex looking happy, doing something he enjoyed.  

Angela (my wife) also met Lex the year before. We also have fond memories.  I'm sure you've said hello on behalf of everyone already, but we are thinking about him.

David Kurtz

If it is not too late, please tell him that I will miss him. And please tell his family that I knew him as a kind, gentle, funny, sweet, intelligent man who always made me happy to be in his presence.

I would rant and rave that this is not fair but I have learned from past experience that "fair" is not a word to be used about life.

Rachel Carmichael

To be quite honest I cannot believe it is time for him to move onto other things. There was something about Lex that was instantly likeable - he showered before me when we had the shower rotation at your place for Johnathan's masterclass and he always left the room smelling nice - he was also very quick in there which amazed me. I had never spent too much time with Lex but I really did enjoy your conversations over how we can make Support a better place with training classes we never actually put together. I shall certainly miss him.

Stephan Haisley

I only met Lex a few times, but it was a genuine pleasure each time, and I'm lost in admiration for his achievements.  Mark said it well -- rest well, Lex...

Tim Gorman

I met Lex at your house on that memorable trip that changed my professional life. Lex had that "old-soul" way about him that brought a warm feeling every time I spoke to him. He was one of the few I could speak to without feeling totally stupid. I will remember all of you always.

Kevin Watt

There were tears on my cereal this morning as well as milk as I read it. It was good to hear that Lex was himself right to the end.I don't think I recall him ever having a bad word for anyone.

Graham Wood

I've been struggling with what to say since your first mail about Lex - and I fear that I don't have much to add to the many fine comments from all over the Oaktable.

I had the pleasure to work together with Lex on a couple of occasions with Oracle course ware and I always felt that Lex was one of the most competent SQL gurus that I've met over the years. Lex was the one asking me to describe the "throwaway" stuff for the trainers in Oracle teaching statement tuning classes.

I can still recall his bassy dutch voice.

Martin Berg

Lex has been my friend for many years; my children and wife who know him are saddened as I am.I will miss a great man.


Joel, Pam, Jodie and Julien Goodman

This is a terrible and shocking news. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Istvan Keller. Oracle

Lex introduced himself to me and my Tutor team members over 5 years ago and he was wonderful to work with and helped us 'push the envelope' with our product features. It was a sad time when Lex left Oracle. Now it is even sadder to hear this news. Please extend my deepest sympathies to his wife and daughters.

I wish them peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.

Emily Chorba. Oracle

Lex was somewhat a role model for me, being both on the very top in his professional expertise and the same time being so cool as well. That's not easy to achieve :)

I will leave an "e-card" to Oaktable website for him.

Tanel Põder

We had a silent moment yesterday at the saunaclub with a few guys who knew who Lex was. The finnish way, sitting naked outside in the dark.

Tuomas Pystynen

I feel fortunate to have met and spent time with such a great man.

Daniel Fink

"Lex and I only met infrequently, mainly because he lived in the Netherlands and I'm based in Australia, but whenever we got together it was just like we'd been talking the day before.Always smiling, always friendly, just a great guy. Sadly missed by all."

Pete Sharman 

I only met Lex on 2 occasions.

Once at the last DB Forum,and then again at Hotsos 2005.

I didn't know him well, but in the short time I did, he proved to be a good friend. He even tolerated a couple of dumb SQL questions from me, without ever considering that they were 'dumb' questions.

Nice memories of a good dinner with Lex and some friends at the III Forks during Hotsos 200.
(Carol was there)

I just wish we could have convinced him to have a steak instead of the flounder. :)

Carol, we should go there again, and keep a seat open for Lex.

Jared Still

We've lost a friend ...but got a lot of good memories in return. Lex 'did' the right thing. He was forced to it, but he quit at the top. I never forget how nervous I got when he was attending a presentation I would do. And how helpful his comments were, when I asked for his feedback. Wonderful. I learned a lot.

There is no more chance he can deteriorate my memories to him, can add bad memories to the good ones I have.
He will remain the wise, humorous, direct speaking friend I will always look up to (he was even taller than I am)
I'm grateful to be amidst the wonderful bunch of friends the Oaktable Network is.

I'm proud.
I'm sad.

Carel-Jan Engel

If you get a chance and I'm rather sure you won't, Lex will now personify 'missing values' to me. I know he'd appreciate that even if its inappropriate for the list.

Niall Litchfield

This morning, I heard the sad news that Lex has passed away. I wanted to pass on my condolences to you, and the rest of the Oakies, on the loss of a good friend.

I guess I never knew Lex that well, I only really met him on a small handful of occasions, but the news has hit me quite hard. I guess he was that sort of man. I can only guess what those who truly knew him are feeling right now.

I will remember with great warmth the first time I met him, sitting round the Oak table at your house, with friends, always lauguhng and talking -- and later our animated conversations over skype, his enthusiasm, intelligence and energy. It was truly an honour to get the chance to work with him and at least know him a little.

If you can, please pass on my condolences and best wishes to his family.



I still have a flashback of Lex giving his Null values presentation at UKOUG. He was so good at talking about something I have worked with half of my life, and still able come up with new insights. It is so sad Lex is not around anymore Or maybe he EXISTS. That three-value logic is too complicated Lex could figure it out.

Tuomas Pystynen

If you think of it, please pass along my sympathies to Lex's family. I didn't know them, but I did think a lot of Lex and enjoyed working with him.

Jill Hancock

This is extremely sad news. I have known Lex for many years. He has been a very thoughtful and helpful member of the Oracle community and a leading light in Oracle Server technology. He will be sadly missed

Carl Dudley

Oracle Professor of Database Technology
School of Computing and IT
Technology Centre
University of Wolverhampton

Very very sad news indeed and please pass on the deepest sympathies to all his loved ones from all his friends at UKOUG. He will be missed from our family.

Ronan Miles, UKOUG

I first met Lex in about 1995 when I often visited Oracle's De Meern office on behalf of the EOUG.

Right from the outset, Lex was a good supporter of User Group activities. Always willing to share his considerable knowledge, always offering ideas of how things can be improved for users and always willing to give presentations or tutorials on Oracle subjects.

I think that from about 1996 onwards Lex was a regular presenter at EOUG events around Europe. He was such a friendly guy and unfailingly courteous. I last saw him at the UKOUG event last December and was impressed by his courage and his very positive approach to his problem.

Lex will be greatly missed by everyone who was fortunate to come into contact with him and on behalf of the EOUG offer our condolences to his family.

Bert Spencer, EOUG

Pete Sharman posted this to the O/T list and is reprinted with his permission and kind regards.

Word of Lex's death is becoming more widespread now, both within Oracle by courtesy of Bjorn Ensig (ex-Miracle staffer) and Kate Farrow from OU Netherlands, as well as in the wider Oracle community through mechanisms like oracle-l (as you've probably seen). The OU Netherlands people put an announcement on their home page in Dutch. I ran that through an automated Dutch to English translator. Lex would have LOVED the first paragraph of the translation:

"Thursday 2 February at the end of the day, it reached us reported that our former colleague Lex the cock, Wednesday 1 February on 51 person whose birthday it is age has died. We are sad concerning this news."

Lex the cock! I can hear him laughing out loud now.

"He will be missed. No, God damn it, he IS missed. Vale, Lex de Haan, Oracle expert extraordinaire. Vale, Lex de Haan, dear friend."

Pete Sharman

Observing a minute of silence

... from 1600 to 1601 hours CET. So will James, Joze, Anjo (who's in the US) and probably many others I haven't heard from yet.

With all those important positions we hold in the database industry, I think that massive, global silence will be felt :-) .


I did it. Bugger.

James Morle 

And I just did.

Marting Berg

I was holding his book during my silence, looking at his picture... and it all blurred out in just a few seconds

Kirtikumar Deshpande

Believe it or not.....

At precisely 10:00am US-EST, 1600 CET, the power in our building flicked off and back on, causing all desktops to crash.

True story.

Mark J. Bobak 

OK - it is now 9:22 and I believe I'm through sobbing now.....

Gary Goodman

Me too.

Graham Wood

As I walked out my front door at 1559,the Måløv church bells started ringing. I'm not even a member of the church council anymore. But I liked it.

Mogens Nørgaard

"Everytime a bell angel get's his wings"
I guess Lex specified the NOWAIT clause...

Dan Fink


to Lex

I got to know you when we were working on the 9i Sql tuning course. We met in person on the Micrale Database confernce 2002. I shared one hut with you and Wolfgang in Middlefart What else can I say ?

Bye Lex