The sister of Steve Jobs says that growing up as an only child raised by a single mother, she would imagine her father as "an idealistic revolutionary" who resembled actor Omar Sharif.
"For decades, I'd thought that man would be my father," writes Mona Simpson, a noted writer. "When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother."
In a moving New York Times op-ed piece today, Simpson offers an intimate portrait of the late Apple co-founder, the brother she met in 1985--three decades after their parents put him up for adoption. She describes meeting Jobs and getting to know him, his struggles with his health, as well as his personality quirks.
Simpson recounts how hurt Jobs felt about leaving the company he co-founded after a boardroom struggle for control of Apple in 1985.
"When he got kicked out of Apple, things were painful," she writes. "He told me about a dinner at which 500 Silicon Valley leaders met the then-sitting president. Steve hadn't been invited. He was hurt but he still went to work at Next. Every single day."
She even explains Jobs' famous fondness for black turtlenecks.
"For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal," Simpson writes. "If he loved a shirt, he'd order 10 or 100 of them. In the Palo Alto house, there are probably enough black cotton turtlenecks for everyone in this church."
Simpson also talks in detail about how Jobs' life changed as his illness began to take its toll on his body.
"Then, Steve became ill and we watched his life compress into a smaller circle," she says, detailing the everyday pleasures that no longer appealed to Jobs. "Yet, what amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away."
She says his death was unexpected and describes the last afternoon she spent with her brother in some detail. "Death didn't happen to Steve, he achieved it," she writes.
Jobs' final words that afternoon: "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."
after a long battle with pancreatic cancer and was buried a few days later during a private, non-denominational funeral in Santa Clara County.