Patrick Tisseghem, one of a kind

Ascend workshop dry run, Amsterdam, December 2005

The SharePoint community has lost a great teacher and mentor: Patrick Tisseghem has passed away at the tender age of 39, apparently from a heart attack while teaching a class in Sweden on Wednesday.

As co-founder of U2U and one of the world's leading experts on SharePoint and many related technologies, Patrick touched the lives of countless people. I first worked with him in 2005, at the Office Ascend training dry run in Amsterdam (above, with his daughters Anahi and Laura on his desktop wallpaper), and it was an opportunity to witness his unique blend of intellect, humility, and humor in action. This was an event that most people would dread: standing in front of a room full of opinionated Microsoft technical experts for two days while they tried to poke holes in every little detail of the MOSS developer content that he and Ted Pattison had developed. But Patrick handled it with grace and class, smiling his knowing smile while rewriting complex code samples on the fly. He had a rare knack for making even the most complicated topics sound simple, obvious, and fun.

Patrick's productivity and pace of work set a standard few could ever match, and I think he may have logged more air miles in recent years than anyone I know. He taught workshops all over the world, wrote samples and demos constantly, and was a perennial star at developer events such as TechEd, where his presence always skewed the survey ratings upward. (I followed him at an event in Belgium last year, and found it very intimidating.) He wrote the first comprehensive book on MOSS development, and the first book on SharePoint's index and search services; SharePoint's success in the developer community owes a big debt to Patrick's quiet leadership.

I heard the news this morning and did a quick search online for Patrick's name. The first dozen or so hits were friends and colleagues who had posted their thoughts and condolences for his family, and then, immediately after those, was a link to a post that Patrick did on Tuesday about Recycling Application Pools in Windows Server 2008. It's no biggie, a throw-away post by his standards, but a good example of his playful tone and helpful approach in action.

I went through some photos from recent years and found a few more to share, below. If you ever met him, you know what an amazing person we've lost; and if you didn't, you missed a real treat.

Bangalore, India, March 2006 Bangalore, India, March 2006 everyone loves Patrick (TechEd/Orlando, June 2007)

Comments (6)
  1. Patrick Tisseghem , long time SharePoint MVP and co-founder of U2U, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner,

  2. 我相信有很多最早接触SharePoint的开发者都用过U2U Community Tools,亦或看过U2U的文章. 《Inside Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007》的作者Patrick已经与9月3号离我们而去了。

  3. Rick Jelliffe says:

    Commiserations to Patrick’s family and friends.

    Without wanting to attribute any actual causality in this case, which I know nothing about, I think that people who travel constantly, especially on long-haul flights or between timezones, should be very hard-nosed in considering the toll on our bodies of this. Make a rule such as, for every hour travel have an hour rest: so if a trip takes 12 hours, the next day is spent recuperating. (My own rule is that I never travel more than one major leg of a route, e.g. something that takes more than 10 hours, without a full day off at the stopover.)

    And, even more so, supervisors of staff who need to travel a lot have a duty of care to their staff to make sure that the staff have a sustainable travel load, that bonuses or performance evaluations don’t force excessive travel, and that the strong desire by people to get back to their families and homes is managed properly.

  4. Kurt Buelinckx says:


    I am shocked with this news.  I plyed footbal with Patrick for more than 6 yeas and was even my trainer in the late nineties.

    As I decided to stop playing football, we did not see eachothter that much.  I remember him calling me to play footbal for Ruisbroek where he took over some yeares ago…

    Whil drinking our beers in the Lamme Guiche, we sometimes discussed work in our sector, ICT.

    A very intelligent and warm guy left earth way to early.

    Life is not fair.  I will not bump into Patrick and his family dining in the evening at ELDO TAVERNE.

    My condolences to his family, especially his wife and two daughter.

    Rest in peace.

    Kurt Buelinckx, Marina & Lorena

  5. Doug Mahugh says:

    Rick, I agree that we all need to be careful about the health toll of travel.  Coincidentally, I remember talking to Patrick about the rigors of travel and the challenge of finding time for relaxation and exercise.

    Thanks for sharing a few memories, Kurt.  FYI, I see that Mike Fitzmaurice has posted a great reminiscence of Patrick here:

  6. It is with great sadness that I’m informing you that SharePoint community has suffered a great loss.

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