Jeff. He had a dog. Then another. First a dog named Avie. Avalanche. He had Avie when he met my niece Heather (Chris’ oldest daughter). Avie went to work with Jeff, a construction guy. Heather and Jeff married. Avie grew to be an old, old dog. Time passed after Avie died. Jeff and Heather adopted a huge, gangly puppy and named him Roscoe. Roscoe stayed with Jeff after Heather left him.

For the past ??? eight years Jeff has been at every family event, every family holiday. A tall, gentle quiet man, our entire family was sad about his absence after Heather left him almost a year ago. It wasn’t one of those bitter things, their break-up. No ill feelings towards Jeff, only the warmth we’ve always felt for him. After all, this man, nervous to ask Chris and Herman for Heather’s hand in marriage, drove around their block three times before he summoned up the courage. Never mind they had been living together for some time! But, that’s Jeff for you.

When 8 feet of snow kept Rick, Nate and I stranded for a week in 2003, this man loaded up his snow toys – snow mobiles, snow blowers – and headed up the mountain Sunday morning after he and Heather went shopping for us the night before. Picking up emergency items like dog food and liquor. Other motor toys include a Toyota pickup beefed up, rebuilt for off-roading, climbing steep terrain. Jeff has years of experience driving wild and wacky vehicles.

Yesterday he took his last ride. On a crane. His construction crane. Moving it from one job site to another, the crane lost its brakes going down a hill. He was able to maneuver it in traffic through a T-intersection before it rolled in Dry Creek. As Rick said last night, he hopes Jeff was driving it, maneuvering it, thinking “I’ve got this handled! Perfect! Here we go! I can do this! I’ve got it under control!” While driving, he was hanging half-way out, ready to bail. It was the bail-out that was unsuccessful. I hope he thought it was successful. He died immediately.

I haven’t seen the images. I haven’t watched the news. I don’t want to see Heather and Em hysterical at the scene. Herman was with them. They were on the news. I don’t want to see those images. These are some of the many, many images I want to remember….

Christmas dinner at our house. He surely helped carry the extra table and chairs…


Showing Heather’s young cousins The Fort down the hill in front of our house…


Talking with Rocky, wearing that usually present baseball cap…


In Chris and Herman’s kitchen…


Mother’s Day breakfast (probably not prepared by him!)…


Wedding on the beach in Mexico surrounded by friends and family…


I’m gonna miss that smile.

4 Comments on “:Jeff…”

  1. Kathy says:

    I am so, so sorry and deeply moved by your beautiful tribute to Jeff. May memories of his gentle love surround all of you.


  2. Katy Widger says:

    Oh Debby, this is so tragic and sad. I’m so sorry for his loss, for all of you, for all of us.
    What a wonderful man! What precious memories you have of a truly outstanding human being. No matter his end, his life was well-lived and he made a difference in this world.
    Blessings to you all,

  3. Godspeed, Jeff … may those left behind find comfort in your memory.

  4. Susan M says:

    Oh, Debbie, I’m so sorry….
    I keep hearing that there is something uplifting about grief, but I gotta tell you….I think it’s hogwash.
    Grief sux….Loss sux….Pain sux…

    Life however goes on in in all its glory….And your smile will emerge again….


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