(read at Jeff's funeral)
I am blessed and will be forever thankful
to have had Jeff as a brother. what a man of God he was. He was a
pillar in our family. What a testament to the love and example shown by
our parents. He himself was a humble example to everyone who knew him.
Jeff wanted to live his life in a way that would point to Christ. And I
believe he did just that.
We grew up best pals. He was 7 years older than me, yet we were always together. Playing baseball in the spring, football in the fall. I remember after hitting my first homerun in backyard baseball I ran in to tell Jeff. The first time I ran a lap around the football field without stopping for a break I ran home to tell Jeff. As the years went by we became even better friends. He taught me how to tie a necktie, helped me buy my first car, and my first job was painting houses with Jeff. We had so many memories together and it was always fun to look back and laugh about old times. I can't remember not having a good time with Jeff.
The most important part of Jeff's life that I will always remember is his faith. It was unwavering. His spiritual wisdom and his dedication to the Lord made him a tremendous teacher, father, husband, son, brother and friend. He had such a profound effect on so many lives. I know we are all thankful for having him as part of our lives. He was also thankful for all of you being a part of his life. there was a time several months ago while he was sick when he said to my parents "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think I am the most loved person in the world". How wonderful it is to know that the body of Christ was such a comfort to him in his hard times.
If you were to ask Jeff what his greatest accomplishment was he would undoubtedly tell you his family. He loved Kaylee, Josh and Nathan with his whole heart and he always put them before himself. He loved being a dad. He also loved his wife. The love that they shared was truly anointed by God. Gwen is an amazing woman to have stayed by Jeff's side the way she did through all the hard times. She managed to care for him and keep the family together so they could all be with their dad. I know if it were me in his shoes, I would have wanted the same love and care from my wife and family. It was amazing to see how even in the hardest days that Jeff, Gwen and the kids could all be such a testimony to those around them. Jeff would want it no other way.
Jeff lived his life in the center of God's will. And for reasons we may not understand, Jeff's departure was part of God's will. It is sad sometimes to think that he is gone from us, but we'll see him again. And right now he is happier than he's ever been. If he could tell us anything right now I don't think he'd say "don't forget me", or "remember the good times", but rather he'd say "You've got to see this. And make sure my kids come too".