A life remembered

6 Dec

Hey everyone,

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days.

Our family recently received some sad news- Deron’s dad passed away this weekend. His health had been declining for awhile and while his death was not unexpected, it is nonetheless surprising. Deron misses his dad but is strong as always. SUPER big hugs for him.

And as our family recovers from this sudden change, it has become increasingly important for us to pause and remember Jon’s life. Based on Deron’s recollections and the stories pouring in from friends and family, a few things have become quite clear to me:

Jon was a hero

He volunteered to serve in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Even though the University of Florida had recruited him to play baseball, he chose to serve his country. Honorable indeed.

Jon was a legend

He worked for many, many years in the Yuma school district as a teacher and principal. He was the kind of teacher that everyone loved. He was the kind of teacher that students remember forever. The kind that teased you, made you do silly things, but taught you to have fun with learning. His also worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education for immigrant populations, advocating for year-round schooling.

Jon was very proud of his son

While not an effusive person, Jon had  a way of radiating love and admiration for his son. Every time we met, he’d give a little half smile and would hug Deron tight.

Jon was excited to be a grandpa

He wanted a grandchild SO MUCH. During the early years of our marriage, Jon advocated strongly for a grandchild, every single time we saw him. We finally had a kid after five years of marriage and introduced Henry to Jon.

Here is a picture from Jon’s visit in February:

Lastly, Jon will be missed. Very, very much. 


8 Responses to “A life remembered”

  1. Joan Bleakly December 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    This is a beautiful commentary, Becca. Jon was awfully proud of both Deron and you…he told me so both at your graduation and also at your wedding. I am certain he felt very happy when he met Henry. I’m glad that was possible.

  2. Suzan Bleakly December 7, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    So sorry to hear this news. Love your tribute to Deron’s Dad. Always hard to say good-by. Dad’s have such a huge impact on our lives….Love the picture of Deron, Jon and Henry!
    So happy he got to meet the new love of your lives!

  3. Sheralyn December 7, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    You did a wonderful tribute to the special man Jon was. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing his uniqueness to life on paper. If only your words could be published in the Yuma paper to remind all of those who knew him what a special guy he was.
    He will always be remembered as our brother-in-law; he remained an important family member to us. So glad Henry came along for Jon to share time with.

    • rleadem December 7, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks Sheralyn. Hope you guys are doing well.

  4. Kate Sumners December 8, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Hi Becca, it’s cousin Kate here in Page. Deron showed me your blog here and its wonderful. You really wrote a beautiful tribute to Jon here. The thing I will remember him most fondly for is his sense of humor. He will be missed. Deron really is holding up admirably but we’ll keep a loving eye on him for you while he’s here. Kiss that baby for me! XO Kate


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