Today we’re here to bid a final farewell to Jeffery Michael LaRock.
Thank you all for coming.
I’m going to give you a thumbnail sketch of the man I knew as a brother.
Others, especially our sister Julie, who grew up and shared a childhood with Jeff, that I did not, may well portray him somewhat differently.
He loved his family; they were the emeralds in his heart.
Who was Jeff?
Obviously he was a son, albeit with a conflicted and bittersweet relationship with his parents.
He was a brother, a nephew, alter boy, and brother-in-law.
He was a dad; Sean you are the one thing in his life that he was most proud of.
He was an uncle; he loved you and savored his relationships with each of you, always asking about how you all were doing.
He was a nurse, a veteran, a paramedic, an artist, a photographer, a commiserator, and always a friend.
He liked antiques, Samurai swords and his solace, music.
He wasn’t an alter boy all his life…….
He was a rascal, an alcoholic, a drug abuser, and he loved women.
Intertwined with these roles and qualities he was foremost kind and compassionate. Jeff had what grandpa Walton described as “a giving heart.”
He quit a job as an apartment manager in Tennessee because he couldn’t stand to evict a tenant for not paying their rent.
I met Jeffrey Michael LaRock in the last weeks of June, 1955 when my mother brought him home from the hospital. I was 9 years old, almost 10. I was unimpressed. Who was this interloper, this usurper for the love of mom, dad, aunt Nellie and uncle Ed?
Basically, I was indifferent to his existence. But he was not indifferent to mine. He did everything he could to win my love and affection.
When Jeff was 3, or no older than 4, he succeeded in getting my undivided attention.
I had an Ogdensburg Journal newspaper delivery route at that time. I kept the money I collected from my customers in a dingy white drawstring canvas bag. One day I went to retrieve my bag of money from where I’d set it, only to discover it was missing.
I asked mom if she’d moved it, but she was clueless. I searched and searched until mom, looking out the kitchen window into the backyard yelled something to the effect; “what’s all that paper littering the yard.”
I went to investigate. I found my brother, the empty money bag, and dollar bills, some whole, some torn, fluttering along the grass in the breeze.
My brother, Jeffery Michael, without malice, was enjoying tossing those green pieces of paper in the air and watching them float on the wind.
Over the years, Jeff and I would meet for breakfast at the Donut King restaurant here in the “Burg, just the two of us. We would bare our souls, reminisce about old times and philosophize about life and current happenings in our lives.
I relish those times because Jeff made it easy for complete honesty between us on any topic; personal and otherwise; he was nonjudgmental. It was always he who bent over backwards to make us best friends.
We’re going to miss Jeff. His presence in our lives has given us precious memories.
Thank you, Trish and Julie, for taking such good care of Jeff. Your love, caring and support are the reason we were able to share and enjoy so many more years of his life.
Thank you, his AA friends, for keeping him sober these past twenty years.
Jeff loved to tell a joke and ribald tales, and as a good story teller, he had that innate sense of timing that’s crucial to making you laugh ‘til you’d cry.
He liked nothing better than to call me, out of the blue, to share a joke or story; deriving pleasure from nothing more than hearing me laugh ‘til I couldn’t catch my breath. And when I’d stopped laughing, just before he’d hang up he’d say;
I love Robert, talk to you soon.