The Reverend Jerry Ray Jefferies
While mourning the tragic automobile accident that claimed the life of Jerry Jefferies, we celebrate his life with joy and gratitude. The incredible uniqueness of this man was so deeply felt by many throughout the world. They were touched by his love, whether they knew him for 10 minutes, 30 years or a lifetime. He was a gentleman who did ordinary things with extraordinary love.
Born in Portland, Oregon, the eldest child of George Henry Jefferies and Pearl Marie Halvorson. Jerry's three siblings survive him – Jeanne Tongret (Leon), Suzy (Ed), and Peter (Colleen). In their words – 'they felt protected by him; he listened without judgment, encouraged and challenged them; was content to sit in silence in nature and just be quiet except for the sound of the wind and animals; he was fun and found humor and wit in ordinary moments and love in their individuality.'
Jerry's children, born to him and gained in marriage, were a source of his joy and drive to keep learning and inspiring deeper thoughts. Marriage to Peggy Shallhorn in 1974 saw them raise daughters Christiania Marie and Sarah Elizabeth in Hazard Nebraska, Kearney Nebraska and Hillsboro, Oregon. Grandsons Greenley (9) and Greyson (3) brought him many smiles – Greenley learning his biking skills and Greyson smiling constantly as he sang with great confidence – just like Grandpa.
On October 1, 2020 Jerry married his soulmate, Margaret Hawkins Deveraux, in their garden at home. Zoom brought guests from around the world although only 22 in the yard because of Covid rules. Along with his wife, Jerry gained 6 more children, (Dan, Bo, Laurie, Kim, Tomi and Ted and their spouses), 25 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren. All loved to be with him. With violin or guitar in hand, there were many family song nights as Jerry and Margaret were able to travel and visit with their children over the past few years.
After graduating from Portland State University in 1969 with a Mathematics degree, Jerry entered the Navy and was commissioned Ensign in 1970. He attended flight school and trained as a paratrooper. After the Navy, his early careers included engineering with Bonneville Power Administration, working with homeless youth through Agape House Community Center in Portland, and youth director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lewiston ID. In 1975 he enrolled in Luther Seminary, St Paul Minnesota. Jerry interned as a hospital Chaplain in Amarillo, Texas and was ordained in 1979. Of great importance to him were his first Call to Faith Lutheran Church in Hazard Nebraska and then as a mission church developer of Family of Christ Church in Kearney, Nebraska.
In 1988 after a move back to their roots in Oregon, Jerry excelled in operating his own carpentry, remodel and construction company. His notable craftsmanship included restoring and installing a beautiful antique pipe organ at St Peter. Then the community took pride in his engineering and rebuilding, with help from others, the bell tower and steeple of St. Peter ELCA Church in Tillamook.
Fitness was always important to him. He took up cycling, loving riding thousands of miles on country roads and completing 7 Cycle Oregon week-long rides after he turned 50.
He assisted ministering to local church groups on the Oregon coast. From 1996 through 2017 Jerry pastored the congregation of St Peter Lutheran, Tillamook, until his retirement. While fostering small town relationships, in November of 2010 with God's intervention, Jerry became the full-time pastor of three congregations in Tillamook – St. Peter Lutheran, St. Albans Episcopal and Tillamook United Methodist Church. In his words 'My faith life was enriched beyond my imagination.'
After retirement, Jerry was privileged to supply as priest for St Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal church in Manzanita. Jerry often expounded Steven Covey's phrase 'We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey'. He taught God would have us live our humanity in fulfillment of God's promise of Kingdom in spite of all the challenges we may discover along the way.
His generosity to his communities included many hours raising funds and advocating for Food Roots programs, along with his engineering and carpentry skills with United Paws of Tillamook to restore a service building for rescue cats and kittens.
In recent words of those who collectively mourn him in many countries and comfort one another – he was a godly man of love, caring, compassion, encouragement, fun and humor, family, simplicity, honor, true to his word, energetic can-do attitude, enthusiasm, helpful, sweetest – kindest person and a smile that radiated to all ages. Challenged by personal cancer in 2010, others then added mentor, supportive and compassionate. Notes of his words kept for years included "Lord turn off our minds and turn on our hearts and souls – Faith." Others said, he taught us about the God who loved us with humor and grace and always a guitar in hand. He loved all people from children to the elderly and was never too busy if you needed to talk.
His dreams, as told to Christiania, "Your life is never going to come out where you think it is. You have to pursue what you think is best today but where you end up will be a whole lot better than you ever imagined."
He closed many worship services with: 'May the extravagant love of God consume you, may the Redeemers life and passion inspire you, and may the Spirit empower you to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.'
Jerry was predeceased by his parents and chosen daughter, Tomi Alys Deveraux.
Memorial service will be shared virtually, for family health safety and in respect of COVID mandate. The service will be carried on Facebook Live, YouTube, and Zoom 11 a.m. PDT on April 10. Future links and/or announcements will be found on Facebook – Margaret Deveraux and on Jerry Jefferies pages. Please feel free to share the links or connections at that time.