Good Life, Good Wife, Great Friend
Jeff was one of my best friends in the world. Honestly he was liked by all who met him. Just a genuine nice guy, who never seemed to have a bad word for anyone. For the last 8 years he was one of my very best friends.
Before Jeff moved to Thailand he was a high school teacher for 30 years. A couple of years ago, I encouraged him to take a vacation to Thailand, and enjoy himself for a couple of weeks. He spent most of his life giving everything of himself to his family, ex-wife, children, students.
I thought he would enjoy the nightlife, and he did for one night. And then the next night he met his future Thai Wife, Pen… A very lovely lady. She was kind of quiet and pretty, never asking for much.
Jeff decided to take early retirement, get married and move to Thailand. And it was the best thing he ever did in his life. I wrote an article for Stickman called Insane Thai Wedding. That was Jeff’s wedding two years ago. Married in a small jungle village about 200 kilometers from Chiang Mai. A beautiful village by the name of Pamok, about 40 kilos from Phrae. It was one of the most isolated villages I had ever been to. The nearest store was over 40 kilometers. And it sure was a crazy wedding. Everyone in the village was drunk, dancing and having a good time.
Here’s a photo of the village Whiskey house.
I think they were the happiest couple I have ever known. They loved each other so much. At first I thought he was getting married too soon, but he had no doubts and I’m glad he followed his heart. What a genuinely happy, loving couple. No horror
stories. The family and relatives were always warm and gracious.
They built a beautiful, but modest home in the mountains, and landscaped it lovingly. Jeff and Pen loved working in the yard together.
Jeff near the rice field
He was having a tough time living up there though. The food, the language barriers, etc. He would tell me about the daily hunting and gathering. Everything from ant larvae to snake, to jungle rat, to tiny fish which they smashed up whole and fried. Also the Thais would gather wild herbs, mushrooms and goodies, different bugs, birds, etc. Basically anything that moved or was growing. It was quite funny the way he explained it. And of course, RICE. He was losing weight and had to start driving out of the village once a week for supplies to eat. And eventually a few months ago he set up an apartment in Chiang Mai and they divided their time between Chiang Mai and Pamok.
Jeff was happy to have some life in Chiang Mai and had an art studio he built, and health club with swimming pool, restaurants, and other English speaking people. Pen and Jeff Always took care of each other and respected each other’s needs. So
they split their time between Pomok and Chiang Mai.
I am writing this to let people know that there are excellent women everywhere, including Thailand. We hear many sad stories on this website, because the people are sad or angry. The happy people are generally going about their business and not writing submissions. Haha.
Anyway, they were a beautiful couple. Their wedding was nuts, but very funny and Jeff loved it. The home they built was beautiful and Jeff was always working in the garden. When they looked at each other you could see the magic in their life.
Jeff had cancer several years ago and was in remission. Thank God he took early retirement and moved to Thailand. The cancer returned a year after he was married, and he was strong to the end. Helping the children in his village, hiking in the hills, loving his wife, doing his artwork and enjoying Thailand.
I cannot say enough about what at wonderful, unselfish man Jeff was, and thank Pen, his wife, for being there with him to the end. Pen, thank you for all the care and love you gave Jeff.
Today he is having a Buddhist funeral up in the jungle where he lived and loved the last two years. Everyone in the village loved this tall gentle Farang who had a smile for everyone he met.
I will miss him greatly.
On another side of life, my other friend, Craig, and his wife just had a beautiful baby boy (Hayden) in Bangkok. He also loves his wife and child very much, and they have a wonderful relationship.
So one beautiful man passes on, and one beautiful little boy is born. The circle of life continues
Goodbye, Jeff. See you in Heaven.
Hello Hayden. See you in Thailand.
Nice to hear that he was able to enjoy his life in Thailand before his time came.