“This has been the best year of my life,” Jeff said again and again, after his diagnosis of glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer — in the fall of 2017 and after his forced leave from teaching engineering education at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., a position he loved.
“Engineers save more lives than doctors,” he told his first-year engineering students.
Jeff’s “year” was 20 months — moving to a small cabin in northern Vermont (Hyde Park), chopping kindling every day, walking down to the pond with an IPA in hand and settling into an Adirondack chair to sip and stare.
His many treks to the University of Vermont Medical Center for treatment kept him busy and good friends kept him company.
“I am pleased with the way I will die,” he told Dr. Alissa Thomas of UVM, his neuro-oncologist. “I am fortunate that I have some time.” Alissa’s brilliance and compassion comforted Jeff and helped soften the journey. And thank you to Lamoille Home Health and Hospice for compassion and care.
“I want to do this right,” Jeff told his 19-year-old son, Alec, when he was first diagnosed. Part of Jeff’s doing this right was writing and self-publishing a book. Jeff wanted to share his passion for engineering with high school seniors and first-year engineering students. “Engineering: A Primer,” his book, is his legacy.
Jeff, born in 1956, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for eight years, developed a career as a professional engineer, imparted his passion for engineering to the many students he taught at Virginia Tech, and helping to socialize St. Francis Service Dogs in Roanoke, Va., by bringing them into his engineering classroom.
Survivors include his wife, Jude Prashaw; his son, Alec; a brother, Jamie, and sister, Cathy; and many nieces and nephews.
His sister Jeannie died earlier.
He chose to leave his body to research and the University of Vermont Medical Center will honor that wish. He chose death with dignity Thursday afternoon, May 23, 2019, holding his wife’s hand and holding a photo of his best friend — their son Alec. Alec, now 21, told his father on the phone before he died, “You are the best father a son could ever have. If I am 10 percent of the man you are, I am a lucky man.”
Celebrations for Jeff will be held in the future in Morrisville, and in Newburyport, Mass., and Roanoke, Va.
In lieu of flowers, choose a life with dignity, just as Jeff chose life and death with dignity.
Faith Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements. To send online condolences: faithfh.net.