Jeffrey Clark Gilman was a drummer. The beat of his drum played out the rhythm of his life, and with each step he took throughout his forty-eight years, it reverberated back his song.
Jeff was born with a crimson heart. He had a unique emotional intelligence from a baby’s age. He began his life taking tender steps. He trusted the comfort he found in his home. He loved with a kind of liquid purity, it oozed out of his skin and connected him to everything: his mother, Ginny; his father, Garry; his brother, Brad; and his sisters Brandie, Jenny, and Stephanie. He was sentimental about the special family Christmases that taught him to believe in magic, and the visits to Cannon Beach, Oregon, that gifted him with peace. Every picture left hanging in his house is a picture of those trips.
Jeff learned to drum at West Jr. High. His drum core friendships were bonded for life. At Borah High School, his drumming skills were noticed. He started and joined several garage bands, and then came his favorites: “Thoughtcrime” and “Psychic Knot,” where he created what would become Jeff’s signature drum style. The rhythm of his life’s core was drumming, even in his later years, when the beats were left to his dreams.
Technology in the world grew opportunities from the Internet. Jeff taught himself how to create his own websites, using vivid graphics in the early Internet times that were rare. He taught himself to code before there were programs in school for it. His work with Hewlett Packard brought him into analytics, and he took pleasure in the challenge of it for many years.
His family grew to include nieces and nephews, and his friends built families too. Jeff was a pied piper for the children around him. They were fascinated by his deep voice and his beautiful, pure love for them. He gave them nicknames, and in return, his nephew, Dallin, named his favorite doll, “Baby Jeff,” after his loving uncle, just to keep Jeff around after he returned home. His nieces called him, “Kunk,” because it was more fun than Uncle. Jeff’s “Bopadoo,” aka “Drake,” was his friend’s son who will surely cherish his bond with Jeff through his life too. The heart that Jeff had in this life beats in the hearts of everyone who loves him still. They will feel it thump at surprising times throughout the rest of their lives.
Jeff always clung to his childhood memories. He kept his “Yertle the Turtle” doll from his infancy to his death, and his family has sent it with him as a talisman that will journey with him in his coffin, along with drumsticks, a knitted cap, art from nephews and nieces that he lovingly kept posted on various fridges for twenty years, as well as familial security. Each talisman was carefully chosen as a reflection of his life, and his relationship to, all of his family members left behind.
We love you, Jeff. You were always deeply loved. You still are. Be strong. Be brave. Be free. Be at peace now and forever.
Until we meet again…
Jeff leaves behind his family:
His mother, Ginny, cared deeply for her son and wanted him to be happy. She misses her son dearly, but she knows she will see him again.
His father, Garry, loved Jeff and helped him in so many ways. His own tender heart is broken, but he knows he will see him again someday.
His brother, Brad, had a special brotherly bond that was genuine and dear to the two of them, until the very end.
His sister Brandie is broken-hearted. She sweetly cared for Jeff but also loved the way he loved her kids.
His sister, Jenny, was the closest in age and had many of the same friends. She is mourning the loss of him in her life and wishes her protective little brother was still with her.
His sister, Stephanie, had a special bond of care, love, kids, and childhood things that she will miss dearly.
Jeff also left behind so many friends who loved him and wanted to care for him more than he could understand.
We all ache for his loss, but the diseases of anxiety and addiction were too painfully acute in him. He was a beautiful soul.
Jeff was funny. Loving. Genuine. Tough. Soft. Rigid. Beautiful.