Jeremy “JJ” John Smithers, age 22 passed away in Lakenheath, United Kingdom on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012. He was serving in the United States Air Force (USAF) stationed at the Royal Air Force Base, Lakenheath, England. He was returning from the Memorial Day Ceremony at the American Cemetery in Cambridge, England honoring our country’s World War II Veteran’s when he was involved in a motorcycle accident.
Jeremy was born on January 22, 1990 at March Air Force Base, California, son of Jeffrey W. Smithers and Jennifer A. Meyer (formerly Badger).
Jeremy lived a full life of adventure from being born at March Air Force Base, California and following his parents around the world to various assignments including; England, Guam, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Nebraska where he graduated High School in 2009 and enlisted into the USAF.
While growing up, Jeremy was always focused on his grades and wanting to be the best at everything he set his mind to. He was recognized for “Outstanding Academic Excellence” in the Presidential Education Awards Program, while also receiving numerous “Perfect Attendance” certificates. His multi-tasking skills were evident at a very young age where he balanced sports, academics and still had the time of his life; riding dirt bikes, wakeboarding, knee-boarding, snowboarding and loved spending time at the beach.
While in High School Jeremy continued to thrive in academics, sports, and chapel/youth outreach programs. He was inducted into the National Honor Society and placed 5th his Junior year in the All-European Wrestling Championship, 130lb weight division. He also volunteered to assist on 3 mission trips around the world. He traveled to Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia where he taught the English language, built a playground, ministered and shared the word to many Eastern European youth. Throughout high school his favorite sports were soccer, wrestling and football.
Upon enlisting in the Air Force, Jeremy was singled-out early on by his Military Training Instructor for his natural leadership abilities. He was named “Dorm Chief” where he led a flight of 60 new recruits through the rigorous Basic Military Training program. At the completion of basic training he received distinction as a “Thunderbolt” for his physical fitness abilities; while graduating in the top 10% out of 750 recruits as “Honor Graduate.” Jeremy didn’t stop there as he continued on to receive a “Black Rope” as a Technical School Air Force Honor Guard Airman.
After Technical School, Jeremy went to his first duty assignment to the 48th Force Support Squadron, Royal Air Base Lakenheath, England. He started his career at the Dining facility. While working and accomplishing his upgrade training, Jeremy also found time to coach the Lakenheath American High School wrestling team, as well as, intensely training to complete his first marathon in Scotland, where he raised awareness for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Because of his drive for fitness Jeremy was chosen to replace a deployed Airmen at the Fitness Center. Jeremy continued daily to prove his dedication to fitness, his Fitness Center Director quoted as saying, “Speaking in sport terms Jeremy was an All-Star. I have been a Fitness Center director for 17 years and he is one of the best employees I have ever had….Jeremy always did the job right the first time, every time, he was always dependable and once he was finished with a task he would always come back and see what else he could do. He loved his job and was one of the rare few who after attending Fitness Fundamentals utilized everything he learned during the training from equipment maintenance to equipment operations to physical trainings to teaching fitness classes…Although, his time was cut short, rest assured that he left an enduring legacy here through his work from facility improvements to changing customers lives through his physical training with both personal and group cliental.” Jeremy touched more lives than we will ever know.
Jeremy will be deeply missed and eternally loved by his mother and father and all who’s lives he touched around the world. He is survived by his parents Jeff and Erica Smithers and Chris and Jennifer Meyer. His grandparents; Dennis and Anne Badger, Arnie and Mary Grifka,the late John (Jack) Smithers, Marilyn Smithers; his brother Justen Smithers and his step-brothers Jacob Meyer and the late Jarett Meyer and step-sister Sarah Meyer. He is also survived by his significant other Vikki Sharp of Cambridge, England. Aunts and Uncles, Jason (Adrienne) Badger, Keith Badger, Amy (Joseph) Mulwa, Randy Smithers, Shelia Hendricks, Mary (Chris) Forman, Judy (Dave) Pye, Barb (Jim) Crowell, Tina Smithers and her significant other Bruno Dobroske; many cousins and friends.
Mass will be 11 am, Saturday, June 16 at St. John Catholic Church in Ubly. Rev. Joseph Griffin and Chaplin Lance Giannone will officiate. Burial will be in the church cemetery with military honors.
Visitation will be at the Zinger-Smigielski Funeral Home in Ubly on Friday from 2-8 pm and Saturday from 9-10 am. There will be a remembrance vigil service Friday evening at 6:30 pm at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been requested to the American Heart Association or the Family Discretionary Fund.