Paul Jeffrey Peacock was born on June 25, 1945 in Harlingen, Tex. It was his mother’s birthday. She always said Jeff was the best present she ever got.
Jeff grew up in Mobile, Alabama the second of four children. They were all “PJPs”
(Penelope Jean, Paul Jeffrey, Philip John and Pamela Jane). His favorite stories were of roaming the great Wragg swamp (now a shopping mall), his father singing in church, the frantic dash to help his mom get the clothes off the line at the beginning of thunderstorms, and the dropped bowl of chocolate pudding that ended up on the walls of every single room in the apartment.
Jeff was an Eagle Scout. He loved summers at Camp Pushmataha, where, like Tom Sawyer, he made “Lala detail” such a wild, crazy affair that everyone wanted to sign up to clean the latrines.
After high school, Jeff worked at American National Bank for a year to earn enough money to go to Auburn University. This cemented his hatred of neckties. He graduated with a degree in business and an interest in theater. He was in the ROTC and after graduation entered the Air Force.
Jeff was both haunted by his service as a forward air controller in Vietnam and exceedingly proud of his flying skills. As a pilot, he broke the sound barrier, flew in formation (it’s really hard), landed planes that had lost engines (less hard), and survived being shot down. He loved test flights with an evaluator in the copilot seat.
Jeff first saw Humboldt from the air and it was love at first sight. Jeff’s son Tyson was born in his Arcata kitchen in 1974. Tyson’s mother, Mary moved to Iowa with Tyson when he was still a baby.
At HSU, Jeff finished what he considered to be the important parts of a master’s degree in directing. He was immensely proud of his thesis production of Mother Courage and her Children. Jeff met Nancy Forrest while acting in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Pacific Art Center. Their parts were small, giving them time to make out backstage. This was something that they continued to enjoy for the next 39 years.
Jeff loved theatre and he loved Nancy. At the PAC he was actor, director, and business manager. His favorite production was Playboy of the Western World, but every show gave him something that he carried with him always.
After arts funding dried up, Jeff started working at Yakima when there were only nine employees. He grew with the company, leaving as Vice President of Finance of a multi-million dollar company. He spent over 20 years at Yakima in the trenches with an amazing group of humanity. He added accounting to his list of art forms and went to work every day to provide a stable home for his family. Jeff ended his career in business working eight years at North Coast Co-op.
Jeff’s son Robin was born in 1984, transforming everything. When Robin was two, Jeff’s now 11-year-old son Tyson came to visit from Iowa... and stayed! His daughter Mica arrived on the scene in 1991 and was the icing on the family cake. Summers were spent car camping up and down the Pacific Northwest.
Jeff loved playing games but was unable to lose on purpose or fake letting the kids win. He taught them how to play chess by letting them turn the board around anytime that they wanted and play his pieces.
Jeff adored his children. He viewed them as unique and independent beings hopefully minimally burdened by connections over which they had no control.
Jeff loved throwing boomerangs, laps at the Arcata Pool, taking the dogs to the beach, canoeing in local waters, the Giants, chocolate malts, the Trinity and Smith Rivers, and having a routine.
Jeff developed dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He had difficulty speaking and had a beautiful way of communicating using his hands and simple phrases. Watching his grandchildren play and squabble he said, “Zoom, zoom…beautiful.”
Struggling with describing where he was born, he stated, “There’s a lot of Texas in Texas.” With the love and support of Nancy, Mica and caregivers Ggina and Sherry, Jeff was content.
He took pleasure in simple things: walking in the neighborhood, napping, neighborhood cats, deer in the yard, birds at the feeders, airplanes flying overhead, the marsh and Moonstone Beach. He never lost his sense of humor or his connection to his family. Jeff took his last breath at home on Monday, April 20 with his wife and children by his side.
Jeff is preceded in death by his father Quentin Victor Peacock, his sister Janie, and the sister of his heart Pamela Lyall. He is survived by his mother Margaret, sister Penny, brother-in-law Tom, brother Phil, sister-in-law Jean, brother-in-law Doug, sons Tyson and Robin, daughter-in-law Misty, grandchildren Leighton and Danielle, daughter Mica, and wife Nancy.
Jeff enjoyed taking a walk every day that he was able. All are invited to celebrate Jeff on a self-guided walk in his neighborhood. There will be pictures and remembrances along the way.
Start at Jeff’s house anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, May 23. The ¾ of a mile loop will be marked.
Please observe social distancing and keep hugs virtual. There will be a basket in the driveway if you have a message that you want to leave.
You can email [email protected] for more information. Donations can be made in Jeff’s memory to ResolutionCare. Jeff’s family will be forever grateful for their compassionate, holistic palliative care during Jeff’s last year of life.