Thursday, June 24, 2010

RIP Jeff Doyle, You Are Missed

Tonight I got an email from an old friend from Iowa City.

She told me that she had received word that one of our common friends, Jeff Doyle, had died this week of colon cancer.

It was one of those "getting hit by a ton of bricks" moments.

Jeff and I got to know each other through the Iowa City-Coralville Jaycees, and we quickly found ways to get into trouble together.

There was the night we planned to hit the bars in Iowa City. I had to call my then wife and explain to her that I was still at the bar at 3 a.m. "The bars close at 2!" she replied in a sharp tone. "Not in Illinois, they don't," was my reply.

Then there was the time he hosted a Super Bowl party and bought a pony keg. He didn't bother to tell me that there were only 3 of us attending. That was the same Super Bowl party he had champagne chilling on ice so we could pop it and toast Tim Dwight when he scored a touchdown. Sure enough, that bottle got popped. Only. Time. I. Missed. Work. The. Day. After. The. Superbowl.

I also remember many nights turned into morning, sitting on my patio, enjoying cheap cigars and cheaper beer, and solving all the world's problems.

And now that Jeff is gone, I think it is safe to tell one of the most awesome secrets I've kept for over 15 years.

Jeff, a devout Hawkeye fan, made a habit out of stealing football helmets from Kinnick Stadium. He had seats behind the visitor's bench, and he wanted to collect as many helmets from the opposing teams as possible. He was a master at it. Even after having newspaper articles written up about the mysterious helmet thefts, he was never caught. The best newspaper article details a time when the starting QB for the opposing team went to grab his helmet from the bench only to find it gone. Yep, Jeff had it.

He had them all tucked away in a special display case that only his close friends got to see.

Jeff could be a pissy mood bastard, and he could be the life of the party. You never knew which Jeff you might get, but one thing you always knew with Jeff. You had someone who would give you the shirt off his back, and then make sure it fit right.

I'll miss you, buddy. I'll sing "In Heaven There is no Beer" in your honor, and pour out a 40 ouncer for you.


Miclaundry said...

Nice tribute, Steve. Great stories, great memories. How late do the bars stay open in Illinois, anyway?

Sorry that you lost a friend to cancer. My Dad had prostate cancer, and his doctor gave him a death sentence. She wasn't even going to recommend surgery, she felt that the cancer was so advanced. But they tried a radical prostatectomy anyway, and we're lucky that they did, because it was found to be encased in the prostate and had not spread.

My Dad celebrated 11 years cancer free last May.

Unfortunately, not all of the stories around prostate cancer have a happy ending. I want to remember your friend, and honor his life. If you'd like, I could make a luminaria for him to light up during our Relay For Life event coming up in July. It would be an honor for me, and sort of a gift to you and Jeff and your friendship.

Let me know if that's something you think would be alright, and I'll get it done.

Take time to grieve, my friend. And be kind to yourself and your memories. The memories are what endure, outlasting cancer, outlasting death. Peace to you.

Kathy said...

Great post, Steve. I'm not sure we've met, but I've been friends with Jeff for 20+ years, and I was there for a few helmet swipes. I'm in California now; Jeff's been out here for 7 years and kept that irrepressible sense of humor we both loved. I am so sad but your post gave me a much-needed grin. Do you have any idea where those newspaper stories are and if they were Press-Citizen or the student paper? I remember giggling over them, and I was sure he'd've kept copies but I haven't seen any.

Life Under Construction said...

Hey Kathy -
I didn't ever get the pleasure to meet you, but I always was hearing about you from Jeff.

I believe the article was in the Press-Citizen or the Gazette (I suppose it could have been The Daily Iowan), but I never saved a copy of it. I may do some googling to see if there are any old articles about it.

Funny how no helmets disappeared after Jeff moved to California. :)

So happy you got to read this memory of Jeff.

Randee said...

may his memory be only and always for a blessing

George J aka Shecago said...

Nice Tribute Steve. Jeff was a goodfriend of mine in Redondo Beach. He is missed. I am donating $25 in his memory for merican Heart Association heart walk in september 2010 in San Francisco. Jeff and i became friends. WE both were wrestlers, we liked wine,we enjoyerd talking philospohy. Great guy.