The memories linger of a man whose story elicits reverence, laughter and inspiration. James L. “Bud” Jeffery died Oct. 24 at the local care center.
“I met Bud when he came to my door wearing a pistol,” said Tas Blevins, a Vietnam veteran who spearheads the Toys for Tots holiday program
While Blevins thought this might be his final curtain, it turned out Jeffery was coming in from chopping wood. “Most people who go out in the woods around here carry a pistol,” Blevins said by way of explanation. “Bud hauled wood for people in need, told me the mine (Cripple Creek & Victor Mining Co.) let him go up to their property. He did so many things for people in the community.”
However, on a benign rather than ominous mission, Jeffery only wanted to see if Blevins could help a biker stranded on Teller 1.
But that was a long time ago. “He was my hero, a typical veteran of WWII who didn’t like to talk about the war,” Blevins said.
But give him a parade and he was all over it, slinging his M-1 rifle. “You put that old war horse in a line and it was all we could do to keep up with him,” Blevins said. “It made my heart sing.”
In a town where everybody knows everybody, the Jefferys stood out as a couple who loved and enjoyed each other. “They reminded me of two little 6-year-olds,” Blevins said. “Bud was what we all wanted to grow up to be.”
The Jefferys attended the Baptist church, whose pastor is the Rev. Dennis Peck. Peck laughs at one of his memories of Jeffery after the church bought the building from the Iliff School of Theology. “Bud cut the lock off the doors with bolt cutters,” Peck said, adding that the building was empty and in disrepair.
Devout Christians, Jeffery and his wife, Laura, were known around town for their ministry, the Tuesday lunches and Bible study, which are still going strong. “If we have done any good, it’s God’s doing,” she said.
Laura, too, cherishes the memories of her husband of 65 years whom she met on a hayride in Sacramento, Calif., where they lived at the time. “I was with somebody else,” she said. “Later, his brother called me and said Bud would like to go out with me, but he’s shy.”
On the second date, they went to a baseball game. “He held my hand so we wouldn’t get separated,” she said. “He never let go of it.”
They were married two years later, and in 1974 moved to Cripple Creek to care for their daughter, Judy, who was severely injured in a car crash. His first job was at the Rose Bud mine. Over the years, Bud worked as a janitor at the school as well as a bus driver.
“He took anything he could get,” Laura said. “He always felt that God saved him on the battlefield so he could take care of his daughter.”
For the past several years, Bud lived at the care center with regular visits home to be cared for by Laura and their friends. “He loved sitting on the porch watching the school bus after his Alzheimer’s set in,” Laura said.
Jeffery’s memorial ceremony was Nov. 10 at the Baptist church. Jeffery is survived by his wife and their children, James, Judy, and Rick.