“I did it my way,” -Frank Sinatra
Jeremy was a person who had a passion for life and a thirst for knowledge and new experiences. In school, he played t-ball, soccer, football, basketball, ran track and cross-country, and was on the community swim team. He was an adventurous child and loved skateboarding and playing outside. Outside of sports, he took piano and guitar lessons. The guitar stuck with him throughout his life. He was extremely intelligent and relished talking about subjects like culture, philosophy, and music.
Jeremy grew up with an older brother, Rickey. They played together and watched movies, especially superhero movies like Batman and horror movies. Although they grew apart as they got older, they always kept in touch about new movies that were coming out. As a child, Jeremy looked forward to their family’s annual trips to the beach and would spend his entire day swimming with his brother and fishing with his dad and his uncles.
“Jeremy had a unique outlook on life and his approach to attaining his goals will never be forgotten by those who knew him,” says his mother, Debra. Jeremy was amid settling in Florida when he passed away. After spending a year in treatment, he fell in love with the natural beauty and decided to make a life for himself in Florida. He was extremely determined. He and was working two jobs and living out of his car so he could save money for an apartment. Jeremy did research on his material ancestry in Italy and felt called to explore the country and his lineage. He was in the process of obtaining dual citizenship.
Jeremy was intelligent but stubborn. He struggled in school and felt misunderstood, but nonetheless obtained his GED with high honors. After that accomplishment, he studied culinary arts at Del-Tech. There were two things in life Jeremy was extremely passionate about: animals and cooking. He was especially fond of cats and kept food in his car to feed stray cats and worked to find them homes. In the last months of his life, he worked at the Palm Beach Zoo as a cook. It thrilled him to have his two areas of expertise come together at this job.
His mother says that the hardest part about living with someone struggling with addiction was staying up all night worrying about where Jeremy was and what he was doing and wanting to take his pain away. Because of Jeremy, she now has a better understanding of the disease and is more sympathetic towards those struggling with it. She would like to do more to bring awareness to the issue and help others. “More than anything, I miss his daily phone calls where he would tell me about his day at work, the animals at the zoo, and his plans for the future. I was proud of the man he was becoming,” says Debra.
Jeremy’s mother, Debra Pierce, provided information for this narrative.
May 8, 1987 – January 3, 2020-Age 32
Portrait Artist: Shawn Faust
Narrative Writer: Victoria Estes