Jeffrey “Jeff” Colin McGovern

Celebration of Life for Jeffrey “Jeff” Colin McGovern, 35, Lawrence will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, January 8, 2016, at Plymouth Congregational Church. He died December 30, 2015, at Overland Park Regional Medical Center after an extended battle with many medical issues, including Burkitt’s lymphoma.

He was born on March 16, 1980, in Denver, Colorado, the son of Dr. James L. McGovern, Jr. and Jody C. Anderson. The family moved to Lawrence in the summer of 1980.

With the exception of three years at Topeka Collegiate, Jeff attended Lawrence Public Schools. He was a member of the first class to graduate from Free State High School. He attended Baker University and Johnson County Community College. Jeff was especially interested in computer systems and computer security.

Jeff had a life-long interest in sports. He particularly enjoyed watching KU men’s basketball, the Chiefs, the Royals, and more recently, Sporting KC. Jeff played wheelchair basketball as a youth and also participated in track and field events. As a representative of children with disabilities, he was honored to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game.

As a member of the Kanwaka 4-H club, Jeff served as the club treasurer and president and was a junior leader for several project areas. He had special interest in photography and shooting sports, winning awards for both his pictures and his skill with an air rifle. He was the 1998 recipient of the Ralph L. Colman award.

Jeff participated in youth activities and confirmation classes at Plymouth Congregational Church and became a member of the church.

Jeff had a keen mind and an amazing memory. He placed 6th in the National History Day competition in Washington, DC with a paper he wrote and presented about the Dust Bowl days. Jeff was also a National Merit Commended Scholar.

Prior to his illness, Jeff worked as an information specialist for General Dynamics in Lawrence. He provided answers and guidance, first in relation to immigration and naturalization questions and, more recently, about Medicare. He was twice honored as an outstanding representative.

His friends and family will miss his big heart, his unique view of the world, his acceptance of others, his infectious laugh, his quick wit and his love.

Survivors include his parents, Jim and Jody, Lawrence; two sisters, Jenna Bedwell (Ryan), Seattle, WA, Jamie McGovern (Will Sharp), Lawrence; maternal grandmother, Phyllis Anderson, Wellington, KS. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Don Anderson and paternal grandparents, Dr. James (“Jack”) and Jean McGovern.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

18 Condolences

  1. Kevin on January 4, 2016 at 1:39 am

    I didnt know you personally but I knew you on facebook. You were a cool dude, so sorry and rip

  2. Steve Mannering on January 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I met Jeff in 5th grade. I have fond memories of him. One thing we loved was playing video games. I lost track of him when I quit using Facebook over 3 years ago. I regret not keeping in touch. Rest in peace, Jeff.

  3. Cora Martin on January 4, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Jeff, you were always my hero and protector whenever we played D&D with our friends those years ago when we were in college.
    Thank you for always being such a good friend to Nat and I and loving and accepting us no matter what. We love and miss you dearly.

  4. Sherry Nelson on January 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I’m sorry to read about Jeff’s passing. I remember well his sense of humor and bright intellect as a third grader at Quail Run. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  5. Anonymous on January 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Jim and Jody, so very sorry for your loss! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  6. Emily Randel on January 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

    ‘His friends and family will miss his big heart, his unique view of the world, his acceptance of others, his infectious laugh, his quick wit and his love.’

    A perfect description. It was so clear that Jeff was such a source of peace and good in the world. I’d like to thank him one more time here for all his thoughtful and provoking Facebook posts, urging us all to be better (and to cheer a little louder!). Sending love to all the family and hugging you especially, Jody.

  7. Bruce and Karen Rowe on January 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Thinking about and praying for your family during this sad time.

  8. Janice Dixon on January 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Jim and Jody, my heart goes out to you. I remember when Jeff was born. He accomplished so much in his short life. I am sorry the world lost him and his special gifts. My parent heart grieves with you.

  9. Dr. Joel Weigand on January 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    We are so very sorry for your loss.

  10. Tabitha Garner Johnson on January 6, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Jeff I can’t believe you are gone. I’m going to miss talking to you on Facebook. Thanks for always being there for me. Thank you for all the chats. I’m going to miss you so much. I love you. Tabitha.

  11. John McGovern on January 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    A great friend, we shared the Family name, an acid wit, love of sport and Spina Bifida in common, on Facebook. I can’t be their in person on Friday Jeff. However, I shall look for your soaring heart and spirit, spirit, as they take their rightful place, in Heaven.
    You inspired, you cajoled, you championed, the cause of disability and non-disability sport, simply put … You’re going to be a hard guy to attain to and an even harder guy to ever forget.

  12. Dot Nary on January 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I was so sorry to hear of Jeff’s passing. What an impressive list of achievements and interests in the context of the considerable ongoing health issues he faced–that is quite an accomplishment! My condolences to his family members–such a loss. Wish I could join in the celebration of his life but I am having some health issues myself–hope your good memories sustain you.

  13. Sue Beeson on January 7, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    My heart goes out to your family Jeff. You were always so nice to us and I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with your folks about you for many years. The joys, the antics and yes the frustrations. As parents we often vent to each other. You acheived much in your short life. You will be missed.

  14. Alan Gaddie on January 7, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Jim & Jody, So very sorry to read of your son’s passing. We parents are not to outlive our children – my prayers and thoughts are with you during this difficult time. May you be Blessed with so many memories of your son and the achievements that he accomplished in such a short time on this side. May he be received by our Lord and surrounded by other loved ones that have already received their place in Heaven. God Bless.

  15. Doris Bell (Bus Driver) on January 7, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks,Dr.James & Jody for sharing Jeff with me,
    I was Jeff School Bus Driver of a while,
    Always recive a I picture of him and the girls at
    Sorry to here of his passing,he will be truly miss
    Will keep you in my prayers.

  16. Penny illig on January 10, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Jim and Jody,
    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.
    It is the very hardest thing to lose a child.
    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  17. Sandi Swisher on January 10, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Jeff was an amazing person. He will truly be misssed. I know he is now in Heaven and in no pain. My thoughts and prayers are with Jim, Jody, Jenna and Jamie.

  18. Matt Holmes on September 8, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I kinda hope Jeff’s family still reads this after all this time… I met him in preschool I believe it was… I remember hangin’ with him a few times when I was a kid. But as things go, we lost touch… But I’ll always remember him. I was a bit medically fragile as a kid too… So I def know what it’s like to struggle as he did. I hope he had a fulfilling life, and will fondly remember the boy I met so long ago until life, too, leaves my body. RIP Jeff.

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