Jeffrey Smith of Melbourne, Florida died at age 45 after complications from a stroke. He slipped into a coma and never woke up, even after whispering in his ear things like, "Back to the Future II is one of the greatest movies of all time." His many friends called him "Smitty"
but to his family he was a wise (often a wise ass), opinionated, larger than life, beloved son, brother and uncle.
Jeffrey was born in Lexington, Kentucky, lived a few years in Ohio but spent most of his time growing up in the "way too hot" Coral Springs, Florida. He was a devoted member of the school band as well as marching band at J.P. Taravella High School, an unrelenting Gator and graduate of University of Florida, a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats and any Cleveland team, a relic bookseller and barista of Borders bookstores, a verbose film, TV and book critic, co-host and writer, and a dedicated educator at John F. Kennedy Middle School - Jeffrey befriended, supported and inspired all those around him.
Jeffrey could have been a bartender in another life. His quick wit, dry sense of humor and uncompromising discussions about practically any topic would keep you talking for hours. Luckily, he became a middle school teacher, where he had a captive audience and was loved by his students and fellow teachers. Jeffrey taught English Language Arts, Math & Gifted classes during his tenure, led the Future Problem Solvers of America program, was editor of the school's literary magazine and the Creative Writing Club, scorekeeper for the school's athletics, and so much more. While he reveled in band during his high school days and made fun of his sister for her theater interests, she was both shocked and proud to see him direct the Summer Fine Arts Theater Program, Drama Club and performances for Big Fish, Peter Pan and Pippin. His true calling was teaching and he finally found it in these last few years.
To quote Jeffrey back in 2009, "If I died today, I think I would be the proudest of the fact that I have talked many people out of buying futons." We think he'd be proud of a few more things like finally beating his dad at Monopoly at age 41, launching his mom's knitting career on "the face book", being adored by his nieces and nephew, and stopping more people from organizing their bookshelves by color - except for his sister. These are in addition to other and arguably smaller achievements like being awarded his school's Teacher of the Year in 2020.
Jeffrey is survived by his parents, Robert and Elisa, his sister, Cristina, his brother-in-law, Scott, his nephew Jack (aka Action Jackson), his nieces Elli (aka Farley) and Stella (aka Bea Arkin), his extended family and many friends. The universe will be a little quieter without him - and not in a good way. He will be deeply missed by all those that knew him.
While Jeffrey would have likely wanted a Viking burial, Florida laws prohibited us from setting a boat on fire at the beach. So instead, he will be cremated, put in a book-shaped urn and placed on a bookshelf arranged in rainbow color. In lieu of flowers, please donate your money to Brevard Schools Foundation ( https://brevardschoolsfoundation.org/ ) in his memory and tell them you want it used for his school, John F. Kennedy Middle School in Rockledge, Florida. Hopefully they will name one of those rolling television carts in his honor. Preferably one with an old TV that has a VHS player attached. That way, when a substitute teacher decides to put on a terrible 1980's movie like Mac & Me, he can forever haunt his students.
Speaking of movies, Jeffrey was born with a box of popcorn in one hand and a movie ticket in the other. To celebrate his true love, here is Jeffrey's A to Z list of favorite movies which he would vehemently defend until his death. Unfortunately that came much sooner than anyone expected. And we'll never know if "Magic Mike's Last Dance" would have made the list.
Apartment, TheBirdmanConversation, TheDark Knight, TheEternal Sunshine On Spotless Mind, Fargo, Godfather 2, TheHoosiers, Ice Storm, Juno, The King of New YorkLobster, TheMidsommarNight of The Hunter, O Brother Where Art Thou, Prestige, TheQuiz Show, Royal Tannenbaums, TheSeven, Trainspotting, The Usual Suspects, Vertigo, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, X-Men Days of Future Past, Young Frankenstein, Zodiac
And while we have no doubt he would have much more to say on this topic, we end Jeffrey Smith's final scene with: