Richard (Jeff) Jeffers

Obituary
1 entry
  • "I had the honor of playing for Mr. Jeffers on his two state..."
    - Valerie Stadick
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Passed away peacefully at home on March 20, 2014 after a long illness. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, raised in Salinas and Santa Barbara, graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1953. There he played varsity basketball, and was an active member of the Igniters Car Club. This club was known for their social gatherings, hot rods and bright yellow "Igniter" jackets.

After serving in the Naval Reserve, he married Mary Margaret Jones and moved to Lompoc to raise their family. Together they opened Jeffers Top Shop, specializing in auto seat covers and convertible tops . During the 20+ years in Lompoc, Jeff began restoring antique cars: notably a 1940 Ford 2-door coupe, affectionately referred to as "la bomba" and the "buggy," a 1939 4-door convertible sedan. He drove the sedan for weddings of family and friends as well as transporting an "odd" Christmas tree down Ocean Ave.

Jeff enjoyed softball and pitched men's fast pitch several years, then became well known as a girls' softball coach. His teams won state championship titles in 1972 and 1974 and put Lompoc on the map as a girls softball powerhouse. His calm, direct approach of coaching was well respected by players and their families. Two of his players advanced to win national championships. His daughter Jan attended UCLA, winning the AIAW championship in 1978.

After returning to Santa Barbara, Jeff continued to provide master upholstery for antique and specialty cars. Perfecting the art of leather for these cherished cars became his passion and many of these automobiles won regional and national awards. A visit to his shop was like a step back in time. Antique cars would come in disrepair and go out "perfect." Jeff taught himself and others model drawing, water color painting, and silk screening. He became very proficient at photo shop producing numerous photo books for his beloved family and dear friends. He was always ready to help with a pine wood derby race car, a cardboard city, a potato gun or a canvas bag.

Jeff participated in the Igniter's "Groovin' in the Grove" fund raiser. This annual event featured a car show, BBQ, live music plus live and silent auctions and has raised over $ 100,000 for the Santa Barbara High School Scholarship Fund. Giving to future generations has become a priority for the still active Igniter's.

Jeff was a 51 year member of the Elks Club and a former member of the Ventura V-8 Club.

Mr. Jeffers leaves his loving wife of 57 years, Mary, son Randy of Goleta, daughters Jan of Arlington, Ma., and Diane of Santa Barbara, 5 grand Children and his brother LeRoy of Santa Barbara. Two brothers, Finis and Hoyt preceded him in death.

Memorial Mass will be held 12:30pm, April 26, 2014 at San Roque Catholic Church, 3200 Calle Cedro. Celebration of Life reception will follow immediately at The Elk's Club, 150 N. Kellogg Ave., Goleta. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please support the Igniter Scholarship Fund, c/o Santa Barbara High School Alumni Association, P.O. 6121, Santa Barbara, CA 93160, Visiting Nurse Association/Hospice or .


Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Apr. 6 to Apr. 10, 2014
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