Jeff Prichard’s brief and courageous encounter with cancer came to an end on Tuesday, January 26, at 6:30 p.m. Though his body succumbed to the disease, his compassionate spirit endured to his last moment’s breath. He passed with his soft smile.
Jeff’s treasured circle of friends from Cold Spring Tavern and SOhO could always count on him to dance the weekend away. He would show up in one of his many Hawaiian shirts, and he never met a dance partner he didn’t adore. While his body became diseased, his mind remained crystal clear, and he was completely aware that the Soul City Survivors dedicated an evening of rock in his honor. That meant so much to Jeff.
Jeff’s “Sunday Breakfast Club,” as he always referred to it, was very important to him, and he would often have a hard time choosing: breakfast with his buds at the East Beach Grill, or going directly to his favorite secluded beach with his beach buds? Most of the time, he chose both, and simply rode his bike from one end of town to the other.
After working for a decade or so in the print shop at UCSB, Jeff worked with a partner as a multitalented handyman, refurbishing and remodeling residential dwellings. He could help any condo, house, or apartment building look and function like the most beautiful, elegant home in this beachside community he called home. Jeff worked diligently and with dedicated integrity. There was not a task or job that Jeff would not complete. He loved what he did, respected his clients, and had a wonderful business relationship with his work partner. They were close friends who worked perfectly together with a mutual understanding, common goals, and a robust respect for fun.
As much as he loved rock ’n’ roll and dancing, Jeff also loved the peace and beauty he found in the mountains of Yosemite, the Sequoias, Tahoe, and the high desert of the Saline Valley, among other places. Anyone who knew Jeff knew all about the Saline Valley, and had heard many nature stories from the backpacking trips he took. Jeff remained close with a core group of childhood friends, whom he grew up with in Goleta. Though some of these friends now live in Tahoe, Mariposa, and elsewhere, Jeff often got together with them and their families for backpacking trips, mountain biking, dirt biking, hiking, waterskiing, etc. He was so glad to have seen and been with them in his last few days of life. His periodic mischievous mishap stories of growing up in Goleta will be shared for years to come.
Jeff moved back to Goleta, into the house where he grew up, after living in Lake Tahoe for a while. He was the sole caretaker and provider for his aged mother and his disabled sister, who also lives in the home. Jeff’s 92-year-old father lives in a nearby retirement home and, like Jeff, maintains his love of music and dancing. “Merk,” as he is called, has often shared colorful stories about his days in the service and his work from the 1950s on Bikini Island. Jeff’s brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces, whom he adored, live in Oxnard.
Regardless of weather conditions, Jeff often was seen about town riding one of his many classic bicycles. He grew up surfing our local beaches and was the luckiest beachcomber. Jeff could find anything lost or anything needed. He had a secret angel that always showed him the most beautiful and rare shells that the sea offered up and graced our beaches with. He loved spending all day at the beach, walking, swimming, sunning, or visiting. He was a part of our beach family, and if he was going to join in, we all knew it would be a perfect beach day.
There is always more that can be said about this kind, gentle man with the wicked sense of humor. I was humbled by his generosity and by the respect he had for so many. He was in the prime of his life—a friend, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, son, business partner, and animal lover who some of us were very blessed to have had in our lives. He will be remembered by many for a very long time.