It is with deep sorrow that I tell you my brother Jonathan has left this mortal existence. The cancer ultimately was just too much for his body to continue and he passed away peacefully today – surrounded by his sweet wife and children (ages 9-17), my parents, and other close family members.
It is with a deep testimony, that I tell you I know a loving Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. I know that we are not supposed to completely understand why certain things happen to certain people at certain times in this life. But it is a Plan of Happiness. It is a plan that binds families together for eternity. There is not a doubt in my mind that we will reunite with Jonathan again – and many, many other loved ones who have passed on.
Jonathan cultivated a very, very good life. He made a million small choices that not only led to his own personal happiness – but caused him to have a profound effect on countless other lives. A couple weeks ago a family friend set up a facebook group called Celebrating Jonathan Allgaier. In this place, hundreds of friends, neighbors, colleagues, kids, adults, and of course family members have paid tribute to Jonathan. He was able to see those messages, or listen as his sweet wife Tina read them to him.
Reading these personal and specific anecdotes have made me want to be a better person. I feel strongly prompted to share with you some of the ways that Jonathan cultivated a good life so that he can have an effect on you as well – even though most of you reading this didn’t know him of course. A lot of this comes from the insights that others have shared about him.
- He smiled and had a great sense of humor, which often resulted in people gravitating toward him just laughing and having a great time.
- He loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and did his best to follow in the Savior’s footsteps. Indeed he is an amazing example of great faith.
- He served for a number of years as a leader of the youth in church. Part of that, which included this recent year, was teaching an early-morning seminary class where teenagers would go to their home and study from the scriptures with him before going to school each day. Jonathan & Tina’s 2 teenage boys were part of that.
- As a teenager, he was up before the crack of dawn each weekday morning so that he could attend seminary himself.
Seriously – how handsome are my 5 brothers? Left to right: Steven, Kevin, Andrew, Jonathan, David.
- He served in many, many other capacities – spending countless hours serving others – and did so with enthusiasm and a great deal of love. One friend said, “At any service opportunity he was there and cheerful and working.” Jonathan was eager to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
- He liked being punctual.
- He was an Eagle Scout and guided his sons to become Eagle Scouts as well.
- He had a deep love for the game of soccer on many levels – but especially as he supported his own sons in the sport.
That’s Jonathan at the top – cheering on his sons’ soccer team last summer.
- He was an incredible musician – in a variety of ways. In fact, he went on to play in the BYU Marching Band and was known as part of the “scream team” because of those impressive, high notes he could play. He has used that same trumpet throughout his life to play “Happy Birthday” for many, many friends. He also led the church choir and had a way to get everyone excited, and polished, and really feeling the messages of the music they were singing.
- He spent two solid years of his life (age 19-21) serving an unpaid, full-time church mission in Montreal, Canada where he learned to speak French fluently, taught people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their language, and served the people in that area in countless ways.
With my parents and Jonathan last summer.
- He went out of his way to greet others and make them feel special and welcomed and befriended.
- He handled stress with grace. In college he learned that his car was broken into and a friend recalls how impressed she was about how calm he was, and how he didn’t feel the need to gripe or complain about it.
- I love this from a friend who said to Jonathan: “Though there are a lot of exceptionally talented people in the world, what sets you apart is the way you use your talents as you apply them in selfless ways to serve and enrich those around you.”
Have you noticed what his favorite shirts were?
- He fought so, so, so hard against the cancer in his body from the moment he learned about it December 2011.
- He was incredibly thoughtful. Not too long ago he visited our brother David in China and brought back with him a tie for each of the boys (youth at church) that he was serving at the time. He also made a point to attend every one of their high school graduations and went out of his way to visit people in the hospital, and … on and on.
- He was a devoted husband and father.
In front of the LDS Washington D.C. temple just recently.
- When some deaf people moved into their area and were a part of their congregation at church, he learned sign language and encouraged his kids and many other youth to also learn sign language.
- He was a very talented architect and structural engineer, working on many, many remarkable projects – including everything from the Olympics to a couple of his most recent masterpieces that are near & dear to our family: a fire hall and a community center for the little town in which we grew up. (Brunswick, Maryland)
- He genuinely cared about how others were doing – kids, adults, didn’t matter. Even as so many have been able to visit him at home these past weeks and months, he was known to turn the focus away from him, and ask how they were doing, and ask specific questions about goings-on in their life.
- He was a stalwart son to my parents.
- He was the best “oldest brother” we could hope for. Truly, he set the bar high for my other 4 brothers and me. We each adore him beyond words and will always, always look up to his example.
Me, Steven, Kevin, Jonathan, David, Andrew – probably 1979.
Jonathan truly cultivated a good life and left an honorable legacy.