William Prescott Jeffers, aged 57, passed away suddenly while cooking dinner in Tarpon Springs, Florida on August 19, 2022. Born on January 22, 1965, in Red Bank, NJ, to Maureen and William Jeffers, Will was a passionate, thoughtful and creative soul who relished quality time and good food with family and friends. Will’s most-cherished hobby was sailing; it was Lightning sailing that introduced Will to his beloved wife of 24 years, Laura Milne Jeffers. Together they traveled the world competing in regattas, enjoying new places and meeting new friends.
Will was introduced to sailing at age 13 through River Rats on the Navesink River, and it was this passion that led him to Tulane University, Class of 1987, where he was a dedicated member of the championship sailing team. He then settled on the west coast of Florida where he managed his own waterproofing construction business. Will continued sailing and was a regular in the J24, J22 and Lightning Classes. He was part of the winning team in many North American, National and Mid-Winter Championships, the highest achievement was winning the J24 World Championships in 1998 with Terry Hutchison, and 2002 with Brad Read. The experiences and friendships he made along the way were the biggest wins. Just this month Will completed the application process to become a certified International Measurer with World Sailing, giving back to the sport that brought him so much joy. He was very excited about this.
Will enriched every gathering with his exceptional cooking. His family takes some small comfort from the fact that Will passed while doing something he loved. His New Orleans barbeque shrimp were legendary, so much so that a brother-in-law once “sold” Will a sailboat in exchange for a lifetime supply of his shrimp. He never met a food project too complex, to the delight of his family and to the detriment of many ducks!
Will was also a gifted craftsman; his creations ranged from delicate jewelry and exotic wood kaleidoscopes to numerous home improvement projects, including the construction of a 5-star garage apartment. Another passion of Will’s was music. New Orleans-based musicians were his favorites, the Radiators, Neville Brothers and Dr John, but he also enjoyed reggae and the Grateful Dead. Back in the day, he was known for his collection of live concert cassette tapes. Jazz Fest in NOLA was always a favorite trip.
Will was a caring and loyal friend, boasting many friendships that have spanned decades and continents. Will is predeceased by his father, William Jeffers, of Fair Haven, NJ. Will leaves behind heartbroken friends and relatives in the US and UK, including wife Laura and their cherished dog Breezy, of Tarpon Springs, FL; mother, Maureen Jeffers, of Red Bank, NJ; mother-in-law, Barbara Milne of Manchester, NH; brother Mark and sister-in-law Laurie Jeffers of Fair Haven, NJ; sister Sue Carter and brother-in-law Nick Carter of Riverside, CT; and nieces and nephews and additional extended family across the United States. A celebration of Will’s life will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, with reflections at 2:00 PM, at Monmouth Boat Club, 31 Union St, Red Bank, NJ 07701. If interested in a charitable contribution in memory of Will, please consider a gift to the International Lightning Class Association’s Boat Grant Program. https://www.lightningclass.org/boatgrantdonation
Will was fortunate to see many of our Lightning Family at the Worlds in May and then again at WJM's in August. It's hard to believe that I have to share this news. Will's involvement in the Lightning Class has spanned decades and goes back to when Arnold Schwartz of Fleet 70 in Red Bank, NJ needed crew and he grabbed the kid next door to go sailing with him. Over time he has made so many friends. We have so many photos of the good times we've had. This is just a small sampling. I appreciate everyone who has been reaching out during this difficult time, thank you for the love and support. Keep on sailing! ~ Laura