On Sunday, January 17th, a sweet friend who had battled cancer for the last 3 1/2 years is now at peace and watching over us all. The loss of Kevin Jumper is a tremendous one. He was always kind and loving and he knew how to bring a smile to my face. I only knew him a few years but I spent the last 9 months messaging and texting him regularly and we became friends.
As I write, I can only think of how selfless Kevin always was. He never complained about his condition. He only focused on the battle ahead and how to beat his cancer. I remember the last time I hugged him tightly at the Brickhouse Grill a couple of months ago. Kevin looked swollen that evening from his chemo treatments, and his voice seemed raspier than I remembered. He always looked me right in the eyes, and it felt like he was looking into my soul while pouring out love. I told him I would continue to pray for him often and that he was loved.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Brickhouse Grill to hear a couple of ridiculously talented friends and local musicians, Oz Cullum and Nathan Crouch, play. Nathan and I were chatting, and I asked him if he heard Kevin was recently diagnosed with pneumonia. He said he had and we talked about how we admired Kevin for his consistently positive and optimistic outlook.
Kevin shared an article on Facebook on October 18th, 2015, written by the Jonesboro Sun by staff writer Staci Vandagriff titled, “Jumper’s best advice: Always keep a positive attitude.” She wrote about how Kevin was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in September of 2012. Kevin had 35 rounds of radiation and 20 rounds of chemotherapy.
He never complained and always focused on staying positive throughout his long days of treatment. He shared with Ms. Vandergriff, “One of the hardest things is the fact that you’re losing friends because people don’t know how to react to it (cancer). But then again, you also realize who your true friends are.” Kevin was a faithful friend to everyone, regardless of their condition.
Kevin loved to give back to the community by feeding the hungry at the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry on Huntington Dr. in downtown Jonesboro. He was always gracious and thought of others first.
As a believer, he said he never questioned God. He advised others battling cancer to “stay positive; don’t ever get down on yourself. To stay positive and keep a positive attitude is part of the best medicine. I don’t look at it as I’m dying of cancer; I have to live with cancer.” This is great advice to us all. It’s important to be grateful and to remain positive and optimistic no matter what we are facing at this moment.
Now, as I mourn the loss of a man loved by many, I can’t help but think of what he would want for me. He wouldn’t want me to cry. He wouldn’t want me to be sad that he is gone because now he is flying high with the other angels just like him.
Kevin Jumper was a great man. The best way to honor greatness is to carry on with a smile on our faces, love as he loved, and be grateful for the time we were blessed to have with him during his 42 years on this planet.
Fly high, sweet friend. You will remain forever in my heart until we meet again. Arrangements were made for Kevin at the Emerson Funeral Home in Jonesboro, AR.
The funeral service will be at 2 pm Thursday at St. Timothy Anglican Episcopal Church with Father Ron Martin and Dr. Glen Putman officiating. Interment will directly follow at Old Bethel Cemetery, with Emerson Funeral Home in charge of all arrangements. Serving as pallbearers will be family and friends. Honorary pallbearers will be the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Visitation will be Wednesday evening from 5-7 pm at Emerson Funeral Home.
Instead of flowers, the family request that you consider the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry, PO Box 19182 Jonesboro, AR 72403, or 870.935.7298; American Cancer Society PO Box 22478 Oklahoma City, OK 73123, or 1.800.227.2345; and St. Timothy Anglican Episcopal Church 419 W. Highland Dr. Jonesboro, AR 72401 or 870.932.8818, in loving member of Kevin Jumper.