Remembering Jeff Betz
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Below is a compilation of reflections from the Blazer staff upon our friend and valued contributor, Jeff Betz. His passing has affected us all, and we will not stop remembering the kindness and passion he brought to us.
“Jeff you had the best, most outstanding outlook on everything even though you had a legitimate reason to have the worst, and think people owe you everything but you didn’t. You were the nicest guy ever. You were everyone’s friend, Your sense of humor was one of the best things about you. I remember after I got done with P.E. freshman year I would walk out into the gym hall and you would be standing there across the hall by the metal door, you would always crack jokes and talk with Pits and I. That was before your lung transplant but you still had the best attitude. After your transplant you looked great and I was totally stunned when I found out what was going on with you the past couple weeks, I never expected you to pass on. I remember the first youth group event I went to, Sarah and I went to the Kitts’ house and pool. When I got there I was told you were going to be here. I was glad to hear it and see you again. When you got there you came over and sat by the pool and talked to Sarah and I. I remember you talking about your transplant and showing us your scars. You cracked so many jokes about breathing and you made us laugh so much and you lifted our spirits. You’ll be so dearly missed. There will be a huge hole in our hearts and there will be a huge absence of your jokes and smile. I lost a dear and awesome friend. You’ll always be in my heart and thoughts. You’ve motivated me to stay calm and happy no matter what happens/or is going on. I’ll miss you bud.”
– Tyler Towns
“Jeff was more than a friend to me but a big brother. He called me his little sister not just because he was a few months older than me but because he was taller than me too. Every time Jeff and I were together and someone would walk up to talk to one of us and he would introduce us as brother and sister and some people even believed us. Jeff and I had an inside joke about spheres and how they were coming to get us and the only way to protect our self was to wear tinfoil hats and one day at lunch sophomore year I brought tinfoil hats for us and we actually wore the hats all through lunch. Sophomore year Jeff had a big bow tie fetish and one day he took his bow tie off and set it down and I picked it up and tried it on and he told me I looked handsome and that I should take a picture and I did and Jeff and I laughed all through lunch about it and our other funny jokes. Jeff knew his time wasn’t going to be forever and said all he wanted to do was graduate and go see the Dolphins play and prior to that he told our English class he finally got Dolphin tickets and was going to see them in October. After Jeff’s surgery I finally got to see him at the church youth group pool party and he was outside the pool and Tyler and I spoke to him because Jeff couldn’t swim yet. Jeff did show Tyler and I his battle scars and told us he didn’t do it for nothing.”
– Sarah Covert
“Presented with obstacles similar to those that Jeff faced, many of us would not handle it with nearly as much class or courage. Not once did he show signs of fear or of self pity. Instead, he focused on making the lives of others brighter, telling jokes and sympathizing as necessary. While Jeff may be gone, the impacts which he has had on all of us here in Flushing will live on with us forever. One day, we will tell our kids about our classmate, our friend, Jeff Betz and how he did not once back down when faced with the unthinkable. Likewise, the title of Sports Editor will live on as Jeff’s for the remainder of Volume 66 of The Blazer.
Jeff exhibited his positive, selfless spirit through his decision to donate his organs, giving five other people the gift of life and helping scientific research move forward, as well as through his preference to have a celebration of life over a traditional funeral. Share your favorite memories of all the times that Jeff made you laugh, or impressed you. Above all, always remember Jeff, and the lessons that he taught all of us.”
– Andrew Roth
“I first met Jeff our sophomore year. He was thin, pale, and small, he tugged around an oxygen tank and a wheelchair. We were both part of the class that revived the Blazer after its 4 year hiatus. I remember how much he talked about the Miami Dolphins and how impressed I, a person who has little knowledge of sports was of his extensive knowledge and fascination with them. His enthusiasm always showed that there was at least a shred of hope left in anything. The summer of 2015, Jeff received a double lung transplant. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness for him, but I remember being very worried about his recovery and if he would be okay. My fondest memories with Jeffrey Betz were at our deadline nights which were both times of chaos, and celebration. However, we ate food together, joked around, scrambled to finish pages, etc. It always felt like a family holiday party on those nights. This past summer, we had our end of the year party about a week after our junior year had come to a close. We ate pizza at Andrew’s house and played charades using Apples-to-Apples cards for hours. I remember Jeff laughing hard at some of my guesses. Jeff and I were never too close, but he was close enough to me to call family. Losing Jeffrey does feel like losing a family member, but I’m so happy that he’s no longer in pain after his long battle. Before his passing, Jeff looked so happy, so strong, so healthy and full of life. I’m thankful to god for how healthy he became before he passed and that he got to finally do things that beforehand, he would have only dreamt of doing. I wish Jeff, my friend, my colleague, my family, the best of luck as he moves on to a beautiful, better place.”
– Emily Peterson
“I remember helping Jeff with the design of one of his pages last spring. I remember when he showed me the page for the first time, and I winced at how he had set up the article. I asked him if he could get me some pictures of students that were involved in the piece and if I could drastically change the design; “I don’t care, just do your magic.”
Jeff would ask me every day how I was doing. Sometimes I’d complain, he’d always listen. A friend and classmate of mine since I moved to Flushing in the seventh grade, Jeff made my stomach hurt from laughing more times than I can count on every appendage.
Jeff worked so hard on every article he wrote for the paper; this class was his place to shine. Jeff was formerly a Community editor of The Blazer during the 2014-2015 school year, and when I took over his job the following year, everyone constantly joked about how the Community section, under my reign, was much better than Jeff’s. I knew that was not nearly the truth. I had people pulling weight with me last year. Jeff practically handled Community all by himself in his first year, something I could never have even dreamed of last year.
Jeff symbolizes hope for The Blazer staff and the rest of Flushing High School. Throughout his struggle with Pulmonary Fibrosis, Jeff remained positive. Even on his bad days, he made us laugh, smile, and roll our eyes at his cheesiness. Flushing’s students cannot thank the Betz family enough for giving us such a wonderful person to grow up with.”
– Gabrielle Sanfilippo