David Damon Jeffres: Navy Musician, Then Language Professor at Hartwick

In Memoriam

David Damon Jeffres, 91

Navy Musician, Then Language Professor at Hartwick

David D. Jeffres

David Damon Jeffres died peacefully at home on May 2, 2021, at the age of 91 following a 13-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was surrounded by his family and canine companion Rocky.

He was also a loving husband, father and devoted college professor.

He was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on November 2, 1929, the son of Edgar Perry Jeffres and Sibyl Irene Jeffres.

He graduated early from Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs, IA, at the age of 17, so he could enlist in the Navy.

After graduating from the U.S Navy School of Music he served honorably for four and a half years during which time he played trumpet in the Navy band, achieving the position of musician first class.

Following his discharge from the Navy, he earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Education and French, respectively, from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and completed PhD coursework in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas and SUNY Albany.

David taught Spanish and French at the Universities of Texas and Wyoming before relocating to Oneonta, where he taught Spanish at Hartwick College for 33 years. He was a gifted teacher who believed that cultural immersion was the only way to truly learn a foreign language. To that end, he was instrumental in establishing Hartwick’s first international study programs to France, Spain, Mexico and Guatemala. During his years at Hartwick he took many student groups to Spain and Mexico so that they could fully embrace the language and culture.

He was a talented storyteller and entertained many with his gregarious and lively spirit.

His hardscrabble upbringing during the Great Depression had a profound impact on him, and thus, he devoted his entire life to securing a better future for his children.

In his younger days he enjoyed running, water skiing, hunting and fishing. He loved music of all genres, but especially from the Big Band era. Mostly, he just enjoyed being with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Candace; three sons, Damon of Bellbrook, Ohio, Royce of Brooklyn, NY and Travis (Emily) of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and three daughters, Deborah Lukehart of Page, Arizona, Thalia Jeffres of Wichita, Kansas and Hylarie Kochiras of Athens, Greece.

In addition, he is also survived by grandchildren David Lukehart, Nathan Lukehart, Everett Jeffres, Indigo Jeffres, Changa Changa Enamienge, and Xia Min Shao; eight great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents Edgar and Sibyl, brothers Edgar and Ralph, and his grandson Jonathan Lukehart.

We would like to thank our family, friends and neighbors for their support over the years. In addition we would like to thank Total Care Connection, Palliative Care and Hospice for their compassionate care over the past weeks.

We would especially like to thank our beloved friend Christine Holbrook for her many years of loving, devoted care.

There will be a private graveside service with military honors at Mica Hill Cemetery in Durham, Connecticut, in August at the convenience of the family.

If desired, memorial donations may be sent to the Milford Fire Depart-ment or the Alzheimers Association.


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