Tributes from friends
Below are tributes from some of Jerry's friends. To read the eulogy given by Jerry's friend Adam please click here.
"Jeremiah loved learning, yet lived very much in the present, sampling the various flavours of life. What I admired the most about Jeremiah was his need to question things. He never accepted anything he didn't understand or agree with. He was never afraid to ask questions or to voice his own opinion. Loosing someone as unique as Jeremiah has left a dent in the hearts of everyone who knew him in Paris, but it is a space overflowing with fond memories."
With love Sarah.
To Jeremiah's family,
Jerry always made me smile. I remember one day I sneezed in class and held my nose tightly as I didn't want to make a loud noise. Jerry then lent over me and wrote on my book how I really shouldn't sneeze this way as the build up of pressure was not good for me - he even drew a wee diagram, which set us both off in fits of giggles for the rest of the class. Jeremiah was always enthusiastic in everything we did, whether it was searching fro a crepe that tasted better than those he got from a little man in London, or going on an "adventure" to Monet's Garden. I will always cherish the last day that Jeremiah and I spent together. We went shopping for a birthday present for Maya. He knew exactly what he wanted to get her - a necklace - but I guided him to the best shops and let him borrow my neck for the day. After choosing the perfect necklace we gave up on shopping and went to play with puppies in the pet shop. Jeremiah was one of my best friends and I miss him so much. I am so lucky, and so proud to have had your son as a friend.
My heart is with you.
I only knew Jeremiah for about two years, the time that we studied together in the British Institute in Paris, but in him I discovered a real soul mate, and we ended up being really close friends. Before I got know him I didn't know what it's like to be completely on the same wavelength with someone. Actually in the first year I was very intimidated by him because he always corrected me when I was speaking English and used to torture me with loads of difficult and "posh" words in his speech that I couldn't understand, English being only my second language after Finnish. But towards the end, we hardly needed any language to communicate; there was a total mutual understanding without words between us.
Jeremiah always wanted to find answers even to questions that don't have answers,
Jeremiah was a great guy who had friends no matter where he went. We always had a laugh together. He used to put on an Irish accent and said typically Irish phrases (especially from Father Ted) to make me laugh. He will be dearly missed and you are all in my thoughts and in my prayers.
Jeremiah was a kind, intelligent person who was liked by all at the Institute. We would like you to know that he will be sorely missed by our little community here in Paris and that we will remember him throughout our time here, and especially at the graduation ceremony that we would have shared with him.
Jeremiah was one of those characters who always had something interesting to say. Cool and calm, he always sparked a conversation, whether with a hilarious story, or in a conversation about something very deep and meaningful. His passion for the arts was obvious to all that knew him, and I believe I'm not the only one in thinking he made the perfect choice in coming to Paris, It's a city he loved, and in which he was loved by many of us. My deepest condolences go out to you, the rest of the family and everyone else who knew and loved him in London.
Jerry was passionate about so many things: music, art, literature, film, politics.you name it, Jerry had something to say about it. Whenever I saw Jerry he was talking about something new he was doing or a new idea he had. What I really admired about him was his readiness to give things a try. Even if he ended up realising he wasn't any good at something, he'd have a damn good shot at it before he gave up. He was never afraid to speak up in class, and would come out with some pretty intelligent stuff while we all kept our heads down, hoping not to be asked any questions. At the same time, Jerry had an outstanding ability to talk utter rubbish and crack everyone up, but his abstract way of thinking made him different and we all loved him for it.
My strongest memories of jerry are going to concerts with him, and hanging out at his place listening to him play Hebrew songs on the guitar. He was lively spirited and liked by everyone, which is why his death has come as such a terrible shock to all of us.
By talking about Jerry and what he loved, we will continue to keep these memories of our smiley curly haired friend very much alive. We wont forget him. Our thoughts are with his family now, and I cannot stress to them enough how much we are going to miss him.
Friends from his Boarding School.
We spent many afternoons and evenings discussing literature and ideas together. I was always impressed with how broad his range of interests were and mostly found myself learning something new whenever I talked to him.
After we both left School we remained in touch and spoke to each other regularly on the telephone, meeting up when we could in London or at home, Jerry was always good company and never judgmental. I found it easy to share my thoughts and my faith with him.
I want you to know if you ever would like to meet or talk then I am available to you. Additionally , if I can helping any way, please be in touch.
Dear Erica and family,
I am heartbroken to have to write this letter. Jerry and I spent many summers with Adam's parents passing as their extra children. I don't have the words to expess these feelings but I do have a poem which Jerry wrote to me one Summer in France.
I send my love, I send my tears, I send my strength.
Jerry's Poem. aged 11 years.
You're like the eyes
On an elephant
Always staying in balance
With the Peace and Harmony
Of it's surroundings
More of Jerry's Friends:
I came to know Jerry at Christ Hospital School. We bonded through our mutual love of Bob Dylon, Leonard Chen and poetry. We spent Millennium Eve together. I visited him in Seaford. Whenever I met up with Jerry I knew him to be inquisitive, funny and hopeful. The last time I saw him was in Paris in January this year. It seemed well at ease and assured in himself. Everything seemed to be going well, and he was enjoying Paris. I know he had made lots of friends. I was hoping to see him again and catch up. I cant believe we have lost such a special person. I will always remember him as a happy hopeful person, with a free and poetic spirit.
I send you all my love and support. I'm thinking of you and of Jerry.
Till the day I too depart this world, Jerry shall always live on in my heart through the memory of a beautiful childhood of youth and innocence. I don't believe it would have been possible to have found a young man with a more angelic spirit and we shall dearly miss him.
Jerry was such an enchantment - growing up to be so tall and handsome - witty and dear - oh Erica - Remember the good times - Keep a good heart.
Dear Erica and Hugo,
We send you so much love and our thoughts are constantly with you. Jerry's loss is a tragedy for all of us - he was so special, so full of life and spirit, it is hard to believe that he is gone ahead of us - I like to think he is lighting the way, and will be there with a joke and the usual banter when the time comes for us to follow him. We will miss him terribly, but will always remember him with abiding love.
Katherine and Michael.
A thousand words wouldn't be enough. Your lovely son - it seems completely impossible to understand.
Diana and Brian.
Try to remember in the moments of despair which will come, how much Jerry was loved by you, and how much love he felt for you. I thought hard before buying you this little "angel" - because of the tale that goes with it, but Jeremiah still needs your love now, as much as ever. Never, for one minute think you could have done more to "protect" him, or watch over him. He will be thanking you for enabling him to be who he was - and is still.
Casting of flowers into the Seine Pont des Arts
Paris 2nd April 2003
We all met on the Bridge of the Artist ( Pont des Arts) - "The Head of the French Department of the British Institute, teachers, class mates and Janine, the lady who mothers all our students from the counter of the Institute snack-bar, and Jerry charming girlfriend Maya we met there because it was Jerry's favourite bridge. We did our best to celebrate Jerry's life, with our fondest memories of him. We threw rose petals into the Seine and remembered our curly headed friend Jerry with all our deepest love."
Mat's letter describing the scene:
"The scene on the Pont des Arts was moving. Here on a
the Seine was virtually Jerry's whole year group, united by
the man who made that feeling of solidarity possible wasn't there. The
of surreal disbelief that Jeremiah was dead hung heavily, but
broken and accepted by the tribute paid to him by Anna, one of
friend's in Paris. She told of the intelligent and philosophical
we'd all known. Of how it was impossible not to have a deep
with him and of how he made the most of being in Paris. There
Bridge of the Arts, we laughed through the tears, smiling as we
Jeremiah. It was typical and in some ways a tribute that
last act was the most wonderfully random yet. A group of us had
doing an anti-war protest in Paris, but when it was
but Jeremiah let it go. Another friend Ed, told me that Jerry
that he had
to do something active.
But it seemed to be this constantly questioning nature that he had that drove him to be incisive in theatre lessons and to take an active, part in all that needed people like him. The word "rare" is applied to many people when something this tragic happens, but despite the cliché, Jeremiah actually was a rare type of person; he did the stuff that the rest of us talked about. It seems it is that that led him to the protest in Germany with someone who seemed, unlike us to be going in his direction and on his level. I suspect that he would have appreciated what was said about him on the Bridge that evening and proud that he had us gathered there; all together.
As the "Institute People" walk across Abbey Road
the synagogue for the funeral, we'll no doubt appreciate the
of walking across the mythic Beatles Road, done for Jeremiah
The journey through nearly two years in Paris to Abbey Road,
to Highgate Cemetery has ended tragically, but never should
the place that Jeremiah held for so many people. The words of
that Anna [played on the Pont des Arts still echo:
"Cause I got too much life, running through my veins to go to waste."
To Jeremiah . Thank you for sharing that life with us.
Anna's Speech: On the Pont des Arts. The Seine. Paris.
10th April 2003
"I've been talking to quite a few people over the past days, and everyone seems to have some really nice and funny memories about you. I think the image you left in people's minds was exactly how you wanted it to be: intelligent, extremely funny, idealistic and slightly mysterious. Man you had style! Even the way you left us was so unique: going to Germany just like that, with people you hardly knew, Jerry only you could do something like that.
But this is so hard. You always were the first person I
when something happened and now you're the only one I can't
pain with. And you know how I always wanted to go to London,
I had never been to England, and we had been planning that trip
for ages; now it has to be your funeral.
"Ironic, isn't it?" you would say, and give me one of these little smiles of yours. I so want to light with you again Jerry. I miss you so much.
Though I know it would make you feel awkward to see me crying and talking like this. You always saw the comical side of everything. I want to tell these people that they shouldn't think what's appropriate and what's not in this situation, because Jerry hated everything that was fake and he loved everything that was out of the ordinary, and he always made people laugh, so please don't hesitate to remember him with joy. And Jerry, I know there's never going to be anyone like you again, and right now it hurts so much, but I'm still very happy that I got to be your Friend."
From the class at the British Institute. 21 June. 2003.
Jeremiah Duggan was a prominent member of the second year class at the British Institute in Paris. Not only did he have many friends from inside the Institute, but also he met people outside the university context: he cared deeply for others and was liked by everyone who knew him.
Jeremiah was a conscientious and committed student who was progressing with his studies. His passion for learning again extended beyond the course at the Institute, for he enrolled in a second degree, studying English literature in French at the Sorbonne. Any class without Jeremiah would feel empty since he was one of the few students to ask questions during lectures. He was never afraid to voice his own opinion; he would constantly challenge ideas and his inquisitive nature led him to speak up during any discussion. As One of his classmates said, "Jeremiah never accepted anything he did not understand or agree with."
Along with people, Jeremiah loved Paris. His passion for all art forms made him a great match for this city. He was an active student, constantly trying new activities such as attending concerts, conferences or exhibitions. The Director of the British Institute stated, "Jeremiah made the very best out of his time here in Paris." One could accurately describe him as a well rounded, well informed, and generally enthusiastic person.
The balancing force of Jeremiah's intellect was undoubtedly his humour. Everyone who knew him has commented on what a fun, light-hearted person he was to be around. Therefore the tragedy of Jeremiah's death remains a shock to the community of the British Institute; its untimely nature and questionable circumstances are uncharacteristic for someone who so embodied life.
From Students of the British Institute in Paris.
9-11 rue de Constantine