After Jonathon Mayers was killed rushing to help his young family, his loved ones are remembering the 29-year-old as a family man who would do anything for those in his life.
It was on the evening of Aug. 4 when Mayers got onto his quad, intent on driving home to pick up some tools to fix a flat on his truck. In the truck was his wife Keisha and his boys Matias, 2, and Silas, 1. He never made it home – his quad went off a forest service road embankment past Union Bar Road in the fatal crash.
Hearing the news of the death of her first born-son, Tracy Mayers said all she could do was put the phone down at her home in 100 Mile House and scream. “All I could say was no, no, no,” she said. “They’re supposed to bury us, they’re supposed to take care of us and make the final decisions. Not us, make the final decisions on what to do with (our child), 29 years old, so young.”
Two weeks on, Jonathon’s death is still unreal to Tracy and Jonathon’s wife Keisha Mayers. They keep waiting for him to walk into their home and tell them he’s back. “I think that’s the hardest thing, recognizing that we’re not going to wake up from this bad dream,” Tracy said. “It’s real, even his dog knows.”
”Jonathon was a little bit of a holy terror,” his mom remembered. “He was an active child, let’s put it that way.” He is her first child, the one who made her a mother, and always had a love for the siblings who came after him. He named his brother Danny while Tracy was still pregnant with him, and his sister Kayla was his ‘princess’. “He wanted his family to be happy,” Mayers said of what he wanted out of life. “He wanted his family to be whole,” Keisha added.
There was an energy to Jonathon that stretched into adulthood – he was always on the go, always doing something with his young boys. “He’d be rushing you into the shower like ‘Why haven’t you showered yet? Let’s go’,” Keisha remembers. Being out in nature, hunting and fishing, was a passion for him. A moose hunting trip was being planned for dad Patrek and the children to go on – it has now been cancelled in honour of his passing.
As a young man, living in Hope, Keisha said he had somewhat of a reputation as the town’s “hooligan.” “If there was trouble he somehow found it,” Tracy remembers. He thought before he acted, she said, and often protected ‘weaklings’ and would get in trouble for it later.
Keisha remembered with a laugh a story from when he was in kindergarten. He drew a woman with a voluptuous chest and got himself temporarily removed from school for this artwork, she remembered.
“There’s nothing that boy wouldn’t try or do if he had the chance,” Tracy said. Even last year, he was dared by his friend to climb up a tree and jump down onto the trampoline in the backyard. “It should have gone good, it really should have,” she recalled. Instead, the trampoline now has a dent and the video of his jump went viral for a time.
He would jump into things – Tracy remembers his first time driving a snowmobile, locking in and driving right into the side of the house. He would also jump to help others, once saving his friend who was drowning in a river.
“But that was what John was, he never ever thought about his safety – he saw somebody in need, it didn’t matter, he would risk his life,” Tracy said.
The day Jonathon passed away he was also jumping to help his family. Silas was teething and had spiked a fever during a family outing, so Jonathon jumped onto his quad to get his loved ones out of the bush quickly.
Then 19, Jonathon met 15-year-old Keisha in 2011 and the pair were together since then, they married in 2014. “Right up to the very last moment, he loved that girl with all his heart,” Tracy said. She remembers that her son always wanted to be a father, and planned to have many more children than the pair eventually settled on.
A memorial was held for Jonathon shortly after his death, where friends who Tracy didn’t even know her son had came out to hang a bright turquoise cross, handmade and decorated with flowers and teddy bears. “John didn’t care who you were, or what walks of life, he didn’t care if you were rich or poor…if you wanted to be his friend and you’re a good person, that’s all he cared about,” Tracy said.
And Tracy, since her son’s passing, has gone back into her phone records to realize that he had called her very near every day. It was often just a short call to tell her he loved her. “I was never far, they people he loved were never far from his mind – his kids, his wife, his dad, his brothers,” she said. “If I could describe him in one word, I would describe him as a family man, through and through.”
After living on Vancouver Island for a time, Mayers returned to Hope to work for Monday Contracting as a roofer. It was a career he’d had a heart for, for the past 15 years Keisha said. Eventually, at the young age of 27, he founded his own roofing company. Ever the family man, he named his company Jmks Roofing – the Jmks stood for Jonathon, Matias, Keisha and Silas.
Since his passing, Tracy has been flooded by messages from people she didn’t even know, telling her about what kind of a man her young son had grown up to be. “The things I heard from people was he was fair, hardworking, honest, always went the extra way for anybody,” she said. “He would give the shirt off his back and not even ask for it back.”
Mayers said Jonathon’s final words, if he was able to speak now, would be thank you: “Thank you for giving him a chance, him and his company, everybody out there who was willing to take a chance on him.”
A Gofundme online fundraiser has been set up since Jonathon’s passing, which has raised nearly $6,300 of a $10,000 goal as of Aug. 18.
Tracy said Keisha has chosen to put anything raised over and above the costs of arrangements and relocating into an account for the boys’ future education.
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