Fall '01 - Jeremy at NY Waterways Landing

Dedicated to 

Jeremy April

4 July 1983 - 29 April 2002



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On this 3rd anniversary of Jeremy's death and in this year of '05 when he would have graduated from Union College, we set for him a memorial of granite...  stone born in the dawn of time and thrust heavenward as  mountains in Vermont, mountains that he so dearly loved and eagerly accepted as challenge. His friends still visit him. A Vermont stone bench overlooking his Hudson Valley home brings all together.


Three Six years later; still no answers.  Yet, one thing has become crystalline clear: Taking one's life is never the answer to any problem. It merely shifts the pain to so many others, passed undiluted and unmitigated to each - pain that can not possibly be any less than that Jeremy endured in silence. For us, life goes on because it must - a life obviously so very much changed, yet so very challenging. The hole that Jeremy left is still there... and always will be. It does not go away; it does not get any better. What we seem to learn is how to avoid falling into that emptiness or at least to try.


Oak Hill Cemetery overlooking the Hudson River at Nyack

Rather than silently enduring depression, Jeremy needed to talk. Had he embraced therapy, he would be with us today - learning to manage his depression instead of the tragic reverse. Now, his family and some close friends have been in and out of therapy, trying to understand what cannot be understood, trying to accept the un-acceptable, and desperately missing him.

So now we wish Jeremy's classmates in the Graduating Class of '05 at Union College the very, very best - as we would were Jeremy graduating.  We also wish those Graduates of the Classes of '05 everywhere, who graduated with Jeremy from The Dwight-Englewood School in the Class of '01, the very best for a bright future.  Jeremy enjoyed your company and surely would be proud to be among you.

 The Aprils - Nancy, Ernie & Geoff
29 April 2005

Jeremy April, 1983-2002: From Mount Snow B-Team...to US Ski Team.

Park City, UT (April 19, 2002). Head US Aerial Coach Matt Christensen called Jeremy April with the good news that he had been awarded a position on the US Aerial Team for the 2002-2003 season. This season as a member of the US Development Team, Jeremy climbed the podium four times: He took the Bronze Medal in the NorAm at Fortress, Canada; two first places in the Eastern Inverted Aerial meet at the Lake Placid Olympic Jump Complex; and a Silver Medal in the Junior Olympics at Sugarloaf Maine.

 Back Full at Waterville Valley, 2000

Currently ranked 7th in US Inverted Aerials, Jeremy's position on the US Aerial C-Team would have provided starts in World Cup aerial events at venues within the US as well as all NorAm events in the US and Canada. 

Skiing for the Mount Snow Freestyle B and A-Teams, Jeremy won a number of Eastern Division Championships in various single and combined freestyle events. Jeremy climbed the podium at US Freestyle Championships several times, including Gold Medal 1999 Upright- Combined, both a Silver Medal 1999 and a Bronze Medal 2000 for Inverted-Combined, and a Bronze Medal in the last-ever Acro event in the 2000 US Freestyle Championship. Jeremy also received the Inverted Aerial Silver Medal in the 2002 Junior Olympics.

Jeremy recovered fully from knee reconstruction last year. He competed with the Eastern Inverted Aerial Team and, in recognition of the outstanding coaching and development opportunity at Mount Snow, listed Mount Snow as his home mountain.

Proud to be a "Combined" freestyle competitor, Jeremy was a outstanding Acro competitor and extremely pleased with his first place Mogul finishes in the Eastern Division. But aerials was his forte. He will be remembered for his signature style jibbing big air in the Josh Berman film Balance.

Jeremy always lived in Rockleigh, NJ, and graduated from the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, NJ. In his first year at Union College, where he was in the Scholars Honor Program, Jeremy majored in math with a minor in classics. He found the Union trimester system especially well suited to both training and competition schedules without academic compromise. He took the winter trimester off completely to train and compete then added one extra course spring trimester and also expected to do the same this fall. It seemed to be working well for him. Turning 19 this year, Jeremy would have been eligible to perform triple maneuvers which he had been practicing last summer at the Lake Placid and Park City jump complexes. 

Ernie April
19 April 2002

I wrote the above for the Mount Snow Ski Club web site 
10 days ago, 
when Jeremy was appointed to the US Ski Team. 
How could I have thought that it would be the basis of Jeremy's obituary.

Jeremy took his life on April 29th, 2002, at age 18 years, 8 months and 24 days. He was an outstanding scholar-athlete who excelled at both, a superb aerials coach, and a role model for freestyle competitors. At his young age with much to live for; he apparently made the mistake of not realizing that life itself can be the ultimate competition - one he no longer wished to face. Loved by a few, admired by many, and liked by all...
he is missed painfully.

Nancy, Geoffrey, and I thank everyone for their kind thoughts and warmest sympathies.

Ernie April
Tue, April 30, 2002

Rather than Morn the Absence of the Flame,




Jeremy in D-E Classroom, Spring 2001 - Calliope Magazine dedication photo, Spring 2002 Issue - Dwight-Englewood School

Jeremy April

at The Dwight-Englewood School, Spring 2001




Let Us Celebrate how Brightly it  Burned.

The Sound Track for this page is  
Tribute to Jeremy:
On The Wing (Part I) 
Mike Smith, a member of the Canadian Aerial Team
[Due to size, the load time for the MP3 may not be immediate, but worth the wait]

To all… The April's Reply

Subject: Jeremy
Date: Tue, 9 May 2002 12:30:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: ewa1@columbia.edu

To all...

How we wish Jeremy did not have to die young. How we wish we did not have to attend or speak at his memorial services. How we wish we did not have to write this letter.

That Jeremy was a very special, multi-dimensional person became apparent to us some years ago. He established himself solidly in the sport he loved as he competed widely through North America and Europe. Everyone knew Jeremy was a competitive skier, but few understood his mastery of the sport to which he had begun to bring innovation by his application of physics. He was one of the country's best in inverted aerials. He went off to Union College with a scholarship, advanced standing and advanced placement, majoring in Mathematics and Physics with a minor in Classics. Everyone knew he was a scholar, but few understood the gifts he displayed as a freshman in junior-level math courses and the insight he brought to his other courses. He more than excelled academically; he was setting the bar here, too. Everyone knew Jeremy as a polite, appropriately goofy, warm and caring individual. Few understood the depth of his compassion for others, his ability to reach others and effectively help them in times of need. He truly was a "mensch."

As a kid, he had an avid interest in competitive sports - anything with a ball. Even skiing, he said with that wry Jeremy-smirk, "required two!" He loved baseball for the combination of the skill necessary to be good, but also for the canny, intellectual side of that game. Without fault, he always knew where the play was. Yet, Jeremy was not a home-run hitter. With a good eye, he could draw a walk and keep going, turning the base-on-balls into a stolen second. Before two pitches, he had stolen third. Then hopping about with a long lead on the third base line, he could distract the pitcher and tempt a throw to third while he stole home. He'd turn a walk into a "home run." That was the essence of Jeremy. Whether camping, sailing, or just hanging out, he would make something good happen one way or another.

Others describe Jeremy as one who could "do it all." And, he did - almost. So accustomed to helping others and lightening their burdens, he lost sight of the fact that, in this game of life, teamwork is equally essential. Unfortunately, he did not share his problems. He did not feel comfortable talking about himself. He tragically lost touch with his own reality. He so mistakenly felt that there was nobody - not his friends, not his coaches, not his girlfriend, not his family - to bounce his increasingly warped viewpoints off in that all-important reality check. As the bottomless chasm of sudden depression yawned, superimposed on apparent chronic depression, his distorted sense life became too much to bear.

Somehow, Jeremy did not fit the usual depression model; did not exhibit the usual depression warning signs. Even posthumously, he passed the "depression check lists" with flying colors. What teenager doesn't have occasional social problems? Show me a teenager who isn't occasionally bored? None of the other dozen "signs" fit at all.

"Why, Jeremy, why?" echoes without answer. We encourage contributions to the Jeremy April Fund at the Department of Child Psychiatry of Columbia University with the hope that new answers will come forth and perhaps prevent even one other wasted life and aborted promise. There must be hope…

So…we mourn the loss of Jeremy, not so much as our son, but as a son of a vastly larger community. We gave Jeremy to the world as he went off to National and International competitions. We gave Jeremy to you as he went off to College to find his way into manhood, perhaps greatness in his beloved sport, and likely success with his developing interest in Medicine.

Over the past week, your emails, cards, letters, phone calls, and in-person conversations have consoled us, provided a sense of balance, and guided us through the time-proven ritual for dealing with Jeremy's loss. It is just amazing to see the number of lives Jeremy touched in some way. Thanks for being there for us…for Jeremy.

We are so sorry, Jeremy, that you felt that we were not there for you in your time of intensely desperate personal need. Jeremy, we miss you and love you…always and forever.

The Aprils - Geoffrey, Nancy & Ernie
Tue, May 9, 2002


To Remember Him

By Geoffrey April
October 7, 2003 

          I still have his letter. I keep it in my desk under a stack of papers. I first read it with my mother, sitting on her bed in the hospital intensive-care unit where she was recuperating from surgery. We were alone in the room. The only sound was the beeping from the machines to which she was connected. We sat there, my brother’s suicide note shaking violently in her hand, trying hard to make sense of the situation.   

          In the days that followed, I took my mother’s place in the preparations for the funeral. It became my responsibility to assist my father in making the decisions concerning my brother’s coffin, his burial plot, and how his services would be run. It was I who chose the clothes in which he was buried. It was I who chose the pictures to be displayed at the wake. It was I who, upon viewing my brother, gave the final decision to have an open casket. I was later told that I was the stabilizing factor that allowed the funeral to proceed without flaws. This was because I was the only one able to constantly maintain my composure. Yet, when I watched the coffin as it disappeared under the earth with flowers and trinkets taped to the top, I finally felt the loss that everyone else had been struggling with all week. The knowledge that I no longer had a brother, that my children would have no Uncle Jeremy, filled me with rage, and I could only think, “What a waste of a life.”

          It has been more than a year since Jeremy's death, and I am only now becoming aware of the true legacy that he left for me. I realize that I have learned about integrity through his mistake of not being true to himself, but instead being a prisoner to pleasing other people. I now know that no matter how pressured I am in life, I will never lose sight of who I am, for I have seen the consequences of doing so. I gained courage and perhaps audacity through his fearlessness in competing in inverted aerials for the US Ski Team. Furthermore, I possess a new sense, a concern for others, formed from watching him consistently help his friends in need, including me. It was through his faith in me that I decided to attend Tabor Academy and follow my own path, not his path or that of my parents.

Now, since his death, I feel as though his admirable traits have seeped into me, helping to create a better person. Although we were never extraordinarily close and were quite different, I am so grateful that he was my brother for the first sixteen years of my life. I now understand that his life was not wasted, for without him, I would not be the young man I am today. He will remain my greatest inspiration. Admiration has replaced the rage.   

October 7, 2003        
 (College Admission Essay)


to be remembered


Fall '01 - NY Waterways Landing


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Sound Track: Mikey SmithTribute to Jeremy: On the Wing (Part I)