BREWER, Maine — Two of Richard “Rick” Jeskey’s sons wore their blue U.S. Coast Guard uniforms during his funeral on Saturday and all four of his grown children talked about how their father never forgot to tell them how proud he was of them.
“I don’t know where I would be without” his guidance, said his son, Andrew Jeskey. “Because of him, I’m wearing this uniform today.”
The body of Rick Jeskey, 53, was found brutalized and bloody June 13 in the bathtub of his Ohio Street apartment he shared with his wife, Roxanne Jeskey, 48. She was charged last week with killing her husband in a fit of jealousy.
Rick Jeskey grew up in a family of five on the Main Road in Holden and graduated from Brewer High School in 1976. He joined the Coast Guard and served for 16 years, his brother David Jeskey said.
“Some of his best and favorite years were in the Coast Guard,” his brother said, recalling the day he watched his uniformed brother step onto the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sherman for the first time. “Being in the service was very important to Rick.”
Rick Jeskey regretted exiting the Coast Guard and that is why he joined the Maine Army National Guard, David Jeskey said to folks gathered for the funeral at Calvary Baptist Church in Brewer.
“He served proudly with the 1136th Transportation Co. driving trucks” until he was honorably discharged for a medical condition, he said.
He instilled that love of service and country to his children, his brother said.
“A man’s life is often measured by what they leave behind,” Jeskey’s uncle Henry Snyder said.
He also said his entire family has a strong connection to Jesus Christ and were longtime members of Calvary Baptist, even though Rick Jeskey had not attended services for the last couple years.
“Rick and I knew Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior,” David Jeskey said, adding later, that “He is in paradise now, free of pain” and “I will see him again one day.”
Rick Jeskey’s uncle, Henry Snyder, also called on those at the funeral to look to God for guidance and told the people who loved and cared for his nephew to “think about his life and his children” instead of what happened to him at the end.
“In calling this a celebration of Rick’s life, we do not deny the horrible circumstances surrounding his death,” Rev. Roger Davis said to those gathered. “Rick’s family has experienced a loss and a depth of pain that perhaps none of the rest of us will ever understand.
“Although we do not pretend the circumstances were anything but appalling, we gather here today that we might put them into a bigger context — that we might help each other rise above the trauma and the hurt of the moment and see a much more pleasant vista as we gaze toward the horizon of the future.”
At the church, his four children told stories of how their father would take them fishing, play ball with them and, his daughter Claire Jeskey said, even go horseback riding though “he said he was afraid of horses.”
“He never forgot to tell me how proud he was of me,” Corey Jeskey said, a sentiment echoed by his other children.
His three sons, brother and uncle were pallbearers and carried Jeskey’s casket from the church to a hearse waiting out front to carry it to its final resting place.
After the funeral, family members and loved ones made their way to the Riverview Cemetery in Bucksport for the burial.
Staff Sgt. Lawrence Wonch, of the 195th Army Band in Bangor, played taps, and a U.S. Coast Guard honor guard, made up of Petty Officers Scott Nickles and Daniel Harn, removed the flag draped over Jeskey’s casket, folded it ceremoniously and presented it to his mother, Justine.
Afterward, Andrew Jeskey and Garrett Jeskey took the Coast Guard crests off their hats and placed them on their father’s casket.
After the relatives and friends of Rick Jeskey left the cemetery, flowers were removed from the top of his gray casket and his two son’s Coast Guard pins were moved to the center before it was lowered into the ground.
“I’m happy to say my father is looking down on us today from a better place,” Corey Jeskey said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the reason Richard Jeskey was honorably discharged from the Maine Army National Guard. He was discharged for a medical condition not an injury. In addition, a quotation in the story — “A man’s life is often measured by what he leaves behind” — was misattributed. It was said by Jeskey’s uncle Henry Snyder.