Cover photo for John Beverage's Obituary

John Beverage

John Beverage

How do you fit someone’s life into a brief memorial? Whether it is thirty three days, weeks, months or years, there is just no way. Our John was larger than life in so many ways. He never aspired to be an astronaut, physicist, scientist or any other great being. He never won a Nobel Peace Prize. John did more than some in those categories. John won the hearts of everyone he met and inspired people to do more and be more throughout his life. He was kind, loving, gentle and forgiving! Many have shared their stories over the past few weeks. It is incredible how many lives he touched and changed. We, in his family, know how big his heart was and how much he could love, but we are strengthened even more to know how much more love he spread throughout this world.
Thirty three years ago at ten hours old, he was in an incubator headed in an ambulance for a Life Flight to Salt Lake City and yet, it seems like only yesterday. His mom and dad had picked out a name for him before he joined his family in this world… Jared Clayton Beverage. He was born with a hole in his back and spine called Spina Bifida, which we had never heard of before. We were given a very grim prognosis for his future, knowing he could be paraplegic or die young. We looked at those big, broad shoulders thinking he should be a football player and the name Jared didn’t fit him. A nurse came to us and said we have to have a name to put on his certificate since he is flying, in case he doesn’t make it. We were stunned! Jackie’s mom, in her usual aggressive manner, stepped up and said, “His name is John! It means Gift from God!” And, it stuck! We found out later that the name John actually means “God has been gracious; has shown favor.” That is probably much more accurate in the case of our JOHN. He wasn’t always happy with his name for some reason. He wanted to be “Larry Gebhart” (the local news meteorologist and weather forecaster). If he could have gone on to be anything more than who he was, we like to think he would have been an outstanding vacuum sales person, meteorologist, narrator or 911 dispatcher. He loved these things as would be completely evident throughout his life.

John Clayton Beverage was born December 3, 1985 in Boise, Idaho into the family of Steve and Jackie Beverage, joining siblings, Chad, Cherie and Andre. His family had migrated from Boise 20 miles southwest to Kuna three months prior to his birth. They moved to the country to satiate his sister’s desire to have a horse! Kuna would be his home for the next 33 years and color his life in so many ways. His life would be tough, with many surgeries ahead for him, but he was also blessed in so many, many ways.

John was dedicated to the Lord when he was eighteen months old by Pastor Martin Gauby in his extended family’s church, Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise. He and his family continued to attend there for several years until they found a church home in Kuna, the Kuna Church of the Nazarene. John grew up in this church, first with the teaching of Pastor Gary Skaggerberg, and then to great friend and Pastor, Eric Seaney. All of these men and many others helped to shape and mold John’s love for the Lord, Jesus Christ. We know that John had it deep in his heart before he came to be with us, but we are so very thankful also that so many good people helped instill in him that there is a better life ahead of all of us than the struggles of the one we face here on earth. Pastor Skaggerberg once visited John in the hospital and told the congregation on Sunday, “If you are down, go see John! He will lift your spirits with his love and his smile!” Pastor Seaney baptized John on September 30 th , 2001 at the age of 15. He wanted to be bath”a”tized for a long time and finally got his wish! His aunt (empty) Karen introduced him to the “new” Christian Radio Station, KTSY in 1990 and it was a very big part of John’s life from that point on. He loved KTSY, their staff and the music and artists and stories and he would often share songs with others with a much deeper understanding of the words of those songs than we could even comprehend. He went on to learn to listen online and on his phone and he attended many concerts over the years of his favorite Christian artists, including MercyMe. Two of his most favorite songs were MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” and Danny Gokey’s “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again!” Listen to these songs today and allow the words to speak to your heart as they did to John’s. He loved all kinds of music, Matchbox 20 was an early part of his teen life and of course, from his childhood, songs from all of the Disney movies, especially the Little Mermaid which he made his sister watch with him daily and sing with him, “Part of Your World”. Again, the words at the time did not resonate to us, but listening now, “I want to be where the people are...I want to see, want to see 'em dancin', Walkin' around on those (Whad'ya call 'em?) oh – feet. Flippin' your fins you don't get too far. Legs are required for jumpin', dancin', Strollin' along down a (What's that word again?) street. Up where they walk, Up where they run, Up where they stay all day in the sun. Wanderin' free, Wish I could be, Part of that world.” This was John’s dream. He loved all kinds of music, NSYNC, Back Street Boys and New Kids On The Block.
His biggest love was for his family! He loved being with his family all the time. His greatest joy was any gathering with family and friends. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays! He loved his sister and brothers and nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and most of all his mom and dad and grandmas and grandpas. He also cherished close family friends and sisters in law so much and he always hugged everyone and told them so.

John attended two years of preschool at Butterflies and Bullfrogs in Kuna, graduating with his class to Kindergarten. He attended all twelve years in the Kuna School District and had many fond memories of teachers, aides, classmates and friends and his very special bus drivers. He graduated from Kuna High School in 2004. He was blessed to attend two additional years at Meridian Transition Program at Mountain View High School, where once again, he made many more friends. After his time at MVHS, he was able to get into the community through programs which allowed him to further his education and growth… kind of “life college” for John! He first attended Community Partnerships for about four years and became tired of the same routine, and wanted to find something different and more challenging to his life. That is when LIFE, Inc. became John’s life from that point on. He attended faithfully every day for many years only having a brief break of six months at Community Connections, then back to LIFE until he developed health issues in 2016 and had to stop for a while. He could not wait to get back to LIFE, Inc. That was his goal. He made it once again in 2017 and then, once more in 2018, health issues stopped him attending for the entire year. He was so elated this past January to once again return to his joy and do the things he loved to do with his friends and community family at LIFE, Inc. We know that although they had a big impact on John, he more than likely had a greater impact on the lives there and we know there is a super big void where John had been.

John did so many things throughout his life and found joy in everything. He loved camping and fishing and boating with his family. He was allowed to drive the boat one time and went in circles over and over. Adventurous, he would sometimes take off on his own in his wheelchair. One camping trip to Redfish Lake, his mom and dad and grandparents were preparing dinner when the camp host came to ask if their son was a in a wheelchair! He had gone wheeling down the road, went off the road and was hanging upside down in his chair in the bushes yelling, “Help me, help me!” It is laughable now, but terrifying at the time. Fortunately, nothing was broken, not even his spirit!

One of his dad’s favorite stories of John is when he was around nine or ten years old. He was becoming quite independent, getting snacks for himself. He got a cup and the milk and tried to pour it himself. Unfortunately the carton was heavy and the glass tipped and milk went everywhere on the counter and the floor! John, knowing how meticulous his dad could be over clean counters and floors, panicked his dad would come in from outside and have a cow. He didn’t know Steven was watching him from the window. John went back and forth to the sink for a dishrag, then a dishtowel and paper towels feverishly trying to clean up the milk and all the while running through the milk on the floor with his wheels making tracks everywhere! When his dad came in to confront him, John pleaded, “just a little more time dad, just a little more time!” Steven could not say anything he was laughing so hard!

His dad would make many adaptations to the home they built for John as well as his wheelchair and vans, making accommodations like his trapezes, ramps, lowered counters and such so John could easily access the entire house and eventually the cabin too! Steve and Jackie’s lives pretty much revolved around the life of John!

He attended many years of wheelchair camp at the Elk’s! He was not happy with them when he had to stop at age nineteen and told them so. He did not get to attend many of the adaptive sports programs, but he always had a fond affection for those who made life special for anyone like John, particularly Kelly O’Dell and Emily, and of course his Aunt Karen and cousin Christine who were his coaches for various years! He loved to ride his adaptive bicycle when he could. A stranger in Louisiana donated this to John and shipped it to him for free! When it came in a huge wooden box, he had no idea what was in it. He was able to ride it right away and was ecstatic! His bike will now be donated to the Adaptive Sports Program in his memory!

John was larger than life, but he was never arrogant about that. He had interviews with Tim Woodward of Statesman and articles about him and his great love for others in the Kuna Melba News! His “other” mommy, Lorra Glass wrote about him in 1998! His name was in lights (at the Arctic Circle) for his 14 th birthday!

John loved being the center of attention and he was for the first twelve years of his life! Then the nephews and nieces started to come along. At first, John was a little bit jealous. The camera and spotlight was no longer only focused on him. But, he soon welcomed their attention and devotion to him, giving them rides on his wheelchair, allowing them to fly on his trapeze when no adults were watching and sharing videos and music with them. He struggled when they pulled ALL the toys out of his HIS closet and any time they would cry, but he loved them all so much and it was evident in the way he held them when they were babies to the way he hugged then when they were grown!

Everyone who knew John personally knows how much he was fascinated with and loved vacuums! When first introduced to anyone, he would ask them what kind of vacuum they had, where they kept it, how well it worked and why they liked it. He owned various vacuums over the years, the first being the family Kirby and then the Rainbow (which was his all-time favorite and he always had to show his mom the mud in the pan when he finished each room). When he was about three, his brother Andre used to teasingly chase him across the living room floor with the vacuum and boy could John move in a combat crawl. Whether that inspired his fascination or not, we don’t know. Another time, he was helping our neighbor Steve, they were working on a vacuum together and Steve decided it would help to spray a little W-D-40 into the motor! Well, when turned on, the motor caught fire and again, John was moving at lightning speed to get home! At last count we had ten vacuums at home and four at the cabin. He didn’t make the Guinness book of world records, but he had fun!

John liked swimming, playing adaptive baseball and running wheelchair races in the Special Olympics where he earned many awards!

Some of John’s other joys in life were his fur buddies. When John was small, his auntie Sandy gave him a Shi Tzu puppy, Tuffy. This puppy was the light of John’s life and they developed a deep bond. His family had many dogs and cats throughout his life and we have photos of him hugging them all, but his next buddy was Bart the cat. A big, orange Tom tabby who owned John’s family. He was John’s best friend for ten years until he passed. John’s cousin Trisha felt the need to provide more fur love to the family first in the form of Hercules. It seems everyone knew who Hercules was… the little brown Dachshund with the great big personality. Trisha brought along another little Dachshund, Daisy, who with Hercules produced the progeny of Skippy (and his brothers and sisters who are all with family and friends). John experienced death in his young life of a beloved great aunt and then his maternal grandpa, but it was in losing Bart, Daisy, Hercules and Ziggy that touched his heart and soul. His Skippy was lonely and Lincoln entered our lives. He became John’s best friend, sitting under his wheelchair daily whenever John was home and begging to be on his bed each night and every morning. They had that special bond of man and dog and Lincoln misses John so much right now.

John had such a full and wonderful life in spite of his disabilities and illnesses! He had two very devoted grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles and special friends who all worked to help make John’s life as normal and good as possible. His bond with his sister, Cherie was so much that when she met the love of her life, Curtis Schmitz, John offered him money to give Cherie back, first $5, then $10 and finally a million! Cherie had always been MommyTwo to John from the time he was born. She helped her mom and dad out watching him, feeding him, spending countless hours watching Disney Movies like The Little Mermaid.

He developed a very special brother bond with Chad from the day he came home! While they were little they were like any other brothers, laughing, playing, and fighting over toys! But, it was in growing up that they became best buddies. John couldn’t always do the things his brother did like sports, but he was ALWAYS there cheering him on. And, when that day came that Chad met the love of his life, Ashley, John was there and jealous enough to announce that he wanted Chad to share her with him, and so he did. On their wedding day, John was Chad’s BEST MAN as he had always been throughout his entire life!
Andre was his big, big brother and while not home for long when he was young, they built a lasting friendship over the years and loved each other.

Thanks to his two brothers, John was an entertainer! More in the ways that they would go out of their way to make him laugh and snort until we would have to tell him “BREATHE John, Breathe!” John loved to prank or punk someone if he could and his mom believes he is still doing that now!

It was so funny to us when he didn’t get his way, he would cross his arms and put his chin down to his chest and give us his “Walter look”. When he was younger he would hold his breath until he turned blue and sometimes passed out! The first time this happened, it alarmed everyone, but then we grew used to it and laughed!

His one desire in the past few years was to fall in love and get married and have a family. John loved holding babies which is evidenced in many of his photos. We were so busy living our lives that we weren’t the best at taking photos and it was long before selfies, but we tried to capture the good and bad moments of John’s life. Mostly, there were good. The bad came in the form of illnesses, surgeries, ER visits, ICU and hospitalizations. He always came back to us though and he was healing and recovering so well! He fought a hard and valiant battle his entire life and particularly over the past three years.

He was blessed to not only attend Christian concerts but also The Blues Brothers Concert and local Shine Prom for three years and this past February, the Tim Tebow Foundation Night To Shine Prom. He loved dressing up and dancing any time he could.

John reached for the STARS and he touched them! Through the S huttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) program his class was able to go to the Discovery Center and speak with the Astronauts when they circled the earth and passed over Kuna! John asked a question and got answers from space! Quite an experience for a kid!

John was an honorary member of the Treasure Valley Avengers as their Incredible Hulk! First, because he was incredible and secondly because he was a lovable hulk. They showed up at St. Al’s for one of his many surgeries and lifted his spirits as much as he lifted them!

His favorite TV shows were Full House and Home Improvement (always laughing) and he watched Rescue 911 online, even doing a 911 performance at one of his many Talent Shows. He loved watching people on Facebook. He was like his Grandma Mary, always watching not commenting much… lol, but if he wished you a Happy Birthday, you knew you were blessed!
He was preceded in death by grandparents, George and Reta Himes, Mary Beverage, and cherished Uncle John Montoure and many great aunts and uncles and some cousins.

He is survived by parents, Steve and Jackie, siblings, Andre, Cherie Beverage Schmitz (Curtis), Chad (Ashley), grandpa Ray, aunts Karen Montoure and Sandy Murray, uncles Pat Murray and William Beverage (Terrie Havis), nephews Christian, Kyle and Mathias and nieces Gillian and Paige, as well as great aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family and friends.

A memorial celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Kuna High School Performing Arts Center on Deer Flat Road. A luncheon of John’s favorite foods will follow. A memorial fund in the name of John C. Beverage has been established at Idaho Central Credit Union, any branch.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Beverage, please visit our flower store.


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