Friends at Architecture for Humanity and Football for Hope:
Today funeral services are held for Nathan Jones, who recently passed away of complications arising from malaria while serving his design fellowship with Architecture for Humanity supporting the Football for Hope program. His family shared the eulogy below.
If you are based in San Francisco, please join us this afternoon (Friday) for an informal service leaving at 3:30 from our offices and walking to a nearby church. His family, friends and colleagues on the Football for Hope team have asked that you support a fund created in Nathan's name rather than buying flowers.
I know many of his colleagues are saddened they will not be able to attend the services in person. Nathan's family thanks you all for your support and kind words these last few weeks.
Twenty seven years ago on 6/8/1985 Phylliss Christine Jones and Reuben George Reynolds had a longed for son. They called him Nathan Christopher Richard Robert Leonard Jones. Nathan joined his loving sisters Nikki, Emmie, Tasha and later on Jade. Ever since Nathan was a young boy we always knew he was special. His personality never changed he was always so loving, kind, calm and patient. Nathan's sisters can never once recall him arguing with them or anyone, even after hours of teasing! And have never known him to have any enemies. Even though his sisters would often taunt and tease him for hours. As a young boy Nathan loved painting, drawing and playing with lego and building bricks. So the fact that he became a Architect was no suprise.
Nathan grew up in the poets corner Fordhouses. He attended Elston Hall Nursery and primary school. Followed by Moreton and Northicote High School. Nathan became the president of the 6th form in Northicote. He had many good friends and was very popular. He shared plenty of good times and laughs with best friends Nick Brown, Crystal Campbell, Alanda Brown and all of the art crew. Nathan's achievements include 11 GCSE's, 4 A level's and a Education programme in construction safety. Prior to starting his fellowship with Architecture for Humanity, he worked in a foundry at the age of thirteen and studied in University in East London and at the Center for Alternative Technology in Wales. He achieved a Batchelors and Masters Degree in Architecture. He worked in different architectural firms in the UK, in an engineering and sheet metal company in the US, and timber framing yard in Wales. He had great experience in earth construction gained from his work with an earth building construction company in Gambia.
Nathan was a very positive individual who always found the silver lining of every situation. Nathan had no time for superficialities, for excuses or complaining. He would have much rather heard a joke, he loved to laugh and had a great sense of humour. Whenever we were anxious about anything Nathan would always say "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT."
Nathan loved a good conversation, he was a very good listener and was genuinely interested in what other people had to say, really caring how they felt. He would always encourage you to question things, as he did, to challenge your belief systems. He provoked thought and encouraged change.
Nathan loved to travel but did not make plans, he just went with the wind- He was very laid back, in temperament but not in actions.
Nathan's passion for travelling and love of experiencing different cultures took him to:
In the days before Nathan left home, we would sometimes catch him on his way out with his bicycle and a backpack, and ask where he was going. He would often reply with “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way” or “Hopeful travelling can be better than actually arriving”. He was full of these quotes and usually replied with the unexpected- aiming to make you stop and think about your own life.
Nathan was a curious, optimistic, free spirit who believed that the meaning of life was having fun and helping others.
Nathan had a very selfless nature and an unassuming attitude; he wanted to make a mark on Earth and he has. Nathan's ''football for hope'' community center will be dedicated in his name, alongside a statue to be built in his memory in Mamfe' Cameroon. A charity has also been created. Nathans legacy will live on through many people all over the world, and in our own hearts, for being the loving, light hearted, wise and warm soul that he was.
Nathan was hungry for life, adventures and experiences- He was a big fish in a small pond and managed to fit so much into his 27 years.
Nathan was health conscious and liked sports, some of his favourites were Basketball, breakdancing,surfing and martial arts. He even tried paragliding, parachute jumping and bungee jumping. Most of all Nathan liked bike riding and said that it made him feel free and that one day he wanted to ride his bike all the way around the world. And he would have achieved this too if he had had more time. He never let an opportunity pass him by.
Nathan was many things to many people, and he always gave 100% of himself to everything he did. Nathan was a philosopher and an idealist who believed very strongly in common decency, and I would like to leave you with some of his favourite philosophical quotes:
- Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow is wood- Only today does the fire burn brightly.
- Better than becoming a man of success is to become a man of value. A successful man takes more out of life than he put in, but a valued man gives more than he receives.
- Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.
- If you are thinking about yesterday, then you haven’t done much today.
- Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
- Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can.
- It is not what you look at, it is what you see.
- An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
Nathan was a Design fellow with Architecture for Humanity. Design Fellows commit at least a year of service to provide professional design and construction services to communities in need. He was supporting the Football for Hope program in partnership with streetfootballworld and FIFA to build the Besongabang Football for Hope Centre, in Besongabang, Cameroon. The center aims to tackle poverty, youth unemployment/child labour, including the provision of basic education, vocational training and HIV awareness. The project was in mid-construction when Nathan died of complications arising from malaria.
Nathan's sudden, unexpected passing has deeply affected all off his family and friends. In one of Nathans last conversations with his friend Nick Nathan explained that he was living his dream working in Architecture for Humanity. So although this meant he would never have thousands of money in the bank, he would have rather sit back and thought off all the people in poverty who have benefited from his buildings. Nathan was one of lifes treasures, he was our precious treasure. We would like to take this oppertunity to thank everybody for their support during this tragic time and for your attendance today THANK YOU.