Jeremy John Fuerst fell into God on September 9, 2021, while in the Sangre de Cristo (meaning, Blood of Christ) mountain range in Colorado. His last text to his wife said, “Honey I am going to go for the Crestone Needle. I am moving well and feeling good. Love you.”
Jeremy always lived life to the fullest. Whether it was pushing the lines of inappropriate humor, the level of sound with his booming voice, his enjoyment for the outdoors, the number of football stadiums he could visit in one road trip, or the way he sought to preach and live the gospel, it was to the fullest.
Jeremy and his three brothers (David, Bradley, and Nathan) were raised by their parents on a farm 4 miles outside Hildreth, Nebraska. He was baptized as an infant at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hildreth.
As the third son born to Dick and Bonnie Fuerst, Jeremy enjoyed describing himself as the “Third Fuerst.” He taught himself how to read at age 4, becoming a voracious reader thenceforth. He enjoyed playing piano, got involved with Boy Scouts, played football, and participated in a number of extra-curricular activities through church, school, and the community.
While Jeremy was in high school and college he worked at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland, NE. It was a deeply formative place for him. Dear friendships, theology, leadership, youth development, and all sorts of camp shenanigans were just a few parts of his experience. The formation of faith, and of self, via camp extended not only into high school and college when he served on staff, but through the years into his seminary training, returning to bring youth while in a pastoral role, and to his ministry in Seattle where he drew on the influence of camp.
Jeremy attended Midland University and then went on to serve as a youth director in Ogden, UT and in Omaha, NE. In 2006 he began his studies for a Masters of Divinity at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkley, CA where he met his lifelong friends, the Back Row Theologians. These people saw him at his best and his worst and he loved them fiercely. Jeremy loved everyone fiercely. His loyalty to his friends and family is truly unmatched. Following seminary, Jeremy served as a pastor at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Omaha. It was there, in 2012, he met his wife, Shannyn, on a blind date that was set up by a parishioner from St. Timothy’s, whose parents attended Shannyn’s church in Council Bluffs, IA, and knew them both. She said she thought they would get along. Neither Jeremy nor Shannyn wanted to date a pastor but thought they’d go on the date out of courtesy. They found each other intriguing and thus was the beginning of their life together. When they got married on March 1, 2014, they both knew that life together would not be boring. While in Omaha Jeremy became a certified beer judge, completed the Ironman Wisconsin, and enjoyed hiking when he had vacation time. He volunteered for the past 8 years at the Great American Beer Festival, where he proposed to Shannyn over their favorite beers.
The biggest adventure Jeremy and Shannyn had together was moving to Seattle, WA. Jeremy was a “Seattlite” long before he lived in Seattle, finding his home, his footing, and his full belonging. He loved serving as the pastor at Central Lutheran Church in Everett, WA, and the people of the congregation. He cherished being outdoors and was excited to be accepted to the Moutaineers year long, extensive training program in 2017-2018. Hiking and climbing to the top of hills and mountains was his passion, both with mountaineering friends and alone, and he has summited numerous hills and mountains. He reveled in living in a place where he could not only be outdoors all year round but also where he felt an acceptance of all his quirks and personhood. Seattle is truly where “two became one” as they learned to be together in life, facing challenges and joys together, loving each other fiercely throughout. They were each other’s biggest advocates, yet each kept their own identities in their hobbies and goals. It was a unique part of their relationship. Besides his wife, Jeremy’s favorite living beings were their two dogs, Lucy and Millie. They adored having their pack together and would literally jump for joy when he walked in the door. Jeremy felt honored to be part of the Mountaineers organization where he developed his skills, enjoyed his team members, and was honored to train in the gym with his coach. Jeremy’s delight and love for all of this were palpable.
Everything Jeremy did was larger than life. His humor, booming voice, stories, laughing until he would cry, creative videos, intelligence, and loyalty is unlike anyone else. His legacy is astounding. If ever there was a question, just check out social media.
Jeremy took great joy in being an Uncle to several nieces and nephews who referred to him as the “fun Uncle”. He relished the opportunity to cheer them on and support them in the pursuit of their passions.
We ask that in lieu of flowers, donations and memorials be designated to the Seattle Mountain Rescue who serves the hikers and climbers in the Seattle area. Outdoors was Jeremy’s time to decompress, recalibrate, talk to God, and live fully. It is where he was whole. He would not be who he was meant to be without it. He was well trained, experienced, and always prepared. After Jeremy’s accident, Shannyn was able to meet one of the Custer County Search & Rescue volunteers, who spoke of the respect and care given to him. He assured her of Jeremy’s preparedness and the knowledge that accidents happen and cannot be controlled. That he did everything right. Seattle Mountain Rescue donations can be made directly via www.seattlemountainrescue.org/donate/, via PayPal, or sent to the family who will make sure the funds are distributed properly.
Additionally, undesignated funds will be saved for a future project honoring the dignity of those who are homeless in Everett, as Jeremy had deep care in his heart for this population and their challenges.
Finally, please raise a glass of good beer and/or go for a hike, honoring and remembering Jeremy.
Jeremy’s last text was a picture displaying his true joy at being outdoors. Whenever he finished walking the dogs, a bike ride, a run, a hike, a solid sermon, or — believe it or not — organizing score cards at GABF, Jeremy would text his wife with “#alive,” because doing the things he loved made him feel just that, alive. He is now #alive in our hearts, #alive in his legacy, #alive in Christ everlasting. Amen.
Services will be held Wednesday, September 29, 2:00 pm at Carol Joy Holling Camp, Ashland, NE
The service will be outside. All are welcome. Please wear a mask.
Pastors are encouraged to vest.
Saturday, October 9, 1:00 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood, WA. Because of COVID limitations, it will be family only in person.
It will be streamed online and watch parties are encouraged. Link will be available on the Northwest Washington Synod website, www.lutheransnw.org/events/calendar.