Jonathan S. Royer
It was a snowy winter’s day on February 5, 1970 when JONATHAN STEWART ROYER first blessed us with his presence. He would spend the next 51 years reminding us what lucky bastards we were to know him.
Jonathan had a wicked sense of humor, elevated sarcasm to an art form, and genuinely treasured the many friends that came into his life. He loved music, had a fine bass-baritone voice, believed Monty Python should be a part of every child’s education, and enjoyed researching his family antecedents, delighting in the fact that he could trace his lineage to Mary, Queen of Scots. Perhaps it is from Her Royal Highness that Jonathan inherited his talent for command, frequently demonstrated at the precocious age of 9 when he would order the other students to “fall in line” during gym class. Jonathan enjoyed being right and, to the consternation of his family and friends, often was. It took him only 20 years to admit he “might be wrong” about the year he wore a powder blue suit to a certain childhood friend’s birthday party (for the record, it was 1976, NOT 1975 as he often claimed).
Jonathan always had an eye for the ladies and they returned his adoration in equal measure. It wasn’t until his bank teller recommended that he check out the cute recruiter down the street that he fell hook, line, and sinker. Regrettably, she was Navy but that didn’t stop this airman from ardently pursuing her. Christine (née Keller) turned him down twice before succumbing to his deep-set eyes, dimples and buckets of charm. Proud of his Scottish heritage, Jonathan treated their wedding guests to the sound of bagpipes and the sight of his hairy knees in a dashing Royal Stewart tartan kilt.
After 19 years, seven PCS orders across the nation and around the world (Jonathan adored those military acronyms), and too many deployments to count, their marriage may have ended but their love for one another did not. Instead, it manifested in the raising of a trifecta of truly terrific kids: Danielle (Mike), Joshua (Kylie) and Jonah (Sophia), who found some pretty wonderful life partners of their own. Jonathan always boasted he was a better father than husband, but it was his role as “Papa” to grandchildren Lily, Jameson, Norah, and the eagerly anticipated Daphne that he positively relished.
The youngest of Martha Jean “Marty” and Walter Scott Royer’s clan, Jonathan often claimed that, as the baby, he had a tougher upbringing than his older siblings. Upon request, sister Jean (David) Comer and brother Scott (Karen) Royer will faithfully and happily produce all evidence to the contrary. At least Jonathan’s youthful antics served as a cautionary tale to his beloved nieces and nephew Katie, Annie, Stephen, and Sarah, who all turned out brilliantly despite (because of?) their dear uncle’s example.
A Freemason, Jonathan valued duty, honor, and his military brethren. Proudly serving his country for 27 years before retiring from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he shared this love with his sons, who are the 4th generation of Royers to serve. Jonathan was a combat veteran, awarded so many medals and commendations over his lifetime that he complained his uniform looked like something a buffoonish despot might wear. In truth, Jonathan was more than a little embarrassed by the honors, insisting he was “just doing [his] job.” Jonathan wasn’t very comfortable speaking about his military experiences (he often joked, “I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you”) but he was deeply committed to keeping his loved ones safe. Also, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that it was Jonathan’s idea to smoke out Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega by playing heavy metal music at deafening volumes around the clock in 1989. Or was it?
We’ll never know for certain as it’s one of many secrets that Jonathan has taken to the grave, which – naturally – will be located at Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s most hallowed final resting ground for heroes. In accordance to his wishes, this decorated soldier died peacefully at home on the afternoon of March 25th, secure in the knowledge that he was deeply loved and would be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, Jonathan’s family requests that donations be made in his name to: New Richmond High School’s Vocal Music Department, 1131 Bethel-New Richmond Road, New Richmond, Ohio 45157.
EPITAPH ON MY OWN FRIEND
An Honest man here lies at rest
As e’er God with his image blest;
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so informed:
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
– Robert Burns (1754 – 1796)