Eef an active inspiration right to the end |

Eef an active inspiration right to the end

Connie Steiert

The Vail Valley lost one of its moving spirits Tuesday, Feb. 18, when Jon Efraimson, after a short but valiant fight with lung cancer, died at University Hospital in Denver.What struck people most upon meeting Efraimson, 36, was his vitality and his love of life. It is why he immediately made friends wherever he went, and why he was highly inspirational to many right up until the end.&quotHe was an amazing person,&quot says friend Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. &quotHe loved this place.&quotYou could see that love, she adds, in every film he produced for the area. As the owner and founder of the video/television production company, EEF Productions, Efraimson Eef, as his friends called him produced countless videos and commercials for, and about, the valley and its events over the past seven years.&quotEef started up as a vendor (to the Vail Valley Foundation), but he quickly became a friend to me, and to everybody.&quot Folz says. &quotProbably lots of people here at the foundation felt that same way.&quotAs evidence of just how many people he touched, when the Vail Valley Charitable Fund held Relief for Eef, a fundraiser this past November to help Jon and wife Lisa with mounting medical bills, some 700 people showed up.&quotBecause of his videos, he worked with so many people,&quot explains Folz.But it was also a tribute to Efraimson’s own generous and giving nature. Over the years, he has repeatedly donated personal and professional time and resources to help out a variety of community causes.&quotIf you asked me to name 10 people who have made our community special, Eef’s name would be one of them,&quotFolz says.Yet Efraimson also had a wonderful sense of humor and an amazing zest for life. Folz recalls the first time she met Efraimson; he was dressed in a dress. He was participating in some crazy stunt in the annual Great Race at season’s closing.&quotHe was a funny guy,&quot Folz remembers.But more than that, Folz says, it was his determined and dedicated work style and personal style that stood out. Efraimson, she says, was a problem-solver.&quotThere was never a problem he couldn’t find a solution to,&quot she says. She recalls more than one occasion when her staff was stumped about how to address a sticking point in a project. But just as she and her staff were ready to throw in the towel, Efraimson would show up and say, &quotno,&quot and come back with workable ideas. &quotHe was probably the most creative, problem-solving person I’ve ever met in my life.&quotThat problem-solving mindset was perhaps most evident during his final months. Diagnosed just this past July a month after his marriage to Lisa with Stage Four lung cancer, and given a dismal prognosis, Efraimson would not give in. Nor would he meekly accept what he was told.&quotAll my life I’ve enjoyed challenges,&quot Efraimson said last fall in an interview with The Trail. &quotThere have been times in my life where I’ve set goals to achieve or looked for my next challenge. I think I’ve found it.&quotWith his typical, can-do attitude, Efraimson began reading every book he could find and combed the Internet to research his disease himself. He came up with his own blend of treatments, including traditional and experimental cancer treatments, yoga classes, visualization and acupuncture. In addition, he found out about and talked his way into a clinical trial on an experimental cancer treatment.&quotI think that’s how he approached his diagnosis with cancer right up to the very last hour,&quot Folz says.Last August, just a month after learning the grim news, he wrote to friends, &quotMany people feel that we are unlucky and can’t believe all of this has happened to us. I don’t feel that way; I feel so lucky to be with Lisa, and so fortunate about all of the good things that have happened to me and us in our lifetimes.&quotEfraimson also took the time to e-mail concerned friends and acquaintances with updates on his progress.&quotNow, I don’t write this so you will feel sorry for us,&quot he wrote in one e-mail late last October, &quotbut to emphasize how important it is to love our family, live with your heart, and live each day to the fullest.&quotFolz recalls that receiving those e-mails was one of the high points of her days.&quotHe always addressed the issues,&quot she says, &quotthen ended by how thankful he was living here, and having his wife. He never lost sight of that.&quotAn avid sportsman, who loved skiing and hiking, Efraimson stayed active up until the end. In fact, he set goals for himself to keep himself motivated and active. One of those goals was riding his bike up Vail Pass before this winter; he did that. Another was playing a round of golf; he played two. He even snowshoed this past month. In fact, most of the time, he said he felt great.A third goal was to keep working and being productive. That is exactly what he did, until just over two weeks ago, when he began having difficulty breathing. At that point, Efraimson was hospitalized. He left briefly, before being re-hospitalized for breathing problems early Tuesday, and passing away shortly thereafter.Efraimson did not waste time complaining about his plight.Instead, he spent his last moments trying to &quotcatch as many sunsets as I can.&quotThat attitude has inspired many people during the past months.As Efraimson himself admonished his many friends and well-wishers last fall: &quotDon’t wait to give your kid an extra hug,&quot he wrote. &quotTell your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them, make someone’s day, and don’t be afraid to laugh or cry. Life is a gift and should be enjoyed.&quotEfraimson graduated from high school in Verndale, Minn., and graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with a bachelor’s degree. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Land Efraimson of Edwards; his father, Carl R. Efraimson of Colorado Springs; his sister, Carla E. Sutherland of Colorado Springs; his sister Danielle S. Efraimson of Albert Lea, Minn.; his brother-in-law, Cecil C. Sutherland of Colorado Springs and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.He was pre-deceased by his son, Owen Daniel Efraimson and his mother, Ellen Efraimson.A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek, presided over by Pastor Dan Rohlwing.In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Jon &quotEEF&quot Efraimson Memorial Fund, c/o FirstBank of Vail, 17 Vail Road, Vail, CO, 81657.

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