The purpose of the Jeffrey Bear Foundation is to honor the memory of Jeff Godbey, DVM. A Leon County emergency veterinarian who took his life.
Jeff was a ham, even when he was small. He would memorize lines or lyrics and then “perform” for his parents and their guests. He would say he wanted to become a star, but “Mom” cautioned him that he should have a backup plan.
Jeff was also an animal lover. Over the years, his home included cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, mice, turtles, and fish. So, his choice of a veterinary career as his backup plan was no surprise.
After earning a doctorate from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, he returned to Tallahassee and took relief shifts for other veterinarians who needed time off and even served as President of the Big Bend Veterinary Medical Association his first year back home.
Soon, he became a full-time emergency veterinarian at Allied Veterinary Emergency Hospital, working long shifts – sometimes for weeks with no breaks.
But he loved his job.
And he never lost interest in entertaining and took up writing song lyrics while he was in school. Once back in Tallahassee, he organized a band, the Feeling Ecstatic, and wrote their songs and sang lead vocals.
His path soon led to marrying the “love of his life,” and having a beautiful daughter. Somewhere in there he managed to get involved in the community, too, as a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee Class 36.
He would say he was “living the dream.”
Until he wasn’t.