Jeffery Steven Garrison was born on February 21, 1947 to Elizabeth Garrison and Warren Garrison Sr. of Brooklyn, New York in St. Mary’s Hospital. Raised in his beloved Bedford-Stuyvesant, Jeffery graduated from Bishop Loughlin High School in 1965. Following his graduation, Jeffery served in the US Army from 1966-1972, earning a National Defense Service Medal. Upon being honorably discharged from the military, Jeffery refocused on his studies. Having a passion for education, Jeffery attended Bank Street College and Fordham University earning a Master of Science in Teaching. Affectionately known by his colleagues and students as “Mr. G,” Jeffery spent his 30-year career in the field in roles ranging from schoolteacher to school dean. Throughout his illustrious career, he educated countless students in the New York City school system in all subjects, bringing his love of reading to everyone around him. Jeffery always kept an extensive collection of novels, newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals that ranged from topics on medicine, race relations and climate change among others.
Throughout his life, Jeffery found joy in jazz music, cycling, cars and serving his community in both Brooklyn and Harlem. He could frequently be seen supporting the arts at a local theater or the Studio Museum and Schomburg Center in Harlem, investing his time and energy in encouraging black entrepreneurs and creatives of all forms. Jeffery was also a dedicated activist in his own right, regularly participating marches in the fight towards racial equality.
Jeffery’s family life was complex, but he truly had a gentle heart and an undying love for his children. This dedication to family was shown most prominently in his relationship with his parents. In his youth, Jeffery often spent a lot of time visiting and spending time with his father at work and maintained this strong relationship through his father’s passing in 1977. Jeffery also unselfishly helped care for his mother until she passed away in 2009.
A compassionate father, Jeffery was devoted to ensuring his four daughters, Samira, Anana, Jamala and Mary, shared a strong bond. Group weekend trips to Coney Island or the Brooklyn Children’s Museum were a regular occurrence. Jeffery also always kept a close relationship with his extended family. “Uncle Jeff” was admired and beloved by the Phifer family in New Jersey, and he maintained special relationships with the Funderburk family and relatives of his ex-wife Cecelia Powell Barnes (deceased) in North Carolina. Jeffery was also always checking in on his cherished brother Warren Garrison and spending time with his treasured grandchildren.
Jeffery retired from the school system in 2008 and subsequently focused his time on spending time with family and supporting his church family at Bethany Baptist. In his later years, Jeffery moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey to be closer to his family and his daughter Anana, who became his primary caregiver. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Jeffery Garrison peacefully departed this life on January 25, 2021.
Jeffery is predeceased by his first wife, Cecelia Barnes.
Jeffery is survived by his older brother Warren Garrison, daughters; Samira Cooper (Michael), Anana Phifer-Derilhomme (Musset), Jamala Phifer and Mary Garrison, grandsons; Richard Williams, Nasset Derilhomme and Jeremiah Derilhomme, granddaughters; Nia Jalloh, Gianna Heath, and Cahlia Pyne, along with a host of dear friends, former colleagues and associates. He is best remembered by his smile, his compassion for others and his appreciation for art and literature. He will truly be missed and his memory will forever live in the hearts of those who were blessed to know him.
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