How many people do you know that from an early age knew what they wanted to be when they grew up and then actually did it? Jeff Billingsley is one such person.
Jeff was born on September 14, 1979, in Omaha, Nebraska. At age four, Jeff’s uncle, the chief with the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department, let him sit in a fire truck for the first time. Jeff was elated. From that moment on, he was certain that he would be a fireman.
Growing up, Jeff went through Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He loved the outdoors, camping, and hiking.
In 1998, while a senior in high school, Jeff joined the Lewis Township Volunteer Fire Department in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and began his firefighter career. Jeff completed his EMT training in December 1998. He attended Iowa Western Community College and earned an associate degree in business administration in May 2001. He was certified as Fire Fighter I in July 2001.
In the fall of 2001 Jeff was hired with the Denver Fire Department. He fell in love with Denver and all it had to offer. Colorado became his home. In April 2003 he was certified as a Firefighter II. In February 2005 he completed the Emergency Responder HAZMAT Technician Course. In June 2005 Jeff was certified as a Fire Instructor I and in July 2005 he was approved for Technician status.
Jeff flourished in the relationships he made, the skills he learned, and the hobbies he took on. When something interested Jeff, he found a way to learn about it. Mostly self-taught, he loved working with wood, tinkering with his Toyota Land Cruiser, and leather crafting.
Music became a big part of Jeff’s life after he moved to Colorado. He loved a wide variety of musical genres and attending concerts. Jeff became a drummer with the Local 858 Denver Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums and the Colorado Emerald Society. He was ecstatic to have performed at Red Rocks.
Jeff met his soulmate, Lindsey Foster, in 2020. They hunkered down during the height of the COVID pandemic and quietly made plans for a life together. They had dreams of traveling, buying land, and caring for Jeff’s dogs, Barnes and Murphy. Tragically, these plans never came to be. Jeff died from an aortic aneurism while on duty six days after his 42nd birthday.
Jeff is survived by his soulmate, Lindsey Foster; his parents, John and Margaret Billingsley; sister, Lisa Scheve (husband, Joe, and son, Henry); and brother, Matt (wife, April, and daughter, Layni). He is loved and greatly missed.
Denver Fire Department took a young man from a small town and developed him into the professional firefighter who is being honored here today.