Memorial: Captain Jeff Lucas
Jeff Lucas and family. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations in memorium to Freethinkers of Colorado Springs.
It is with sadness that MAAF marks the death of Jeff Lucas, who, for decades, advocated for and supported the atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists at the Air Force Academy. He was also a long-time leader at the Secular Web (infidels.org). In his personal life, he was married with children who loved him. He lived a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Jeff, as a representative of the Secular Web was one of my first connections to the nontheist community. At West Point in the late 1990s, I had no humanist mentors and was pushed aside by the command. But Jeff Lucas was there at the Secular Web and at the Air Force Academy. His legacy lives on with the USAFA Freethinkers and by extension the Naval Academy Freethinkers & Atheists and the West Point Secular Student Alliance.
Lieutenant Bobby Walker was representative to the Cadet Interfaith Council for a short time and served as Cadet In Charge for the Freethinkers group. Bobby had this to say:
Jeff’s contribution to the USAFA freethinkers should never be forgotten. He was always warm hearted and good natured. He witnessed so much change at the academy and yet kept an even keel. When a leadership misstep would send us cadets roaring for pitchforks, he was the one to calmly and coolly assess the situation and help resolve it peacefully. Because of that he was a role model for so many officers. He was a true hero; a champion of liberty and defender of the constitution in the purest sense.
Dr Carlos Bertha serves on USAFA Faculty and as long-time faculty advisor for the Freethinkers, Carlos worked closely with Jeff. He had this to say:
Jeff Lucas was one of the first members of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs to volunteer his time to mentor cadets at the US Air Force Academy’s Cadet Freethinkers Club. His positive demeanor, gentle candor, great sense of humor and unconditional friendship will always be remembered. The Club would not be where it is today if not for Jeff’s untiring dedication. In particular, Jeff’s help during Basic Cadet Training, year after year, was invaluable and reflects just how much he cared about USAFA’s young soon-to-be-leaders. He will be sorely missed.
Gary Hale-Betchan is a leader with the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs and coordinated with Jeff for much of his volunteer work at the Academy and in the local community. Gary also runs the popular online store “Evolvefish
“. Gary lamented that Jeff would never allow anyone to point out the good things he was doing. He preferred to stay quiet and not
make waves. Gary is celebrating Jeff’s work, and also how the Secular Web was his introduction to the nontheist community.
Jeff had a positive impact on our community and will be missed. His legacy lives on through his family, all those he inspired at the Secular Web, and all those hours dedicated to supporting Freethinkers at the Air Force Academy. Job well done, Jeff. We’ll carry on.
One of the many USAFA training events for humanists Jeff made possible.