Jeffrey Barton Markham

Jeff Markham. Courtesy photo.

Jeffrey Barton Markham was born Aug 18, 1944, in San Francisco, California, to Paul and Elsie Clough Markham.

He entered into rest March 18, 2022, in Springfield, Oregon.

Jeff grew up in San Carlos and Redwood City, graduating from Sequoia High School in 1962. He was involved in many pranks with his close friends there — ask them!

He attended the College of San Mateo and received an AA in law enforcement. This is where he made some lifelong friends whom he joined for annual reunions until just last year.

He moved on to San Jose State, graduating in 1966 with a degree in sociology and a minor in psychology. That is where he met his first wife, Carolyn Rhea. They married in 1967 in Los Gatos.

Jeff and Carolyn had two sons, J. David Markham and Stephen J. Markham.

Jeff hated bullies … that is why he chose law enforcement as a career. He became a reserve police officer in the Redwood City Police Department and fell in love with the job. He went through an academy and then he was sworn in as a reserve deputy sheriff in San Mateo County.

Jeff tested for the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement for the state of California. He was placed in San Francisco. Because San Francisco was the flower power city of love, he saw the backside of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll bands in the mid 1970s — Janis Joplin, the Mamas & the Papas, Big Brother and the Holding Co., among others — as an undercover drug enforcement officer. Oh, the stories he could tell of some of these famous people.

Jeff and Carolyn decided they didn’t want to raise their kids in the city so they relocated to the family vacation cabin in Clearlake. Jeff joined the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in 1969.

He worked through five sheriffs. He saw many changes in the department over the 36 years of service. “I loved it … we were a family and we had a lot of fun.”

His two sons Stephen and David grew up in Clearlake and attended Konocti Unified schools. While the boys were growing up Jeff was active in their lives and interests including farm animals and cars. They have moved on and flourished in their respective careers.

Jeff earned his Masters of Public Administration from USC in 1976.

He was always so proud of his selection to attend the FBI Academy in the fall of 1982. After three months of classes and training, he finished the academy with straight As and a qualification of “expert” in firearms training.

Jeff and Carolyn divorced in 1996. Jeff continued on with his career with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office where he made lifelong friends.

In 1997, Jeff met Jeannie Sprecher Butler, a local kindergarten teacher, on a blind date set up by Peggy McCloud. He strung her along for four years before he finally married her in 2001.

In asking her to marry him he agreed to help raise her four boys. Being a stepparent was, he says, “the toughest job there is.” But he enjoyed being an active part of their lives also.

He was a good sport, learning how to snowboard, camp and dirt bike with his new family. He also encouraged and taught Jeannie how to ride motorcycles. They put many many miles on their Harleys, enjoying the camaraderie and freedom of that community.

Jeff retired from the sheriff’s office in 2005 after 36 years. He retired as a chief deputy, chief of staff, but Jeannie always called him “Captain.”

He spent his retirement riding motorcycles, woodworking and traveling to some exciting places where English is not spoken and clean water is not guaranteed.

Volunteering in the local homeless ministries was something he really felt called to and he helped cook meals on a weekly basis with Jeannie.

He maintained his need for order, cleanliness and manners, but also his sense of humor to the end.

They had recently moved to Creswell, Oregon, to be close to Jeannie’s family and newest granddaughter, Elaine. He leaves a loving neighborhood and church in both Lake County as well as Creswell.

He is survived by his wife, Jeannie, of Creswell, Oregon; his two sons, J. David Markham (Jodie) of Lakeport, California, and Stephen Markham (Alex) of San Antonio, Texas; his granddaughters, Chelsea (Brandon), Kendall, Mackenzie and Jackie (Matt); a great-granddaughter, Cecilia; his grandsons, Andrew (Christina) and Matthew; his stepsons, Rick, Mark (Reannon), Zane (Savannah) and Rawley (Allie) Butler; and his special love, granddaughter, Elaine.

He leaves a hole in the lives of all his family. His sense of humor and need to protect all he loved were with him to the end.

Memorial donations in his name can be sent to the Clear Lake High School wood shop program or the Lake County Sheriff’s Activity League.

A memorial has been planned for April 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St. in Lakeport.