SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Jeffrey L. Betcher, poet, community organizer, and friend to all, died at his home in San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2017.

He was born in Mount Vernon on June 6, 1960. He graduated from Mount Vernon Senior High School in 1978 and Kenyon College in 1982. Jeffrey moved to San Francisco in the 1980s and cast his creative energy in many directions. He was a community activist who threw himself into every project he took on, from an art salon to the Quesada Gardens Initiative to PeopleWearSF. He served as program and operations director for the Family Violence Prevention Fund. As co-founder of the Quesada Gardens Initiative, he helped his neighbors turn an unloved urban boulevard into a flourishing vegetable and flower garden that brought the community together and inspired a network of public spaces. He turned his love of yams into a line of locally made streetwear “payamas” under the Yam Street brand. As part of this creation, he co-found an organization to support Bay Area textile makers called PeopleWearSF. He was busy working on this project when he became ill.

Jeffrey made friends wherever he went. He was intelligent, inquisitive and sensitive. People were drawn to him.

He was predeceased by his parents, Donna Betcher and George Betcher, both of Mount Vernon. He is survived by his brother, Mark Betcher of Kentucky, and many dear friends in Ohio, California and Massachusetts.

The words of his 1997 poem “Do Not Cry By My Casket” are appropriate:
“So cry if you must, but not for me,
since I am rising with thread in hand
and sewn to you with love’s loose stitch now
ready to ravel or pull for you at will.”
Goodbye dear Jeffrey. Oh, we will miss you so.

A memorial will be held at his home in San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Memories of Jeffrey to be read at his memorial can be sent to


Mount Vernon News: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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