Jason Scott Carrick
Date Of Birth: 10/14/1969
Date of Death: 02/03/2014
Jason Carrick, registered nurse, Westview Wildcats basketball fan, collector of guns, knives, and many interesting and strange things, completed his earthly journey on Monday, February 3, 2014. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, October 14, 1969 and moved with his family to Oregon when he was eight. He was – and will always be – a beloved son of Doug and Leslie Carrick, cherished husband to sweet Kirsten, and rock-star dad to his awesome son Alex.
Jason was the firstborn and long ago forgave his mom and dad for all their mistakes and miscues as they learned how to be parents. He helped welcome into the family four more brothers: Grant, Benjamin, Spencer, and Adam; and one sister, Alison. He seemed to enjoy being a big brother but it was probably because he now had “minions” to do his bidding!
He had a pretty average childhood, when he wasn’t tumbling down a well, getting lost at the airport, or falling through the ice into a sewer pond (after first shooting through that ice with a shotgun!). He struggled with reading and at one time was considered “learning disabled”. That made him mad and he was determined to challenge this label. He persevered and when he discovered “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, he was motivated to find out the various endings and reading became a pleasure instead of a chore. “Adventure” became an ongoing theme in his life.
When younger he played Little League Baseball but decided it was too boring. He graduated from Sunset High school in 1987, where he played football and was on the wrestling team. He attended Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) then served two years in the New Mexico Albuquerque mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His tenacity for learning to become a better reader served him especially well a few years later when he attended University of Portland School of Nursing and had to read hundreds of pounds worth of textbooks.
After returning from his mission he dated many girls but finally married his first wife, Catherine (Schmauch), in 1996. They became parents to his favorite person in the whole world, a beautiful boy named Alex. Above all else, Jason loved being a dad. Of all the things he accomplished in his life, being Alex’s dad made him the most proud. They had many fun adventures together and his deepest regret towards the end of his life was not having more time with his son or meeting any future grandchildren. He was a fixture at Alex’s football and basketball games throughout the years, attending his last at Southridge three days before he left us.
Jason enjoyed life and lived it on his own terms. His brothers and friends have many stories about their adventures with Jason, many which his parents are glad they never knew about at the time, and some which make them cringe when they hear about them today. He enjoyed many activities, including sky-diving, scuba-diving, water and snow skiing, motorcycling…the list goes on. Often he would try something then never do it again because once was enough to satisfy his curiosity. The one hobby he kept up was collecting guns and he continued to go to the local gun shows throughout his illness. Many gun shop owners knew him by name. They will especially miss him at Keith’s Sporting Goods in Gresham.
As time progressed, Jason and Cathy parted ways and he started traveling the United States and a foreign country or two, to meet in person the women who captured his fancy on a church dating website. This led him to finding a particularly captivating Canadian named Kirsten Loewer. Like him, she was a fitness fanatic and only ate healthy food, so they hit it off right away. When she visited his home in Portland after knowing him just short time, he informed his mom he was “…going to marry this girl.”
Traveling to Canada to visit Kirsten for the first time was pretty interesting for Jason, because he drove across the border with a handgun in the back seat (licensed of course). He took it with him in case he met up with any carjackers (like there are so many in Canada), but didn’t know how strict our neighbors to the North are about firearms. Imagine his shock when the border patrol saw the gun and he was incarcerated overnight. Finally the matter was all straightened out with Sgt. Preston and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and he was able to visit his soon-to-be bride and her parents. They were so impressed to learn their soon to be son-in-law had just spent a night in jail. At least he never did that again. They married in 2006.
Jason worked out at the gym quite often and was forever lecturing the family on what we should and should not eat. As concerned about healthful eating as he was though, he caused us to shake our heads when it came to food. He would often consume an entire pumpkin pie or a humongous bowl of mashed potatoes in one sitting. It got so his mom always made at least two pies or bowls of potatoes, one for Jason, one for everyone else. Even so, he always seemed to be the healthiest – and most fit – of us all.
Jason worked as a registered nurse, first at Salem Hospital and later at Good Samaritan in Portland. He preferred working in ICU because it was hard and challenged him. Also, being a true Carrick male, he didn’t care to chat. Since patients in ICU were rarely in any condition to chat, it was a win-win situation. He was very good at his job and received letters from families of his patients, crediting him with saving a loved one’s life. At one point he was offered a job with Life Flight in Washington DC but turned down the offer. By the way, a week later their helicopter crashed.
He was starting to work toward becoming a nurse anesthetist when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008, which would engage him in a difficult, more challenging adventure than ever before. When he was finally unable to work any longer he looked around for something to do that he could manage. He started buying and refurbishing speed boats, which he got pretty good at. One day a couple years ago, he took off unexpectedly in the truck and drove down to Los Angeles to buy a boat that was a “really sweet deal”. He arrived in LA during a rare snowstorm and had to spend the night. The next morning he needed to take the Coast Highway because I-5 was impassable, and not realizing where he should turn to get back onto I-5, he ended up driving through downtown San Francisco. Being thoroughly lost, he drove up and down Nob Hill several times towing his 18 foot boat! He crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in rush hour traffic with barely a foot to spare on either side, and later described this adventure as “terrifying”. To top it all off, it was during this time that his right leg gave out and he had to operate both pedals with his left foot. His description of the trip would have made an award winning comic routine for Leno or Fallon. He never did that again either.
Soon after arriving home he had extensive reconstructive surgery to repair his hip and pelvis, giving him back some use of his right leg. We often joked that he was trying to become the Six-Million Dollar Man.
Jason provided us with many fond memories, some hilarious, some exasperating. He was often loving and thoughtful and at other times he was an ornery cuss. He always spoke his mind which, once you got used to it, you could actually appreciate. He was always very generous.
As his illness progressed he became increasingly appreciative of all the ways his brothers and sister tried to make his life a bit better, whether it was playing Call of Duty with him late into the night or trying to teach him to play guitar. He especially found it amusing that since he had stem cell transplants from his curly haired brother Grant, he himself later grew darker, curly hair.
As his mobility declined he joined the rest of us couch potatoes and watched almost every movie on Netflix and any and all action movies and TV shows available On Demand. He liked “Walking Dead” and offered very colorful commentary on everything he thought could be improved in that, and every other show he saw. It actually got to the point where he was so desperate to find something new he began to watch “Downton Abbey” with his wife and mom. He even started to enjoy junk food with the rest of us while watching TV. In other words, we finally won him over to the dark side!
He was a wonderful, entertaining, and fun son, brother, husband, uncle, dad, and friend. He amazed doctors and nurses repeatedly as he persevered and made it through more than most humans can – or should have to – endure. He kept setting goals to try and make it to the next thing on his list. The Saturday before he passed he spent with his parents riding around the countryside and eating at Panera Bread. Sunday morning and afternoon he spent with Alex, then that night he and Kirsten went to Lincoln City where he tried shrimp for the very first time. He discovered he liked it and wondered why he had never tried it before! And to top it all off, he won $10 at blackjack! He kept telling Kirsten what a great week-end it had been.
While at Lincoln City he became ill during the night and his leg hurt so badly he called his dad at 1am. Several hours and phone calls later Kirsten brought him back to OHSU emergency, where he passed several hours later. We knew he didn’t have a lot of time left, but his departure was sudden, and actually not related to the cancer. In the end it was a blessing and an answer to prayers that the suffering finally ended and he went swiftly when the time came. His mom and dad were holding his hands as his earth days came to a close.
He leaves behind his lovely Kirsten, tall, hoop-shooting son Alex (Go Cats!), parents Doug and Leslie, strong and loving brothers Grant (Amanda), Ben (Christine), Spencer (Kristina), and Adam (Candace), and beloved sister Alison Smyth (Ryan), aunts, uncles, many nieces and nephews, and heartbroken friends. His grandparents all preceded him in death and we expect that, as sad as we were to see him go, they were just as excited to see him come, and that they all had a grand reunion this last week.
The family extends our appreciation to so many doctors and nurses at OHSU, for their care, concern, and all they did to keep him going. Oh yeah, and for the male nurse action figure given to him by some of his favorite nurses at the infusion clinic. He loved it!
We also wish to thank the school community (coaches and basketball team especially) our neighbors and church friends, for their unwavering faith and support.
As saddened as we are by his “loss” (funny term that, since we know where he is and who he is with), we are grateful for his release from the suffering and difficulties that this terrible disease inflicted upon his body. He fought tenaciously to the very end, with an unparalleled will, until he had used up every ounce that that body had to give. At that point he cast it aside and moved on to his next big adventure. He was an inspiration to us all and we were blessed to have had him in our lives. He will be missed greatly, remembered always and loved forever.
We suspect that he will check in on us, from time to time, to see if we are exercising or eating too much junk food, and to cheer at all of Alex’s games.
His remains will reside in Union Cemetery of Cedar Mill, Oregon, but his spirit will be somewhere else, planning yet another adventure for when we are all together again.