William Bernard “Bud” Jeffries completed his life’s journey unexpectedly Friday, January 21, 2022 at the age of 48 in Lakeland, FL.
A lifetime resident of Lakeland, Bud was born August 31, 1973. While he made his home and raised his family in Lakeland, his career as a Professional Performing Strongman took him across the country, visiting all of the contiguous United States. Bud was a motivational speaker, author, strength coach and ordained minister. He also coached the weightlifting team at McKeel Academy in Lakeland. He competed in Powerlifting, All-Around Weightlifting, Strongman, Highland Games, MMA, and played offensive lineman for the University of Florida. He toured extensively as a professional performing strongman with an anti-bullying assembly for students from Pre-K to Senior High, traveling on the road for nine months of the year.
Bud believed strongly in motivating others to strive for their goals and build the best version of themselves that is possible. He cultivated a mindset and commitment that with dedication and perseverance, anything is achievable. He did not believe success rests in luck, circumstance or station, but in the intention and drive one puts behind their own work and dreams. It was this message he hoped his life’s work conveys and inspires in others.
In his career he set multiple local, regional, national and world records in strength and physical culture. Doing all of it lifetime drug-free and preferring non-equipped, using only a lifting belt in powerlifting. He wrote nine books, produced over 30 DVDs and training videos, released multiple audio recordings and was the guest on numerous podcasts with varying topics. He performed on America’s Got Talent receiving four yes-votes making Nick Cannon’s highlight reel for the season on which he appeared. He lifted Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel all at the same time on a barbell and spun them around.
One of Bud’s most painful yet proud accomplishments was the building of Noah’s Army Foundation. After the loss of their 21-year-old son to an accident, he and his wife developed the non-profit in 2018 to benefit first responders in Polk County, Florida in honor of their son’s memory. From this, Bud’s closing to every social media post, video and interview became signature and will continue to be his message, “Join Noah’s Army. Become an organ donor. Now go be awesome.”
Bud is survived by his mother; Shirley A Jeffries, wife; Heather L Lahey-Jeffries, sisters; Rebecca J Jeffries and Angela H Jeffries. His beloved nieces and nephews who are far more like sons and daughters; Mackenzie Hughes, Justin Miller, Levi Hughes, Lavada Miller and Caleb Hyman. His wonderful almost-daughter-in-law; Dana Dombroski Thomasson. His family of aunts, uncles and cousins is vast yet he held them all close in his heart. His friends – he always saw as brothers and sisters and loved them as such. He is preceded in death by his loving father; Bernard A Jeffries and his incredible son; William Noah Jeffries. Bud’s relationships were deep and meant the world to him. Each was unique and cherished in his eyes.
When Bud loved, he loved with his entire heart and soul, dedicated, passionate and unwavering. He loved the misunderstood, the downtrodden, the forgotten and overlooked. He saw value in everyone and believed people should only be judged by their actions – never their ethnicity, religion, gender, or cultural choices. He desired for everyone – understanding, forbearance, forgiveness, joy and love. He wished to fill our lives with laughter mixed with the occasional hints of intrigue and danger. For those he leaves behind, his absence is a tremendous emptiness that cannot be replaced nor forgotten.
Memorial service to be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 5 at Bethel Baptist Church, 3125 W Socrum Loop Rd, Lakeland, FL 33810. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.
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