Irene North


My heart is breaking today

Geoffrey Evert conquers the Scotts Bluff National Monument.

The first time I saw you I was working in Gering Junior High. You were a scrawny little kid dressed all in black, including black nail polish and eye liner. I remember thinking, “dude hit his black stage a couple of years early.”

And then I got to know you.

How can you not love a kid like this?

We talked in the hallways between classes. You were excited about so many things and could never seem to settle on just one to be interested in.

I remember standing by your locker one day after school while you showed me your notebook. It was filled with drawings on how to make many commonly used items better. On this particular day, you showed me a drawing of how you made a more efficient system of heating a home than the Romans had. Instead of the heat dissipating as it would in Roman times, you designed a way to capture the heat and recirculate it as long as was needed. I’m not sure it would have worked, but, at 13, you were ecstatic at your accomplishment.

On another day, we talked about how you had taken three broken remote control cars and rebuilt them as one. Their bodies were destroyed so you cut up a gallon milk container and created a new body. When Paul and I visited your house, you took me to your room and showed the car to me.

Geoffrey Evert was so proud he had grown his hair out. We had to do this photo a few times because he kept laughing. He wanted a photo where he wasn’t smiling and where he looked tough.

We talked computers, programming, engineering, science, math, whatever the topic you were interested in. You always wanted to know how things worked, taking apart a variety of things to learn and understand. When I gave my old laptop to you, sure, you goofed off on Minecraft, but even then you were learning.

We talked about your family, your grandparents in Alliance, whatever you were interested in. You played with our cats, slept on our couch, and traveled with us. All you ever wanted was for someone to listen to you, to take you seriously.

You had your struggles in school, as everyone does, and we know the school ignored the bullying for 12 years, but you managed to get through. You still had some missteps, but you were finding your way as a young man.

“The sign says you can’t go past, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t any park rangers out there to catch me.”

It was a simple day, but climbing the Scotts Bluff National Monument with you on April 16, 2011 was one of the best days of my life. The trail is long, a bit strenuous. When you saw I was struggling a bit, you encouraged me, saying, “Come on. You can do it. It’s not much farther.”

After another three or four hundred steps, you started to feel it, too. You stopped, bent over and rested your hands on your knees. You took a few deep breaths and stood back up.

“We can do this,” you said. “We got this.”

And we continued to climb. When we reached a point where we could rest, we saw a sign that said you could not walk out any further and to stay on the path. Naturally, you didn’t. You climbed out to the edge of the monument and I took your picture. We laughed about sticking it to “the man” and breaking the law. I’m sure it’s something hundreds of other people have also done.

Our only disappointment that day was not seeing any rattlesnakes.

Geoffrey Evert was one of the few people that Puck was not scared to be around.

When you and Joe dropped by unannounced one day, we fed you. Both of you had easily traveled 10 miles over the course of the day with no food or water. Joe was nervous about being in a teacher’s house, but you calmed his nerves. “Dude. I sleep on this couch. It’s cool.” You stuffed your faces with Paul’s homemade french fries. After you had regained your strength, we piled into my car and I took you home.

Geoffrey Evert making fun of the way Cinders sleeps.

I stood by you at Joe’s funeral. You leaned in and said, “Please make sure if I ever die that I don’t have a religious funeral.” I assured you that you would be at my funeral first. That was three short years ago. There was so much more for you to do.

We know you struggled with depression. We know you kept your feelings bottled up inside. We thought you were doing fine. You and your wife were on a journey together, heading toward new and wonderful adventures.

21 is too soon to go.

Why, Geoffrey? Why?

Geoffrey Evert, sitting on the edge of the monument, taking in the scenery. April 16, 2011.

If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also contact me. Your life is worth it.


One Day


So long, Steve. Thanks for not giving me any fish


  1. Deb Carpenter-Nolting

    So sorry for your loss.

  2. Amber Schiltz

    Irene that is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry for you and his family’s pain. What a special kid, wish I could have met him.

  3. Maunette Loeks

    I felt this when my friend’s husband committed suicide by cop. He was so smart and other traits, he just never could seem to get out of the darkness. My condolences for your loss.

  4. Alex Henwood

    I’m sorry Irene. This is heartbreaking to read.

  5. Lisa Betz-Marquez

    A beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry too, for the world’s loss of Geoffrey.

  6. Kimberley Prouty

    Sorry for yr loss prayers for all from the lara and prouty family

  7. Laurie Boots

    It is beautiful Irene, I appreciate this so much.

  8. Simon Irvine

    Powerful. I’m lost for words. I know You and Paul are feeling it today. My best to both of you.

    • Irene

      Thank you, Simon. I appreciate it, and no one really knows what to say or do right now. None of us have the words.

  9. Misty Dampier

    How completely tragic. I’m so sorry.

  10. Mindy Larson Baird

    My heart is breaking. Another youth gone too soon. I know this young man meant a lot to both of you. I’m so sorry. You are both in our thoughts! Let us know if there is something we can do!

  11. Tammy Flores

    So sorry for your loss. I am saddened to hear this.
    I worked at the cafeteria when he was in Jr high. He was one of the few kids that always said thank you. I wonder sometimes where some of those kids are today. This is not how it is supposed to end. 🙁

  12. Bonnie Smallfoot

    So sorry for your loss

  13. John Berge

    Oh Irene, just read this and feel so badly for you and yours.

  14. Peggy Millay

    This makes me so sad. I too worked with Geoffrey at the JH and FA. He always had a “home” in my classroom. Kids like Geoffrey stay with you forever.

  15. Mary Mumm

    Irene, I am so incredibly sorry. It sounds like Geoffrey was an incredible young man and taught you so much. Please know I am thinking of you.💙

  16. Shana Deaver

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Geoffrey. He was such a nice kid and I really liked him. He will be truly missed. This news saddens my heart.

  17. Jeanette Fisher

    I dont believe I had ever met this young man but I do feel like I have met this person many times over. In church, shopping and the park or at a family reunion. You were an amazing friend and mentor. I wish more could be like you to give help and see the need. Read into or look deeper at a person that all others walk away from instead of toward.
    I am so sorry for your loss and his wife and families loss. God bless…

  18. Susan Wiedeman

    Irene my deepest condolences. It is so hard when a young life is gone. So very difficult for those left behind.

  19. Kimberly Dolberg

    Irene, Thank you for this tribute to him. I am Sarah’s mom. I would like to use this article as part of his memorial service if that is ok with you.

    • Irene

      Please feel free to use whatever you want. Please pass on our condolences to Sarah. If there is anything we can do, let us know.

      • Kimberly Dolberg

        I would really like to talk with you. We want to honor Geoffrey, and help Sarah through this. Our hearts are just breaking. Please call me at 308-562-0067.

  20. Morgan Wallace

    My heart breaks for you and Paul, and Geoffrey’s family. I loved your tribute to him. Please let me know if you need anything or there’s anything I can do for his family as well.

  21. Jim Collister

    So sorry for your loss. Some struggle so hard and nobody sees whats happening inside. He seems to have been a special mind and person. J

  22. Karli Penrose

    My heart is aching as I read this. Him and I have gone to school together for a very long time, I have known that he had expierienced bulkying and depression. I pray for those mourning and his family.

  23. Mary

    Irene, I am so sorry for you and his family. This is a heartfelt tribute to him. Thanks for the insight.

  24. Jennifer Rogers

    Irene, this is beyond heartbreaking. I am so very sorry for your loss and the loss of everyone who loved and knew Geoffrey. It’s clear he brought great joy to your life. I can only imagine the pain he must have been going through and now the pain you are feeling. You’re in my thoughts.

  25. Connie Ochoa-Ernest

    Oh my…im so sorry for your loss!

  26. Bas van Beek

    So sorry for your loss Irene. *knuffels*

  27. Anna Barragan

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts & prayers are with you & your Family.

  28. Amy Longmore

    This truly breaks my heart . Very touching depiction of the essence of Goeffrey

  29. AJ Legault

    Such Beautiful Words.
    Thank you for sharing these precious moments.

  30. Lauren D. Ekdahl

    It is one of the most difficult experiences in life to lose a friend this way. My thoughts connect with your pain and send hope that your tribute to this man can bring some healing to your heart.

  31. Janet Hindley Grosz

    So sorry for your loss!

  32. Irene…what a beautiful tribute…to a young man that sounds like he was blessed to have you & your family in his life! To support & not judge! Thoughts
    & Prayers to his family as well…
    Huggs…I know you don’t know me…but if you need to talk…or get a coffee…please message me…

  33. Marcia Boots

    Irene this is Geoff’s grandma!! Thank you so much for this euology!!it is beautiful!! Our hearts are breaking he was a wonderful grandson!!! 😂😓

    • Irene

      Marcia, I was so sorry to hear about Geoffrey. Please let Paul and I know if you need anything.

  34. Carole L. Mix

    So sorry to hear this. Such heartbreak to lose someone so young.

  35. Sue

    So sorry for your loss

  36. Angela Marie Kembel

    Oh my goodness. That hollow feeling is so hard. Sending hugs!

  37. Gigi Berol

    Wonderfully touching memories you’ve shared. Sympathies to you, all of Geoffrey’s family and those who knew him. A life cut too short is so hard to understand. Continue telling others of Geoffrey’s past. It will help you and them. God Bless.

  38. Janelle

    Irene and Paul – My deepest condolences to you both. The two of you provided Geoffrey with more love in a short period of time than he had ever had in his whole life. We never know why, or find those answers, but you have to know that you made a difference in his young, short life.

  39. Janelle

    Irene and Paul – My deepest condolences to you both. I can only imagine the pain you are both experiencing at the moment. You provided Geoffrey with more love in your short few years together than he experienced in his whole life.

  40. Rick Myers

    So very very sorry! Words are hard to come by but yours are strong and heartfelt!

  41. Michelle H LaTowsky

    This is so heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. Sending my deepest condolences ❤

  42. Lisa Guel

    To you, Irene, I want to thank you for your tribute. It was so heartfelt, thoughtful and gracious. This hurts my heart to have learned of another beautiful soul gone too soon, because of your tribute, all those who didn’t know him have now been given the opportunity to. All those that did know him, now have been given another beautiful perspective. I am so sorry to you for your pain, to the family for theirs. I appreciate knowing someone like you exists out there for struggling souls like Geoffrey. My hope is that you and those close to him will be able to cope and move forward. My deepest condolences.

  43. Deb Schwartzkopf-Schutte

    I am so very sorry for your loss

  44. Chabella Guzman

    So sorry for loss – hope others read your story and if they need help seek it.

  45. Cheryl Nelson

    So sorry for your loss, sounds like he was an exceptionally good person

  46. Kay Wallace

    Irene and Paul – one day in the life of Geoffrey-We were at church in Alliance and Geoffrey was there with his Grandparents. Geoffrey left early. I was to later learn that he left to drive to Scottsbluff in order to be on time for work. I was so impressed.
    Peace and comfort to you all

  47. Kim Baumgartner

    I knew Geoffrey for some time. He was a very special young man. I will truly miss his inquisitive nature and his brilliant imagination. My heart and my prayers go out to Laurie, his family and his friends.

  48. Starla Baer

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Geoffrey seemed to be one smart guy!! I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Laurie Boots , his mom, has been a close friend of the family for decades. Reading this article touched my heart. Thank you for sharing, too many young kids’ leave too soon.

  49. Morgan Krieg

    I worked with Geoffrey at Chilis, and I will always consider him a friend. His sense of humor and his laugh. My condoliences to his family and everyone who knew him. May you find the peace you were looking for, my friend.💚

    • Irene

      Thank you, Morgan. He sense of humor was quite infectious and he always knew how to keep your attention.

  50. Melanie Waller

    My deepest heartfelt condolences. Prayers to you and everyone who has been affected by his untimely passing. So incredibly sad, and heartbreaking.

  51. Amy Yeager

    My heart goes out to everyone grieving for Geoffrey. What a wonderful tribute to him, Irene. I’m truly sorry for your loss and I pray all of the wonderful memories you carry with you will bring you peace during this difficult time.

  52. Michelle Hubbard

    I also worked with Geoffrey at Chili’s. He had such an amazing personality. He was so funny and could make any person having a bad day smile. He will be missed. I am so sorry for your loss.

  53. Rodney Van Pelt

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time. Such a very nice tribute to Geoffrey. Thank you for sharing, Irene and Paul.

  54. eddie cable

    Irene, so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your friend.

  55. Judy Amoo

    My heart goes out to you and everyone who knew and loved Geoffrey. This is so heartbreaking. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your friend, Irene. 💔

  56. Margie Moss

    I knew Geoffrey from a small boy..It was an honor to know him and more of an honor to love him..He always told me that he had the coolest friends..I now understand who they were..Thank You for touching his life and his heart..

  57. Janet Craven

    So very sorry for your loss and to lose another young person to tragedy. 🙁

  58. Jen Powell

    Thank you for being so nice to him. This is heartbreaking. May God’s comfort and peace be with our family.

  59. Denise

    So sad. I didn’t know the boy, but you shared with us the person you saw and how you loved him. This is truly a heartfelt tribute to him. Thanks, and I hope others read this and understand that this is not what we want to happen to our youth.

  60. Brenda

    Words seem so inadequate.. thanks for sharing.

  61. Patricia Dobry

    Geoffrey’s church family in Alliance joins with you in grieving the loss of this precious young man. If there was something that needed to be done at the church, and Geoffrey and Axel were there, you would always see them helping their Grandpa Bob get the job done! I will not soon forget all of the Christmas Programs that he performed in…and, what a privilege to be able to be a part of helping with Geoffrey and Sarah’s wedding! I didn’t know Geoffrey outside the church doors as you did…God bless you for the friend that you were to him. Our hearts break with you and Geoffrey’s family – may God surround all of you with His peace…

  62. Stephanie Bradley Leeper

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  63. Lane Helgerson

    I haven’t been on facebook much and just saw this. Geoffrey was a unique kid – so smart, with a great sense of humor. Thanks to you and Paul, he was able to weather so many issues in school. I’m so sorry to hear about his passing! You wrote a wonderful tribute.

  64. Karen Bruntz

    So very sorry for your loss . After reading this I felt I knew this fine young.

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