Jeffrey Lopez Polk, a Charlotte native, was the kind of dad that Fathers’ Day was meant to recognize. His family says he lived for his kids and worked two jobs just to be able to give them whatever, within reason, that they wanted.

“He was a dedicated father,” said his dad, James Polk. “That’s why he worked two jobs. He loved to shop for his kids and get what they wanted. He didn’t want them to ask for something he couldn’t get for them. He was a good worker and a good provider.”

Jeff, a 1985 graduate of Myers Park High School, was a truck driver for H.D. Electrical Supply. He also worked on shipping docks for trucking companies.

He died of stomach cancer on May 26, 2011. Jeff was 45 years old.

An involved father

Jeff took son Jeffrey II (“Deuce”), 15, and daughter Akeya, 18, to their sports activities and practices. Akeya, a cheerleader, graduated from Garinger High School last year. “He was pretty involved with sports activities,” James said.

Jeff took his kids to Detroit every summer to visit family members. “He was a real family man,” said his father. “He wanted to keep the family together. He took them to movies and spent lots of spare time with his kids. They were his life and he raised both by himself.”

Deuce recalled what a happy person his dad was and how he loved to watch sports games with him. Jeff advised his son how to play basketball better and how to run faster in football. “He was a good father and did a good job of raising his kids,” his son said. “He will be truly missed.”

About eight years ago when Deuce was playing Pop Warner football, he met Shamika Sherrill, whose son Kadeem was on the team. Shamika, her son and daughter Kiera formed close bonds and enjoyed family activities together.

The kids loved him

“He did everything for his children. We liked to eat out, watch movies and go bowling,” Shamika said. “We enjoyed doing stuff with the kids, watching basketball and watching the girls’ cheers. The kids loved him. He was the type person who would get you laughing, would always have you smiling. He was fun to be around.

“He was a strong individual, full of joy and was a fighter. If he had his mind set to so something, he did it. He kept his word, was full of life and an awesome person,” Shamika said.

“He tried to do everything the right way,” James said. “He was very independent, a very proud man who did not like to ask you for anything.”

His father added, when Jeff got sick, “you had to figure out what he needed and offer it. I told him he was independent to a fault.”

Jeff believed in working for what he wanted. His pride and joy was his gleaming black 2002 Mercedes 600S that he kept showroom fresh. He also bred blue pit bull pups and spent time walking and grooming them. “He had great pups and would sell or give one away to a friend,” his dad said.

Now, James is trying to continue the task of raising Jeff’s kids. You’ve got some mighty big shoes to fill, James. Best of luck to you, sir.

Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them.

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