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Jonathan S. Royer February 5, 1970 - March 25, 2021

Jonathan S. Royer

It was a snowy winter’s day on February 5, 1970 when JONATHAN STEWART ROYER first blessed us with his presence. He would spend the next 51 years reminding us what lucky bastards we were to know him.

Jonathan had a wicked sense of humor, elevated sarcasm to an art form, and genuinely treasured the many friends that came into his life. He loved music, had a fine bass-baritone voice, believed Monty Python should be a part of every child’s education, and enjoyed researching his family antecedents, delighting in the fact that he could trace his lineage to Mary, Queen of Scots. Perhaps it is from Her Royal Highness that Jonathan inherited his talent for command, frequently demonstrated at the precocious age of 9 when he would order the other students to “fall in line” during gym class. Jonathan enjoyed being right and, to the consternation of his family and friends, often was. It took him only 20 years to admit he “might be wrong” about the year he wore a powder blue suit to a certain childhood friend’s birthday party (for the record, it was 1976, NOT 1975 as he often claimed).

Jonathan always had an eye for the ladies and they returned his adoration in equal measure. It wasn’t until his bank teller recommended that he check out the cute recruiter down the street that he fell hook, line, and sinker. Regrettably, she was Navy but that didn’t stop this airman from ardently pursuing her. Christine (née Keller) turned him down twice before succumbing to his deep-set eyes, dimples and buckets of charm. Proud of his Scottish heritage, Jonathan treated their wedding guests to the sound of bagpipes and the sight of his hairy knees in a dashing Royal Stewart tartan kilt.

After 19 years, seven PCS orders across the nation and around the world (Jonathan adored those military acronyms), and too many deployments to count, their marriage may have ended but their love for one another did not. Instead, it manifested in the raising of a trifecta of truly terrific kids: Danielle (Mike), Joshua (Kylie) and Jonah (Sophia), who found some pretty wonderful life partners of their own. Jonathan always boasted he was a better father than husband, but it was his role as “Papa” to grandchildren Lily, Jameson, Norah, and the eagerly anticipated Daphne that he positively relished.

The youngest of Martha Jean “Marty” and Walter Scott Royer’s clan, Jonathan often claimed that, as the baby, he had a tougher upbringing than his older siblings. Upon request, sister Jean (David) Comer and brother Scott (Karen) Royer will faithfully and happily produce all evidence to the contrary. At least Jonathan’s youthful antics served as a cautionary tale to his beloved nieces and nephew Katie, Annie, Stephen, and Sarah, who all turned out brilliantly despite (because of?) their dear uncle’s example.

A Freemason, Jonathan valued duty, honor, and his military brethren. Proudly serving his country for 27 years before retiring from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he shared this love with his sons, who are the 4th generation of Royers to serve. Jonathan was a combat veteran, awarded so many medals and commendations over his lifetime that he complained his uniform looked like something a buffoonish despot might wear. In truth, Jonathan was more than a little embarrassed by the honors, insisting he was “just doing [his] job.” Jonathan wasn’t very comfortable speaking about his military experiences (he often joked, “I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you”) but he was deeply committed to keeping his loved ones safe. Also, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that it was Jonathan’s idea to smoke out Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega by playing heavy metal music at deafening volumes around the clock in 1989. Or was it?

We’ll never know for certain as it’s one of many secrets that Jonathan has taken to the grave, which – naturally – will be located at Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s most hallowed final resting ground for heroes. In accordance to his wishes, this decorated soldier died peacefully at home on the afternoon of March 25th, secure in the knowledge that he was deeply loved and would be dearly missed.

In lieu of flowers, Jonathan’s family requests that donations be made in his name to: New Richmond High School’s Vocal Music Department, 1131 Bethel-New Richmond Road, New Richmond, Ohio 45157.


An Honest man here lies at rest
As e’er God with his image blest;
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so informed:
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.

– Robert Burns (1754 – 1796)


  1. REPLY
    Trisha Raynoha says

    Nearly a year later, I’ve just learned of your passing. I’m heartbroken, but I’m glad our tours of duty lined up once in awhile. You’ll always be one of my favorite Airmen. I’m so glad we got to meet at field training so many years ago. You will be so missed. Go rest high, sir.

  2. REPLY
    John Yannessa says

    Jonathan, I was crushed to hear the news that you had to leave. I remember our childhoods with such joy and happiness, and maintaining our lifelong friendship has been something I have always cherished. You have gone on your journey now, and I am convinced you are finally at peace. You are full of joy and happiness, with all the blessings of God bestowed upon you. The feelings I am experiencing of losing you include deep pain. And then, I recalled that the magnitude of the pain that I am feeling is directly proportional to impact you had on my life. And I am sure your beautiful family, and others are feeling it much more than I am. You profoundly impacted us all Jonathan, and collectively you will be missed the world over. With a tear, I’ll end the way we always ended our times over the years: “Love ya brotha.” I was a lucky bastard indeed.

  3. REPLY
    Michelle Petry says

    Never Forget
    Jonathan you were a miracle in motion to all that knew you. A one in a million kind of friend that gave me the dream of dreams… A trip to Europe with the most perfect chauffeur, butler, cicerone, dimple faced, hand holder that there will ever be. (Even though you wanted to strangle me for getting lost for 3 hours in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France, looking for Jim Morrison’s grave.) Those memories I will cherish forever. We are all saddened by the loss of a truly dear friend that gave so much more then he received. The love of a lifetime, an answered prayer and an unrepeatable gift.

  4. REPLY
    Duncan "Dutch" Hollands says

    Honoured to have served with this outstanding man and fortunate to have been one of the lucky “Brit” bastards to have known him! Deepest condolences.

  5. REPLY
    Rick Hogue says

    My life long friend…..I truly cherish our childhood memories and I will truly miss you and know you are in a better place. Until we see each other again….

  6. REPLY
    Lisa S Moore says

    I’m so sorry for your loss, I knew Jonathan from HS. I’m going to miss chatting with him on fb.

  7. REPLY
    Shannon Smith says

    He was one of my favorite people and will be missed. My heart is broken… Til Valhalla Colonel

  8. REPLY
    Paul Latif says

    You will truly be missed brother, RIP. Thoughts and prayers to the Royer family!

  9. REPLY
    Richard Kay and Tanja van der Grift says

    Such an extraordinary man and will be greatly missed, and we agree Monty Python should be in anyone’s education. We didn’t meet often but he left a remarkable impression that we will never forget. Our thoughts are with you 💖

  10. REPLY
    Joris Kuijpers says

    I am honored and blessed to have known Jonathan. He was truly a blessing and will miss being one of his lucky bastards. My condolences.

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