Obituary: Jeff Overley

Adventurer, friend to all, loving grandfather


John Jeffrey “Jeff” Overley, a former Claremont resident, died suddenly of a heart attack on April 5, 2017, two days before his 62nd birthday.

He was born at Pomona Valley Hospital in Pomona on April 7, 1955 to Edward Eugene “Gene” Overley and Anita “Darlene” Spangler. Jeff grew up in Claremont, where he attended Mountain View and Condit elementary schools and El Roble Intermediate School. His family next moved to Orange County, where he graduated from Villa Park High School.

Mr. Overley was the owner and operator of Excel Plumbing and Rooter in Rancho Cucamonga for many years. A few years ago he retired and sold his business, making his home on the waves of the Long Beach Harbor. Living on his boat was a fitting move for someone who had a lifetime love affair with the sea and who was dubbed “Boat Papa” by his oldest grandson. It was a nickname that stuck among all five of his grandchildren, on whom he doted.  

Mr. Overley delighted in sailing to destinations ranging from Catalina Island to La Paz, Mexico. He enjoyed ocean fishing and bought both his grandsons their first fishing poles. Mr. Overley was also an avid camper, who loved roughing it.

“Jeff was an adventurer in the truest sense of the word. He loved spending time exploring the roads less traveled on land and sea,” his family shared. “He was most content riding his Harley, sailing his boat or behind the wheel of his Jeep. But he was never happier than when he was in the company of his beloved children, Nichole and Danielle, and his adored grandchildren.”

Mr. Overley had a casual charm that gained him many friends. His usual uniform was shorts and a T-shirt. Dressing up consisted of wearing one of the many Hawaiian shirts in his wardrobe. He liked any music that was fun and upbeat, everything from Jimmy Buffet to Calypso tunes to country music. 

Between his adventures on surf and turf, Mr. Overley had many entertaining stories to tell. He has left all who knew him with a lifetime of memories.

“Jeff loved making people laugh,” his family said. “He was the jokester—the life of the party. He was a friend to all who knew and loved him. His warm smile, the twinkle in his eyes and his hearty laugh will be deeply missed.”

He is survived by his sisters Pam Overley Morini and Shelley Grier; his brother Michael Overley; his daughters Nichole Collins and Danielle Kaiser; his sons-in-law Thomas Collins and Gregg Kaiser, and his grandchildren T.C., Declan and Helena Collins and Miles and Addison Kaiser. He also leaves his beloved canine companion Maggie.

After a memorial service for family and friends held at Long Beach’s Al Larson Marina, Mr. Overley’s family will head to sea on his boat “Heart 2 Heart” and scatter his ashes.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jeff Overley’s name to, a nonprofit striving to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.



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