Jason Taylor Draper
December 5, 1992- February 11, 2018
Jason was born on December 5th 1992, first son of Rhonda Ryckman and William Draper, in Tacoma, WA. at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He passed at his home in West Seattle where he grew up with his Mother, Rhonda, stepdad Patrick Bleck and his siblings, Brittnee, Liam and Lincoln.
Jason overcame many challenges as a young boy, teenager and into adulthood.
He attended West Seattle Christian school, then Lafayette School for a period of time before underlying medical issues requiring a tracheotomy and day time nursing led his family to choose home schooling.
As a youth Jason loved T-Ball and all the normal activities of children his age. He was rambunctious and caring, ever solicitous of his Mom, his rock and loving provider throughout his life. He was involved in Boy Scouts of America for a time and enjoyed tremendous support among that group of leaders. Every summer he attended Stanley Stamm camp where he was the perennial favorite of the college-aged camp counselors who pledged to include him in their future frat parties when he got older.
His underlying condition of Neurofibromatosis confined him to a wheelchair at the age of 10 and as per usual this impediment did little to discourage his engagement with life. Through the help of home schooling connections and tremendous support from friends, he involved himself in wheel chair fencing, competing on a national level in Houston, Atlanta and Orlando– earning him the moniker of Wheel Chair Zorro in one publication.
His passion for fencing gradually gave way to a more manageable joy – cooking and sharing his food with friends and family. He enrolled in a Cordon Blue cooking school for kids and excelled at mastering basic chef skills and showed a very intuitive expression and deliciousness in his flavorings. We nicknamed him the Rolling Chef.
Rhonda continued to home school Jason through middle school and junior high, enrolling him at Kennedy High School in Freshman year. He transferred to Chief Sealth High and graduated in 2008. During these years especially, Jason developed into a talented guitarist and played with the Chief Sealth High School and Kennedy School Jazz Bands. Just on the verge of graduation, he displayed a new particularly cruel affliction-Gastroparesis- that left him nauseous most of the day and precluded his participation in his graduation ceremony.
His Gastroparesis somewhat abated, and college enrollment forsaken that fall, Jason elected to have surgery to straighten his spine, an operation that removed three vertebrae and braced his back with two titanium rods. As usual the recovery was arduous and prolonged, but you wouldn’t have heard that from him.
Jason enrolled at South Seattle Community College the following year where he pursued a wide range of interests including music production, graphic design and psychology. He was a much sought-after friend among many at South Seattle Community College and greatly enjoyed the diversity of friendships he developed there. Several of his friends came to his home studio to make and record music with him.
Jason attended college for as long as he could before a resurgence of his stomach issues lay waste to his plans to continue his education. He opted for a surgically implanted stomach pace-maker and extremely restrictive diet to try to tame the debilitating symptoms he struggled with every single day, but unfortunately not to great success. He was at his passing preparing for yet another experimental surgery to help forestall his condition.
In his last years as per usual Jason found a way to sublimate his pain by expressing himself thru art by creating water color paintings of birds he imagined, marine life and various abstract works.
In addition to his painting and music Jason maintained a lifelong interest in Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, and competing on his own in several local tournaments. As was his way, Jason followed each passion on his own, independently, taking local buses to these events just as he did to attend school. He also shared a passion for WWE wrestling which he loved to watch with his Grandpa Ernie, and his Dad Bill, both with whom he shared lifelong relationships. He recently remarked during one contentious political debate or another blaring out of our living room TV, ‘See! No difference between this and WWE! Good vs Evil, it’s all the same BS!’
His pain was constant but rarely revealed to his closest friends and family. Jason chose a truly heroic posture so that others might not feel badly about him and treat him exactly as they would any other member of the family. This was quite intentional. No one ever heard him complain about his pain or general plight in life. He chose to accept and use his strength to create beauty and laughter at every turn. Any one who knew Jason or even met him once, were invariably struck by this will to normalcy, his insistence on being treated like anyone else and most memorably his gift for humor. There is not a day that will ever go by for any of us who so loved Jason that we won’t recall some witticism, an arched eyebrow above that wry bent smile and count ourselves the luckiest to have known and loved him.
A Celebration of Life will be held February 24th, at Fauntleroy Church, 9140 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA at 1:30 PM.
If you are so inclined in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jason Draper’s name (at the bottom of the web page) to Children’s Hospital: https://giveto.seattlechildrens.org/ give
Please feel free to share your memories of Jason at www.emmickfunerals.com
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services of West Seattle
Seattle Children's Hospital
4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98105