Cover photo for Mr. Marland Jeffries's Obituary
Mr. Marland Jeffries Profile Photo

Mr. Marland Jeffries

Marland Jeffries was born on October 13, 1938, in Newark, New Jersey, to Leola and Leonard Jeffries, Sr. He was their second son.

Growing up, family and friends lovingly called him “Puddin”. As a youngster, he found great joy in playing sports, especially baseball. At Barringer High School in Newark, he was a star. A scholarship to play college baseball would be in his future, but first came a stint in the armed service.

Marland enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1957 and completed basic training at Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was trained as a Morse Code Radio Intercept Operator. In 1959, he was stationed in Germany, where he “listened-in” on Russian communications emanating from behind the Iron Curtain. Marland received an Honorable discharge from the Air Force as an Airman Second Class in 1961.

The following year, he enrolled at Central State University in Xenia, Ohio, where he majored in social work, lettered in baseball, and pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. It was at Central where Marland met the love of his life, Laneda “Rozye” Gomes.

Marland graduated from Central in 1966, and married Rozye in 1967. The newlyweds settled in Brooklyn where they had two sons, Hakeem and Hasan.

Marland’s appreciation for the power of education led him to attain a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and his deep commitment to help those struggling with addiction led him to a fulfilling career as a substance abuse counselor for the State of New York.

Marland’s passions were many. He was energized by people – he was an active member of the Sterling Place Civic Association. He was animated by politics – he ran for a seat in the New York State Assembly as an upstart candidate in 1978. He enjoyed watching sports – in person and on television. He relished reading newspapers – all of them. And he delighted in playing chess – anywhere, anytime, and against anybody.

But it was martial arts that he loved the most. For him, it was a way of life. He began training in Universal GoJu in the early 1980s, and after nearly 40 years of uninterrupted study, Sensei Marland had achieved the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt.

Marland transitioned peacefully on December 31, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. He was 85 years old.

Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife of 56 years, Rozye; their two sons and their wives, Hakeem and Kennisandra, and Hasan and Rashida; their five grandchildren, Jeremiah, Joshua, Asha, Aliyana, and A’laila; his brother and sister-in-law, Leonard, Jr. and Rosalind; and a host of extended family and dear friends.

Marland will forever be remembered for his fierce determination, his philosophical approach to life, his dedication to serving others, and above all, his deep and abiding love for his family. May his soul find eternal peace and his spirit continue to shine upon us all.

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