January 19, 1971 – May 12, 1997
Charming, funny, outrageous, loving, genuine, loyal, intense, kind… Known as Jeremiah, Smack, or Moussa – depending on the crowd.
Jeremiah was born in Portland, Maine to Donna and Michael Mack. He was raised mostly in Stoughton and Raynham, Massachusetts with his little sister Chelsea. Jeremiah graduated from Boston College High School in 1989 and Tulane University in 1993. At Tulane, he earned the nickname “Smack” and loved to play rugby and hang out with his rugby buddies in New Orleans. After Tulane, he headed for Breckenridge, Colorado where he spent two years as a stone mason, lift operator, and busboy while he planned for a future in the Peace Corps. He accepted a post in Niger, West Africa, and became a Peace Corps Volunteer in August, 1995. He lived there for nearly two years working with and teaching local masons to construct “maisons sans bois” or “houses without wood”. Shortly before his death, Jeremiah decided to extend his service in the Peace Corps for another year. His mother and his sister were both fortunate to speak with Jeremiah on the day before his death. It was Mother’s Day. He was happy and excited about the trip he would make in July to visit his family in Massachusetts and friends in Colorado. He spoke of plans for the future and new love. He spent the evening with friends in Niamey. The next morning, while driving to a friend’s village to help her install some windows, he swerved to avoid a man in the road. He was thrown from his truck and hit his head, dying instantly. The man ran to his side and later said that Jeremiah looked as if he were sleeping.
To have known Jeremiah is to miss him greatly now that he is gone. He was and is, in his own and very special way, an inspiration and source of great joy and love.
Jeremiah served as a construction volunteer in Niger, West Africa.
For nearly two years, he worked with local masons building homes and clinics using woodless construction techniques in order to minimize desertification. Jeremiah’s characteristic big smile, sense of humor, and kindness endeared him to the Nigeriens he lived and worked alongside as well as to his fellow volunteers.
To have known Jeremiah (whether in Massachusetts, New Orleans, Breckenridge, or Niger) means to miss him greatly,but also to remember the way he made people feel and the way that made a difference – and still does.
As a fellow friend and volunteer wrote after returning to Niger and visiting with Nigerien friends many years after his and Jeremiah’s service, Jeremiah “worked very hard and got a lot done, but remember too that the greatest and longest-lasting contribution we could make as volunteers to Niger was through our positive relationships with people there. It’s what makes peace, I think, and Jeremiah did it with a vengeance.”
Funds from the Jeremiah Mack Memorial Fund will benefit Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) projects that contribute to community growth through construction and municipal development activities.
View video clips from the Memorial Service Held in Niger in 1997: