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Jordy Carper laid to rest

December 17, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - A man in an umbrella hat and sparkling rainbow vest would look out of place at an ordinary funeral but then Jordy Carper's life was anything but ordinary.

Kenneth Jordan ''Jordy'' Carper, the Berkeley County, W.Va., youngster who drew national attention because of a rare double lung transplant he underwent last year, was laid to rest Thursday afternoon. The 11-year-old died last Saturday at a Washington, D.C., hospital after suffering repeated setbacks from the transplant operation.

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"Jordy was love," the Rev. Michael T. Myers said. "Jordy gave us all a lesson. He taught us to never give up."

Wearing the multicolored outfit he often wore when performing magic tricks with Jordy, Myers, who also is a magician and a local television personality, surprised the 200 mourners who filled the Johnstown Bible Church with a magic trick, pulling the boy's pet dove, Jessie, from a flaming canister.

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The dove - whose sudden appearance caused Jordy's mother, Melissa, to begin sobbing - was the same bird Myers had given Jordy more than a year ago to raise. Eventually, the dust from its wings became too much for Jordy's weakened lungs.

"Jordy will live forever in our hearts," Myers said.

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after he was born, it was believed that Jordy had only months to live when he underwent transplant surgery in Los Angeles in June 1997. During the operation, he received lung lobes donated by a cousin and a family friend.

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal, inherited disease that attacks the lungs by producing a thick mucus that can lead to infection and death by suffocation.

Laying in a small white casket, Jordy was clothed in a Dallas Cowboys football jersey and surrounded by family photographs and stuffed toys.

Washington Redskin great Sam Huff said Jordy was able to get Democrats and Republicans to set aside their differences.

"We all had the same thing in mind," Huff said. "To help Jordy Carper."

West Virginia Del. Jerry Mezzatesta, D-Hampshire, echoed that theme, adding that the young man embodied love, inspiration and purpose.

"All he asked was for a chance to be normal," Mezzatesta said.

Mezzatesta, who was joined at the service by fellow state delegates Vicki Douglas, D-Berkeley, and Harold Michael, D-Hardy, invited Jordy's parents to testify for catastrophic health care insurance legislation in the next session.

Jordy, who would have turned 12 on Dec. 30, was the son of Gary H. Carper Jr. and Melissa Barnhart Carper of Hedgesville. He also is survived by two brothers, Dylan Carper and Trent Carper

Sherilyn Barnhart, Jordy's grandmother, declined comment after the funeral, saying the family needed more time.

Memorial contributions to help offset Jordy's medical bills may be made to the Jordy Carper Memorial Fund, c/o Falling Waters Presbyterian Church, Rt. 1, Box 138, Falling Waters, WV 25419.

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