Garrett Arthur Opper passed away unexpectedly at his home on April 27th, 2022. He was born March 23rd, 1984 in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Garrett grew up in Jacksonville Beach and graduated from Fletcher High School and Florida State College at Jacksonville with an Associate’s degree.
Garrett proudly served our country in the US Marine Corps, serving three tours in Iraq during operation Iraqi Freedom. He came back to resume beach life and worked at New Leaf School of Change and North Florida School of Special Education where he was affectionally called “Coach Opper.” He graduated from EMT and Fire School to go on and serve with St. John’s County Fire Rescue since 2016. He was promoted to driver/engineer last year with the fire department. Garrett also served as a lifeguard for two decades with both Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach and was also recently promoted to a lieutenant on the beach. His love of dogs found him also working part-time at Brewhound Dog Park in Neptune Beach.
Garrett had a passion for being a seasoned lifeguard and captain of the Atlantic Beach Competition Team where he was humorously known as “Poppa Op.” He loved hiking with his dogs, surfing, paddle boarding, competing in lifeguard competitions, and everything to do with the Jacksonville Beaches.
Garrett was a proud and loving son, brother, uncle, dog dad, and friend. He is survived by his loving mother Lori Welty (Don), brother Corey, stepsister Jessica Garrison (Tom), nephew Lincoln Garrison, loving companion Francesca Vandersluis, and dog Finn. He will be greatly missed by his numerous friends, drinking buddies, The Woodhood, and family. We don’t say goodbye Garrett, we say see you later.
A memorial will be held for this wonderful man’s life at Quinn-Shalz Funeral Home, 3600 3rd St S, Jacksonville Beach, FL on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 11am. Immediately following the memorial, put away your tissues, break out your smiles and join us for a Celebration of Life at Brewhound Dog Park + Bar, 1848 King Circle S. Neptune Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Johns County Firefighters Benevolent Fund, 209 Ponce De Leon Blvd., St. Augustine, FL 32084 or Brewhound Dog Park, 1848 King Circle South, Neptune Beach, FL 32266.