Andrew MikeskaJeffrey Andrew Mikeska passed away on April 16, 2009 at the age of 25, after a lifetime of beating the odds.

He is survived by loving parents, Brian and Mary Mikeska, devoted sisters Amy Mikeska of Charlottesville, VA and Colleen Mikeska of Kerrville, TX, grandmothers Rutha Shackelford and Josephine Mikeska, many caring family members and friends, and his beloved dachshund, Samson.

Jeffrey graduated from LBJ Science Academy in 2002 and from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2008 with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and a BS in Biology. In 2007 he was honored by the UT Parents Association with the Mike Wacker award, which is only presented to a student who has overcome exceptional hardships to further his academic career, despite extreme adversity. Jeffrey was passionate about education and planned to attend graduate school for Aerospace Engineering in the fall. He was accepted by top schools, including Case Western and UT Austin.

Jeffrey was an accomplished Eagle Scout and Tae Kwon Do student. He loved to bar-b-q for friends and brew his own beer. For over 2 1/2 years he drew the "Rocket Surgeon" comic which appeared in the UT student newspaper, The Daily Texan. He was president of the UT student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2006. In 2008, he worked on the NASA zero gravity nanosatellite project which culminated in a ride in the "Weightless Wonder" aircraft. He enjoyed participating in the Rube Goldberg contest each year and in 2008 the UT Aerospace team placed in the national finals.

Jeffrey was an exceptional son, brother and friend who lived with integrity, courage and fortitude despite a lifetime of challenges, starting with his battle with cancer that began at just 13 months of age. He never complained about the obstacles life had given him. It is clear that the world is a better place because of him. It is rare to use the term exemplary to describe a person, but Jeffrey was just that. We are grateful for the short time we had with him to share.

Special thanks to his dear friends, Amy B., mentors Dr. Robert Bishop and Dr. Linda Hayes, Gail Simpler, many doctors, including Dr. Jeffrey Myers, Dr. Matt Hanasono, Dr. Paul Gidley, Hospice nurse Alice Jefferson and Hospice Austin.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the American Cancer Society Childhood Cancer Scholarship Program, the Jeffrey Mikeska Memorial Scholarship at UT Austin or Hospice Austin.