Jeffrey Stanley Wanzek passed away with family by his side Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, affirming, in his words “it was a good life, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else”. His passing befell at Ray Hickey Hospice in Vancouver Wash., after an eight-month battle with esophageal cancer.
He was born in Fargo, N.D., Oct. 18, 1957, to Stanley and Irene (Schlenker) Wanzek. Jeff was one of four siblings and as kid spent a lot of time on the family farm in Gackle, N.D. After graduating from North Fargo High School in 1976, where he lettered in hockey, he obtained his BS in Construction Management from NDSU.
His summer breaks were spent building grain silos and working construction. His career began in California but soon lead him to Phoenix, Ariz., where he met Paula (Kuvaja) and started a family.
In search of a more nostalgic winter they planted roots in Battle Ground, Wash., in 1995. Jeff was an excellent carpenter, and built his family a beautiful home on 2.5 acres. He enjoyed his career and was proud of the numerous projects he completed including schools, hospitals, highways, golf courses, and Portland high-rises. Jeff relished spending time with his sons fishing, hunting, and fixing their cars. He loved a good BBQ and always baked the best turkey come Thanksgiving. During extended vacations he packed the family up for road trips to Fargo or was always on board for a trip to Europe (mostly Finland) his wife arranged. As a “Jack of All Trades”, he frequented garage sales for old tools and collected Indian rocks.
Jeff will be forever missed, he is survived by his wife Paula; sons Riku (Sarah), Olli, and Mikko; sister Janet (Larry) Carlson of Moorhead, Minn.; brothers Mike (Sheri) of Fargo, ND, Steve of Durango, Colo.; nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Due to COVID-19 a private celebration of his life and scattering of his ashes will be held by his family at a later date.