Jeffrey S. Wanzek

Jeffrey Stanley Wanzek, age 62, passed away at Ray Hickey Hospice in Vancouver WA, with family by his side on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, after an eight-month battle with esophageal cancer.

He was born in Fargo, North Dakota, on October 18, 1957, to Stanley and Irene (Schlenker) Wanzek. Jeff was one of four siblings. As a child, Jeff enjoyed hunting, trapping and helping his grandparents on the (Schlenker) family farm in Gackle, ND. After graduating from Fargo North High School in 1976, where he lettered in hockey, he obtained his BS in Construction Management from North Dakota State University. His summer breaks were spent working construction and building grain silos. Jeff’s career began in California, but soon lead him to Phoenix, Arizona, where he met the love of his life, Paula Kuvaja from Kemijarvi, Finland. They fell in love, married and together raised three sons. In 1995, they planted roots in Battle Ground, Washington. 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’s greatest pleasure was spending time with his sons fishing, hunting, and fixing their cars. As a “Jack of All Trades”, he frequented garage sales for old tools and collectables. He also loved a good BBQ and always prepared the best turkey come Thanksgiving! Jeff and Paula loved spending extended vacations traveling and visiting family. Their travels included road trips to Fargo, flights to Finland and many other destinations.

Jeff showed immense courage by sharing a touching remembrance at the funeral for his dad, Stanley, during this already difficult time as he faced the news of his recent cancer diagnosis. As a family, we cannot thank Paula and their sons enough for the love and support they showed Jeff during this time and throughout his life.

Jeff’s life was cut too short and he will be greatly missed. In his own words, “It was a good life, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else”.

Jeff is survived by his wife Paula, sons Mikko, Riku (Sarah), and Olli; one sister, Janet (Larry) Carlson of Moorhead, MN, two brothers, Mike (Sheri) of Fargo, ND, and Steve of Durango, CO; nieces, nephews, and in-laws. He was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Irene Wanzek. A private celebration of Jeff’s life and scattering of ashes will be held by his family at a later date.

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