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Forever in the Hearts They Leave Behind

Jeffrey Frank Jurena

January 20, 1964 – March 28, 2021


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Jeff Jurena passed away Sunday, March 28, 2021, at the Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Gilbert, AZ, at age 57.  He was lovingly surrounded by his wife, Vickie, as well as his parents, siblings, uncle, and nieces.

He was born in Atlanta, GA, on January 20, 1964, and raised in Greendale, WI.  A natural athlete, Jeff excelled in tennis, football, volleyball, and basketball. He loved bowling, had four 300 games and carried a 210-220 USBC average. But his true love was golfing, where he was a 6-handicap golfer and was able to play  many courses around the United States. He was also a prolific writer, and in his youth, was a sports reporter for at least 16 community newspapers and also worked for Publisher Roy Reiman.

After surviving Hodgkin’s Disease early in his adulthood, Jeff graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, and began his engineering career at Crane Engineering in Appleton, WI. This is where he met and married the love of his life, Vickie “Pudd” Gardner. He later joined Kimberly Clark (K-C) in Neenah, WI, in January, 1991.

He worked and traveled to many K-C locations around the U.S. as well as internationally. He worked at mills in Loudon, TN, Beech Island, SC, as well as Fullerton, CA, and in 2003, relocated back to Neenah, WI, to be closer to family. Family was everything to Jeff. After early retirement, Jeff and Vickie moved to Queen Creek, AZ, just outside of Phoenix in the summer of 2019.  Even then, he continued to work as a consultant doing Mechanical and Process Engineering, both true vocational passions of his.

Jeff touched so many lives with his special and caring connections for everyone he interacted with. He made everyone feel appreciated, special, and truly seen.  For one year on his Facebook page, Jeff wrote a daily Thankfulness Challenge which inspired many of his FB friends to look for and appreciate the beauty of life, relationships, the Oxford comma, and even childhood breakfast cereals. Jeff also had a wicked smart mind, sharp wit, and an easy laugh, all of which endeared him to so many people.

After being diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in January, 2021, Jeff started a Caring Bridge page with his thoughts and affirmations. His impact on those reading his affirmations were profound—his character even became a centerpiece for a sermon given by one of his Thankfulness Challenge readers.

Jeff loved his life and is survived by his wife of 31 years, Vickie Jurena; his parents, Judy and Wayne Tanaka; his sister, Erin King and wife, Cari Taylor; his brother, David, and wife, Jill; and his nieces: Mackenzie King, Reese Parish, and Haley and Anna Jurena; his Uncle Bill Hintz and wife, Joan, and their children, Katie (Adam) Gleisner, Jon (Mary) Hintz, and Matt (Rachel) Hintz; his Uncle Bob Hintz, and his children, Chris (Patti) Hintz and Todd (Christina) Hintz. His loss will also be felt by a multitude of friends and colleagues around the globe.

A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at a later date in Appleton, WI, and hopefully many of you will be able to attend. We will publish more information on this website. Please keep checking back frequently.

Melanoma is a vicious disease and we hope no other families have to face this tragedy. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Cedars-Sinai in memory of Jeff Jurena and in support of the Melanoma Education Fund. Checks can be mailed to:

Cedars-Sinai Advancement

ATTN: Laura Asok

8700 Beverly Blvd. Suite 2416

Los Angeles, CA 90048

*Please note “In memory of Jeff Jurena for Melanoma Fund” in the memo line.

 

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16 responses to “Jeffrey Frank Jurena”

  1. Richie Porter says:

    Worked with Jeff at Beech Island Mill. My prayers and sympathy to his family. His smile, wit and good nature will surely be missed by those who knew him.

  2. Buddy Brinkley says:

    Jeff’s greatest gift was his ability to connect with people and lift them up. No matter the situation, Jeff was always very aware of the people around him and he used all of his abilities to reach them with cheerfulness and compassion. Such simplicity, and such extraordinary power to bless others. I will always remember that lesson. A great person, and a true inspiration.

  3. Terry Richter-Block says:

    Vickie and Family – I am so very sorry for your loss. Jeff was such a kind soul, caring, intelligent, smart and witty. The way he could remember every little detail amazed me. My brother Eddie and I had a blast growing up with him as neighbors. Those memories will be ones that we will cherish forever. We are very fortunate to have had him in our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with Vickie and the entire family. xo

  4. Linda Hook says:

    The world has lost a truly special soul. He touched so many lives. Jeff was one of my favorite bosses. I will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Alim says:

    Jeff was truly an amazing person and unlike any other. He had the biggest heart and he had such a way with words and telling stories that you couldn’t help be intrigued. I will especially miss his sense of humor and gentle spirit. We miss you dearly my friend! Shine bright.

  6. Kris Ingram says:

    I worked with Jeff at the Fullerton Mill. Great man, funny, caring, and smart. Loved his help, honesty, and loving recommendations!!! Thoughts and prayers with the family. He will be missed❤️

  7. John Plocharczyk says:

    I am so sorry for your loss I worked with Jeff at the Fullerton Mill. Jeff was a great leader always listened to everything you had to say it was a pleasure to work with Jeff my condolences to the family.

  8. Wendy Schultz (Rajchel) says:

    My aunt Barbara Drolshagen, TJs mom, sends her sympathies to Judy- and Vickie.

  9. Barbara Ebeling says:

    I will always Jeff’s smile and his overt friendliness. In particular, I enjoyed his appreciation of life challenge. It really added to my life. We extend our greatest sympathy to Vickie and his family.

  10. Robert Juarez says:

    Jeff, is the person who could always turn a negative into a positive as easy as a light switch. He counseled and conversed with myself and many others as equals. Never have I felt inferior when around Jeff. Even though he was my boss in my early days at Kimberly-Clark and later as a process engineer and consultant in Fullerton mill’s last days. Jeff in fact had charasmatic way of lifting you up and keeping everyone on level ground. Jeff and I shared a common bond that bound was chronic pain. His body has been through lots of debilitating circumstances and though he was in daily chronic pain he still managed to power through daily and smile genuinely and always ask how I was doing with my chronic pain. That is Jeff always caring for others and keeping a positive outlook. I was hoping and praying that he would one day be pain free. That was when I knew he had debilitating back pain. Then I heard he had been diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in January, 2021. I was shocked to hear this devastating news and felt so bad for him, Vicki and his family. Talk about life not being fair and cruel. Still, Jeff being the positive force he is did not have pitty on himself and turned this devastating circumstance around and shared this with us in a matter if fact way. My prays continued but more frequently. Unfortunately, my prayers were answered but not in the way I had hoped. Jeff no longer is in pain. and I know he is smiling down on us all and 🏌️‍♂️Golfing, bowling, cracking jokes, and all he loves doing he’ll be greating us all back home with that great smile of his when our time is done here on earth.
    Thank you Jeff! For being such a positive force in not only my life but all that had the pleasure to know you. Sir… yes, sir! Because you deserve that designation.
    Sincerely, Robert Juarez.

  11. Veronica Zepeda says:

    My sincere condolences to his family, I worked with him at the Fullerton Mill. It was a very good experience , very kind person. Rest In Peace.

  12. Michael Davis says:

    Even though I only knew Jeff through my brother-in-law Bill Jatczak, I came to know him best through his Thankfulness Challenge which was truly inspirational and showed Jeff’s true spirit and being. Jeff was a wonderful human being, and I know he has left his mark by touching so many others with his wonderful joy of life.

  13. Robert Geraldo says:

    Jeff was always so happy and such a positive person. My thoughts and prayers to Vickie and the entire family. He loved Vickie so much and was always sure to tell me something special about their relationship. He will be missed by so many.

  14. Nancy Jones says:

    I knew Jeff through my son Dave, always happy, funny, great attitude, concerned for others first, married the love of his life, looked forward to a golfing retirement in sunny Arizona and then the worst news ever- metastatic melanoma, cancer, one of those sneaky cancers that they say”we got it all” and just when life is looking up, it reappears! I cried for him when I heard this, having lost my first husband to this horrific disease. Jeff was the Godson to my Grandson Chris and fortunately they were able to meet a few months ago while Chris was in Arizona vacationing. I hear he had some funny stories to tell about, lets just say, hair raising adventures with my son, his friend! These are the saddest times in a wife, childrens, parents , families and friends lives. Wishing strength for Vicki as she travels through the coming days , weeks and months without her love. Lean on family and friends for all they can offer you, my heart goes out to you. Sending hugs and love, will reach out with a phone call in the next few months❤️😔🙏🏻, Nancy Jones(Klug)

  15. James W Stewart says:

    So sorry for your loss.
    My condolences to Jeff’s family.

  16. Mike Venegas. says:

    I worked with Jeff at KC Fullerton., He was a funny gentle man with a great heart. He loved his wife , she was everything to him, he always mentioned her in every conversation. may god bless his family.

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Jeffrey Frank Jurena

January 20, 1964 – March 28, 2021


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Jeff Jurena passed away Sunday, March 28, 2021, at the Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Gilbert, AZ, at age 57.  He was lovingly surrounded by his wife, Vickie, as well as his parents, siblings, uncle, and nieces.

He was born in Atlanta, GA, on January 20, 1964, and raised in Greendale, WI.  A natural athlete, Jeff excelled in tennis, football, volleyball, and basketball. He loved bowling, had four 300 games and carried a 210-220 USBC average. But his true love was golfing, where he was a 6-handicap golfer and was able to play  many courses around the United States. He was also a prolific writer, and in his youth, was a sports reporter for at least 16 community newspapers and also worked for Publisher Roy Reiman.

After surviving Hodgkin’s Disease early in his adulthood, Jeff graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, and began his engineering career at Crane Engineering in Appleton, WI. This is where he met and married the love of his life, Vickie “Pudd” Gardner. He later joined Kimberly Clark (K-C) in Neenah, WI, in January, 1991.

He worked and traveled to many K-C locations around the U.S. as well as internationally. He worked at mills in Loudon, TN, Beech Island, SC, as well as Fullerton, CA, and in 2003, relocated back to Neenah, WI, to be closer to family. Family was everything to Jeff. After early retirement, Jeff and Vickie moved to Queen Creek, AZ, just outside of Phoenix in the summer of 2019.  Even then, he continued to work as a consultant doing Mechanical and Process Engineering, both true vocational passions of his.

Jeff touched so many lives with his special and caring connections for everyone he interacted with. He made everyone feel appreciated, special, and truly seen.  For one year on his Facebook page, Jeff wrote a daily Thankfulness Challenge which inspired many of his FB friends to look for and appreciate the beauty of life, relationships, the Oxford comma, and even childhood breakfast cereals. Jeff also had a wicked smart mind, sharp wit, and an easy laugh, all of which endeared him to so many people.

After being diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in January, 2021, Jeff started a Caring Bridge page with his thoughts and affirmations. His impact on those reading his affirmations were profound—his character even became a centerpiece for a sermon given by one of his Thankfulness Challenge readers.

Jeff loved his life and is survived by his wife of 31 years, Vickie Jurena; his parents, Judy and Wayne Tanaka; his sister, Erin King and wife, Cari Taylor; his brother, David, and wife, Jill; and his nieces: Mackenzie King, Reese Parish, and Haley and Anna Jurena; his Uncle Bill Hintz and wife, Joan, and their children, Katie (Adam) Gleisner, Jon (Mary) Hintz, and Matt (Rachel) Hintz; his Uncle Bob Hintz, and his children, Chris (Patti) Hintz and Todd (Christina) Hintz. His loss will also be felt by a multitude of friends and colleagues around the globe.

A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at a later date in Appleton, WI, and hopefully many of you will be able to attend. We will publish more information on this website. Please keep checking back frequently.

Melanoma is a vicious disease and we hope no other families have to face this tragedy. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Cedars-Sinai in memory of Jeff Jurena and in support of the Melanoma Education Fund. Checks can be mailed to:

Cedars-Sinai Advancement

ATTN: Laura Asok

8700 Beverly Blvd. Suite 2416

Los Angeles, CA 90048

*Please note “In memory of Jeff Jurena for Melanoma Fund” in the memo line.

 

Share Obituary:

Send Flowers Print Obituary

16 responses to “Jeffrey Frank Jurena”

  1. Richie Porter says:

    Worked with Jeff at Beech Island Mill. My prayers and sympathy to his family. His smile, wit and good nature will surely be missed by those who knew him.

  2. Buddy Brinkley says:

    Jeff’s greatest gift was his ability to connect with people and lift them up. No matter the situation, Jeff was always very aware of the people around him and he used all of his abilities to reach them with cheerfulness and compassion. Such simplicity, and such extraordinary power to bless others. I will always remember that lesson. A great person, and a true inspiration.

  3. Terry Richter-Block says:

    Vickie and Family – I am so very sorry for your loss. Jeff was such a kind soul, caring, intelligent, smart and witty. The way he could remember every little detail amazed me. My brother Eddie and I had a blast growing up with him as neighbors. Those memories will be ones that we will cherish forever. We are very fortunate to have had him in our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with Vickie and the entire family. xo

  4. Linda Hook says:

    The world has lost a truly special soul. He touched so many lives. Jeff was one of my favorite bosses. I will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Alim says:

    Jeff was truly an amazing person and unlike any other. He had the biggest heart and he had such a way with words and telling stories that you couldn’t help be intrigued. I will especially miss his sense of humor and gentle spirit. We miss you dearly my friend! Shine bright.

  6. Kris Ingram says:

    I worked with Jeff at the Fullerton Mill. Great man, funny, caring, and smart. Loved his help, honesty, and loving recommendations!!! Thoughts and prayers with the family. He will be missed❤️

  7. John Plocharczyk says:

    I am so sorry for your loss I worked with Jeff at the Fullerton Mill. Jeff was a great leader always listened to everything you had to say it was a pleasure to work with Jeff my condolences to the family.

  8. Wendy Schultz (Rajchel) says:

    My aunt Barbara Drolshagen, TJs mom, sends her sympathies to Judy- and Vickie.

  9. Barbara Ebeling says:

    I will always Jeff’s smile and his overt friendliness. In particular, I enjoyed his appreciation of life challenge. It really added to my life. We extend our greatest sympathy to Vickie and his family.

  10. Robert Juarez says:

    Jeff, is the person who could always turn a negative into a positive as easy as a light switch. He counseled and conversed with myself and many others as equals. Never have I felt inferior when around Jeff. Even though he was my boss in my early days at Kimberly-Clark and later as a process engineer and consultant in Fullerton mill’s last days. Jeff in fact had charasmatic way of lifting you up and keeping everyone on level ground. Jeff and I shared a common bond that bound was chronic pain. His body has been through lots of debilitating circumstances and though he was in daily chronic pain he still managed to power through daily and smile genuinely and always ask how I was doing with my chronic pain. That is Jeff always caring for others and keeping a positive outlook. I was hoping and praying that he would one day be pain free. That was when I knew he had debilitating back pain. Then I heard he had been diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in January, 2021. I was shocked to hear this devastating news and felt so bad for him, Vicki and his family. Talk about life not being fair and cruel. Still, Jeff being the positive force he is did not have pitty on himself and turned this devastating circumstance around and shared this with us in a matter if fact way. My prays continued but more frequently. Unfortunately, my prayers were answered but not in the way I had hoped. Jeff no longer is in pain. and I know he is smiling down on us all and 🏌️‍♂️Golfing, bowling, cracking jokes, and all he loves doing he’ll be greating us all back home with that great smile of his when our time is done here on earth.
    Thank you Jeff! For being such a positive force in not only my life but all that had the pleasure to know you. Sir… yes, sir! Because you deserve that designation.
    Sincerely, Robert Juarez.

  11. Veronica Zepeda says:

    My sincere condolences to his family, I worked with him at the Fullerton Mill. It was a very good experience , very kind person. Rest In Peace.

  12. Michael Davis says:

    Even though I only knew Jeff through my brother-in-law Bill Jatczak, I came to know him best through his Thankfulness Challenge which was truly inspirational and showed Jeff’s true spirit and being. Jeff was a wonderful human being, and I know he has left his mark by touching so many others with his wonderful joy of life.

  13. Robert Geraldo says:

    Jeff was always so happy and such a positive person. My thoughts and prayers to Vickie and the entire family. He loved Vickie so much and was always sure to tell me something special about their relationship. He will be missed by so many.

  14. Nancy Jones says:

    I knew Jeff through my son Dave, always happy, funny, great attitude, concerned for others first, married the love of his life, looked forward to a golfing retirement in sunny Arizona and then the worst news ever- metastatic melanoma, cancer, one of those sneaky cancers that they say”we got it all” and just when life is looking up, it reappears! I cried for him when I heard this, having lost my first husband to this horrific disease. Jeff was the Godson to my Grandson Chris and fortunately they were able to meet a few months ago while Chris was in Arizona vacationing. I hear he had some funny stories to tell about, lets just say, hair raising adventures with my son, his friend! These are the saddest times in a wife, childrens, parents , families and friends lives. Wishing strength for Vicki as she travels through the coming days , weeks and months without her love. Lean on family and friends for all they can offer you, my heart goes out to you. Sending hugs and love, will reach out with a phone call in the next few months❤️😔🙏🏻, Nancy Jones(Klug)

  15. James W Stewart says:

    So sorry for your loss.
    My condolences to Jeff’s family.

  16. Mike Venegas. says:

    I worked with Jeff at KC Fullerton., He was a funny gentle man with a great heart. He loved his wife , she was everything to him, he always mentioned her in every conversation. may god bless his family.

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