Jeffrey Kenneth Stran, 67, passed into eternal life on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with his family at his side after ongoing health issues over the last few years.
Jeff was born on September 9, 1954 to Carl Kenneth Stran and Joyce (Tharrington) in Geneva, Illinois. He was the “perfect” older sibling to his brother Tim and sister Sue, as long as you asked him. He enjoyed growing up in what was then a rural area of Illinois and riding his bike to the baseball fields and staying until dark as often as possible. He had a natural talent for many sports, particularly baseball and golf.
He graduated from Geneva High School in 1972. He attended the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign to study Finance and graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Despite his academic accomplishments, what he may have been most proud of was the excessive speeding ticket he earned while driving home from college while listening to the Daytona 500 on the radio.
After college, Jeff met his wife Elizabeth (Beth) Bruder while working together at Dukane in Saint Charles, Illinois. They were married in March of 1981 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Batavia, Illinois. At 6’2” Jeff towered over his bride who (at that time) stretched to a proud 4’11”. The church pictures were taken with the help of several church steps hidden by the help of a wedding dress train.
Throughout his career, Jeff worked as commodities trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where he was able to work alongside his lifelong best friend, Timothy Hanson. “Timmy” later became the godfather to Jeff’s daughter Emily when she was born in 1983. Jeff’s son was also named after Timothy’s father, and the delivering doctor, when Charley was born in 1985. It was a miracle that Jeff had any say in the naming of his children, considering he had to be located on a golf course in order to attend each delivery.
Along with the game of golf, Jeff enjoyed spending time outdoors and fishing for muskies “up north” when the family would vacation each summer. Each passenger in the car was required to stretch and “salute” as they passed by Rollie and Helen’s Musky Tackle shop each and every time they drove past, a tradition that continues to this day. It was this love of spending time with family and the outdoors that led the family to build a “cabin” in Tomahawk, Wisconsin near where they often spent time in the summer. This became the primary residence for the family as their children became older in order to offer them a more relaxed upbringing. Jeff was known for making personal sacrifices for others and this was no exception, as he commuted between Chicago and Tomahawk each week for many years. Although he spent many, many hours in the car each week, Jeff still found time to help coach baseball teams, attend hockey tournaments, and take carloads of teenage girls to each and every boy-band concert the nineties had to offer.
When Jeff’s children graduated and settled down in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he and Beth relocated in order to be near their family (and let’s be honest here, future grandchildren). His hobbies in recent years included purchasing unauthorized iPad apps and sneaking them candy without their parents’ permission. It can’t be said for sure that it was because they had the same level of maturity or attention span, but “Bapa” and his grandkids had a special connection that will remain with them for their entire lives, although their time together was undoubtedly too short.
Jeff is preceded in death by his sister Susan (Stran) Schultz and father Carl Kenneth Stran both of whom he missed dearly and eagerly awaited to be reunited with. Jeff is survived by his wife Beth, daughter Emily (John) Crossman of Elk Mound, Wisconsin, son Charles (Talia) Stran of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and grandchildren Noah, Adalinne, Eli, and Elias; as well as his mother Joyce Stran of Geneva, Illinois and brother Timothy (Kelli) Stran of Elburn, Illinois.
A private remembrance will be held at a later time.