Cover photo for Jeffrey "Jeff" Braaten's Obituary
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1959 Jeffrey 2014

Jeffrey "Jeff" Braaten

November 30, 1959 — February 8, 2014

Jeffrey Jerome Braaten, 54, of Portland, ND, unexpectedly passed away peacefully at his farm on February 8, 2014. He was born on November 30, 1959 in Mayville, ND to Jerome and Arlene (Stenstad) Braaten. He graduated from May-Port High School in 1978 and from Wahpeton School of Science in 1980 with a diesel mechanic degree. On January 10, 1981, he married Pamela Olek at St. John’s Catholic Church in Wahpeton, ND. They recently celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. Jeff and Pam were blessed with twin daughters and a son. Jeff worked at Valley Equipment in Mayville, ND for many years and eventually took over the family farm west of Portland, ND. Most recently he owned Braaten Construction & Repair and was in the middle of officiating the high school basketball season. Raising cattle was one of his passions as he cared immensely for animals. He leaves behind his golden retrievers, Hunter and Rudy, and cat, Casper, but joins many of his other family pets in Heaven. Volunteering was very important to Jeff and he spent numerous hours supporting Mayville State University as a member of the Comet Athletic Club and Foundation Board, leading 4-H, contributing on the township board, and serving Bang Lutheran Church. His talents were countless and included everything from installing a new kitchen sink to building an addition onto a house. These talents were done to perfection as attention-to-detail was always necessary to him. His work ethic and supportive nature was second to none. Athletics were a major part of Jeff’s life; especially basketball. He coached and officiated for over 20 years. He was so proud of his daughters who have carried on his coaching tradition. Jeff was most recently excited to be chosen to officiate at the District high school girls’ basketball tournament. The friendships he formed through athletics were strong and admirable. Jeff unconditionally loved his wife, Pam. She meant the world to him. Together they enjoyed being involved in the community of Mayville State as well as spending any free time with their children and grandchildren. They shared many meaningful friendships with other couples both near and far. One of his favorite things to do was vacation at Kasie and Charles’ home in Florida. That was the only time he would actually relax and take a break from all of his responsibilities; his soul is now forever at rest. Deep sea fishing, indulging in crab, cuddling with Madelyn, and spending time with his Kasie-Bird was what he looked forward to the most. He couldn’t wait to spend time in Florida for Madelyn’s first birthday coming up next month. Jeff gave Rammie many nicknames including, Go-Jo, Josie, Josie-Heimer, and Jo. He visited her family often in Fargo; he even had his own dresser drawer full of his necessities and made sure his favorite ice cream was always in their freezer. They would stay up late watching movies and eating popcorn or socializing out by the bonfire. Jaylee could easily convince Grandpa to take her around the block on her bike or play with Barbies in her bedroom. He would often work on projects with his son, Brady, in which they would go back and forth upon best practices. They shared a special bond that only they understood and both cherished the fact that they knew what to expect from one another. His Fargo visits often included stopping by his parents’ place and assisting them with little projects. He loved when his brother, David, would come home and everyone would gather for the best meals ever. He appreciated his father looking after the farm while he would vacation in Florida and his mother stocking his freezer with baked goods. The lights of Jeff’s life were his granddaughters, Jaylee (3.5 years) and Madelyn (10.5 months). They had Grandpa Jeff wrapped around their little fingers, and Jaylee made sure Grandpa always had a princess sticker on his shirt. He usually smothered his granddaughters with kisses until Jaylee would tell him, “That’s enough, Grandpa!” He would call Rammie’s phone at least once a week and ask to speak with Jaylee by saying, “Junior, please”. Grandpa Jeff constantly teased that he was going to take Jaylee and Madelyn to the farm and raise them there. He was happiest when entertaining his family at the farm. Jeff is survived by his wife Pam; children Kasie (Charles) Windfelder, Navarre, FL; Rammie (Andy) Olson, Fargo, ND; Brady Braaten (Michelle Kraling), Fargo, ND; parents Jerome and Arlene Braaten, Fargo, ND; brother David Braaten, Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren Jaylee Olson and Madelyn Windfelder; step-grandchildren Charlie and Zoe Windfelder; aunt Marlys (Arden) Rux, Mayville, ND; his in-laws Ray and Marge Olek, Brainerd, MN; brother-in-law Jeff (Debbie) Olek, St. Michael, MN; sister-in-law Sue (Jim) Connor, Fort Collins, CO; and nieces, nephews, and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister Carol Braaten; infant granddaughter; grandparents Charley and Caroline (Basol) Braaten and Hans and Ragna (Smerud) Stenstad. Jeff Braaten was a husband, father, son, brother, mentor, coach, role model, farmer, carpenter, and friend. His death leaves a void of indescribable measures, and we will impatiently wait for the day when we can embrace him again. Blessed be the memory of our dad. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the MSU Giving Hearts Campaign February 13th, Comet Athletic Club, or Bang Lutheran Church. Visitation: Will be 5 – 7 PM with a 7 PM Public Prayer Service on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at the Baker Funeral Home Chapel and will resume one hour prior to the service at the church. Funeral Service: 2:00 PM Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at Mayville Lutheran Church in Mayville, ND. Burial: Bang Cemetery, Portland, ND.
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