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Jeffrey Vincent William Stephani, 36

Jeffrey Vincent William Stephani, 36, passed away Monday, April 2, 2007 at his home in Baudette, Minnesota, following a long battle with brain cancer. As was his wish, he was surrounded by his family and friends.

Jeffrey Vincent William Stephani, 36, passed away Monday, April 2, 2007 at his home in Baudette, Minnesota, following a long battle with brain cancer. As was his wish, he was surrounded by his family and friends.

Jeff, the son of William and Julia (Olson) Stephani, was born October 27, 1970 in Buffalo, MN. He spent most of his childhood in the Puposky area, near Bemidji, Minnesota. During his early years on the farm, Jeff spent his time riding his bike as far as his legs would take him, fishing with his grandfather, and playing with his brothers, sisters, and neighbors.

Jeff was baptized at Methodist Church in Buffalo, MN and Confirmed at St. John's Catholic Church in Nebish, MN. He graduated from Bemidji High School in 1989, and attended one year at St. Cloud State University before returning to the Bemidji area to attend Bemidji State University, where he graduated with a Teaching Degree in 1995.

It was during his college years in Bemidji that Jeff met the love of his life, Leah Marlene Gubbels. Upon graduation, Jeff and Leah moved to Baudette Minnesota, and they were united in marriage at First Lutheran Church, in Baudette, on August 26, 1995. During the next several years Jeff and Leah's family grew by three beautiful boys: Jacob (9), Isaac (6), and Samuel (2).

Jeff student taught at Roseau High School and he began teaching full time as the Industrial Technology Teacher at Lake of the Woods School in the fall of 1995. One of the most popular classes that he taught was on the subject of building fishing rods. Throughout his teaching career he also coached little league baseball, and both girls softball and boys basketball. He also owned and operated Jeff's Lawn Service during the summers.

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Jeff loved the community that he and his family chose to call home and was very actively involved. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Baudette Fire Department and a volunteer EMT with the Baudette Ambulance service. He is a member of Wabanica Lutheran Church, served a term on the Church Council, and was the groundskeeper. He was the Captain of his Relay for Life team and at one of the events delivered a moving keynote address from his personal perspective. He was a committee member and volunteer for 'Take a Kid Fishing'. He was in the Bowling League and the Men's Softball League. Jeff was a true servant to his fellow man and always had time for a chat. It was not uncommon for one fifteen minute errand to last several hours.

Jeff's love for the outdoors was well known, and he was an accomplished deer hunter and muskie fisherman. It seemed that Baudette and Lake of the Woods were a paradise made especially for Jeff. He enjoyed hunting in the Baudette area and continued to hunt in Puposky. He enjoyed his yearly muskie fishing trip to Lake of the Woods in Ontario and made several other trips each year. He enjoyed ice fishing on the Rainy River and on Red Lake. If you could hunt or fish for it, Jeff did. He was always the first one out and the last one in and always had a hunting or fishing story that he was willing to share around the campfire after a day in the field. One of the greatest joys in his life was to take his own boys hunting and fishing with him in Puposky, on his father's land that he loved so much and where he first hunted and fished as a boy.

He is loved by so many who were graced to have known him.

Jeff is survived by his wife Leah; their children Jacob, Isaac and Samuel of Baudette, MN; his parents, William and Julia Stephani of Puposky, MN; his brothers and sisters, Dawn (Scott) Richardson of Bemidji, MN; David (Melissa) Stephani of Plymouth, MN; Katherine Stephani of Milwaukee, WI; Nicholas Stephani of Denver, CO; nine nieces and nephews; one great-niece; his godparents, Ron and Barb D'Orazio of Bemidji, MN; his father in-law and mother in-law, Gerald and Merlyce Gubbels of Baudette, MN; brothers in-law, Aaron (Rachel) Gubbels of Baudette, MN; Luke Gubbels of Maple Grove, MN; and his sister in-law, Annie Gubbels of Duluth, MN.

Jeff was preceded in death by his grandparents, Leonard and Vera Olson; and Anthony and Christina "Bess" Stephani.

Visitation will be from 6-8 PM Sunday April 8, 2007 in the Wabanica Lutheran Church north of Baudette. Funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM Monday, April 9, 2007 at Lake of the Woods School in Baudette, MN.

Interment will be in the Wabanica Cemetery.

Arrangements by Helgeson Funeral Chapel.

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--Paid Obituary

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