Robert “Bob” Jeska – Obit

Robert “Bob” Jeska, age 85, of East Grand Forks, MN, passed away at his home on Thursday morning, May 21st, 2020, with his loving family at his side. He had been bravely battling cancer for several months.

Bob was born February 12, 1935, in Fosston, MN, to Archie and Orpha (Dahl) Jeska. He grew up farming and loved the land throughout his life. After graduating from Fosston High School with the class of 1952, Bob went on to attend Augsburg College and Lutheran Bible Institute, where he met Marlys Brekhus. They were married on September 7th, 1957 and blessed with daughter Candice in summer 1958. Bob served in the US Army from April 1957 to November 1959. Following his honorable discharge, they returned home and for several years he was employed by Bergeson Nursery near Fertile, MN. He also farmed with his father-in-law, Hilman Brekhus until 1977. In 1967, Bob began his career at the University of Minnesota – Crookston as a grounds assistant and was promoted to foreman of the grounds crew in 1971. He took great pride in keeping the vast lawns and many beautiful flower beds always looking their best. Loving what he was doing made going to work everyday a joy. Sadly, Marlys would pass away in 1982. In 1997, Bob retired after a very rewarding 30-year career at UMC.

In October 1995, Bob married JoAnn Bean of Crookston, MN and added three step-children, Jeff, Jennifer, and Julie, to his family. They moved to East Grand Forks, MN in 2000. Bob enjoyed yard work and tinkering at various projects. He was proud to give back to his community as a volunteer through Tri-Valley, where he drove many people to medical appointments all over the state of Minnesota. Bob enjoyed reading his Bible, teaching Sunday School, golfing, and collecting model tractors. He was also passionate about his work with the Crookston Gideons. Bob and JoAnn attended Grace Baptist Church in Grand Forks, ND. They both enjoyed spending time with family and were passionate in their faith.

In addition to Marlys, Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Archie and Orpha; brother, Dale; brother and sister-in-law, Ronald and Darlene; and sister-in-law, Imogene (Brekhus) Tharalson. Bob is lovingly survived by his wife, JoAnn; daughter and son-in-law, Candice and Michael Kirby; granddaughter, Cassandra Kirby; three step-children: Jeff Bean (East Grand Forks, MN), Jennifer Leonardi (East Grand Forks, MN), and Julie Bean (Grand Forks, ND); four step-grandchildren: Jordan Goulet, Aubrie and Dawson Leonardi, and Madison Yanish; brother, David Jeska; brother-in-law, Darryl Tharalson;  sisters-in-law: Marge Jeska, Janette Kirckof, and Judy Mattila and husband, Darren; brother-in-law, David Raymond; and many other relatives and friends, all who have been blessed by Bob’s memory.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Robert “Bob” Jeska will be held at 2:00pm, Thursday, May 28, 2020, at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston, MN with Pastor Clay Kraby of Grace Baptist Church of Grand Forks, ND, officiating. Visitation with the family will be from 1-2:00pm. Military Honors will be provided by the Crookston Veterans Council and the Minnesota National Guard Honors Unit from Moorhead. Inurnment will take place at the Norman Lutheran Cemetery, Ranum, MN, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial in Bob’s name to Altru Hospice of Grand Forks, ND; the Crookston Gideons; or Grace Baptist Church of Grand Forks, ND. They may be sent to JoAnn Jeska, 1811 12th Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721.

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