David William Jaksa of Eaton Rapids,
Known to his numerous sports teammates as “Walli,” passed away May 31 after a three-year battle with Lewy body dementia. He was 62 years old.
Ever a jokester, Dave was the life of the party – or any gathering at all, really. To be in his presence was to laugh until your sides hurt – at an awkwardly-timed joke, a ludicrous pun, or the silly faces he pulled to lighten the mood during otherwise serious occasions.
Dave was happily married to Denise Dell’Acqua-Jaksa and lived the majority of his adult life in Eaton Rapids, where he was a cherished member of the community. He featured prominently in the local sports scene – both as a coach, umpire, and referee during the busy youth sports careers of his three children and also as a player himself, including for ten years in the Senior Softball National League. His exploits on the basketball, soccer, and softball fields were legendary… and if you didn’t know about them, he’d happily regale you with the tales himself. You could also frequently find him yelling at the TV in support of his beloved Michigan Wolverines and all four (currently underperforming) major Detroit professional teams.
Always a proud American, Dave’s patriotism manifested in a number of ways. He was a dedicated public servant, spending more than three decades of his career employed at the State of Michigan. He worked to conserve Michigan’s outdoors at the Department of Natural Resources and to protect and promote Michigan’s voter systems at the Department of State. Never one to shrink from hard work, he regularly joined the July 4 boat parade at North Lake near his family’s cabin in Glennie – never mind that his entry watercraft was a rowboat. He attached a large American flag to the boat, situated the oars, and off he went, leaving larger craft in his proverbial (and literal) wake.
Above all, Dave was the consummate family man. Born in 1958, he was immensely delighted to have grown up in Flint and Grand Blanc as one of seven siblings. He was also proud to be the father of three children, the stepfather of two more, and the recently-annointed grandfather of a baby boy named in his honor.
Dave was preceded in death by his father, Michael, and his mother, Janice. He is survived by his wife, Denise, of Eaton Rapids; three children, Kari Jaksa of Bamako, Mali, Laura (Matt) Brechting of Grand Rapids, and Adam Jaksa of Lansing; two stepchildren, Emilie Dyson of Chicago and Chris Dyson of Pocatello, Idaho; and one grandchild, Theodore David Brechting of Grand Rapids. He is also survived by his six siblings, sister Jan (Gary) Cornelison and brothers Thomas, Timothy (Terri), Stephen (Patricia), Christopher, and Robert (Cheryl), as well as several nieces and nephews.
Dave will be dearly missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the David W. Jaksa Memorial Scholarship Fund, to be established for graduating senior athletes at Eaton Rapids High School. Donations can be sent to Denise Dell’Acqua Jaksa. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, June 3, at 10am at St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing (219 N. Seymour St). Visitation will be held Wednesday, June 2, from 2-4pm and 6-8pm with a Scripture Service being prayed at 7:30pm at the Mills Funeral Home in Eaton Rapids. Visitation will also be held at the church on Thursday, one hour prior to the service. Please visit our website to place online condolences, www.millsfuneral.com.
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