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Jan Jasperson passed peacefully in his home surrounded by his boys. Born in 1950 to Dale and Joanna Jasperson, Jan was the 8th of 11 children. Jan met Holly and they were married in 1968. Their first son, Robert, was born later that year, to be followed by James in 1972 and Jon in 1975. They lived on Missoula’s North Side with Jan working numerous jobs to support the family.
Jan followed his mother’s passion of cooking, having operated the sandwich shop from the Union Club during the day and working as a night watchman for White Pine and Sash during the evening. Following the closure of the mill in 1995, Jan took advantage of the retraining available to him and pursued his culinary passion, attending Western Culinary School in Portland. After graduating at the top of his class, Jan naturally selected his first internship at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. His work ethic led to being hired directly afterwards. He would spend a few years in Los Angeles catering legendary parties. Eventually seeking out a slower pace, Jan took a job with Raytheon Polar Services where he worked at the McMurdo Research Base in Antarctica. Jan is one of the few people to “winter over” as part of a skeleton crew keeping the base running during the 8 month long “night” of the Antarctic winter. Jan wintered over 6 separate times, including one year in which he was able to work alongside his son James.
Jan would return to Missoula later working for the University of Montana’s dining services. He enjoyed being part of the team responsible for the creation of the Iron Grizzly and its focus on serving sustainably sourced food. He spent his final years in “retirement” spending as much time as possible with his grandson Jace and working “as much as he wanted” to for Beach Transportation driving special needs children. He was particularly fond of “his kids” as he referred to them, and was heartbroken when he could no longer drive for Beach due to his illness.
Dad accepted his diagnosis with grace and humor. “How much to burn an old fat guy?” he asked when he entered the crematorium as he was preparing his final wishes. One day, when I was unable to fight back tears, he looked at me and said “Don’t be sad, I’ve lived a good life”
Jan is survived by his Siblings Robert (Diane), Sherry (Mike), Hannah, Linda, Don, his sons Robert, James (Vanessa) and Jon, and Grandchildren Samantha, Jace, Quinn and Zoey. There were a ton of friends along the way and probably a few ice wives too. Dad, you did good!
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