June 28, 1950 – December 25, 2021
Ed Jepsen was born in Rockford, Illinois on June 28, 1950 and left planet Earth on Christmas morning 2021, after living with cancer for nearly five years. A born scientist, his family and friends will remember his kindness and generosity, his intellectual curiosity, his passionate concern for planet Earth, his sense of humor, his enthusiasm and his sincere interest in the world. well-being of others.
Ed married Kristin Groth in July 2000 and they brought each other a lot of love and joy. They shared a love of the outdoors, plants and trees, wildlife, the arts, various community volunteer activities, and travel. What if family or friends join them? Premium. They had a honeymoon in England, a musical cruise in the British Virgin Islands, plays and museums in New York, went to family reunions in Jepsen and enjoyed exploring our national parks and state.
Ed’s mind needed nature. Wherever he was he loved to seek out and explore the highest peak. He enjoyed the annual winter camping trips and jumping into rivers, with or without clothes. He was a voracious reader, but if he had a choice he would always choose to go, do, explore, and experiment.
Ed encouraged his brothers, and others, to think about how to make a difference and leave a legacy – to be purposeful and to do something that would make a positive difference in the world and with people.
Ed spent most of his adult life in Madison, Wisconsin, where he married his first wife, Karen, and fostered their children, Andrew and Kira, while earning a double master’s degree in forestry and forest soils from the ‘University of Wisconsin.
Andrew lives in Westlake Village, California with his wife Sarah and their children, Ryan and Audrey. Her daughter, Kira, is married to Jameson Brown and they live in Boston, Massachusetts with their baby daughter, Céline.
Ed, “Dzia Dzia”, was magical with the little ones. Even at 71, he was a kid at heart, heading straight for the floor to play with them. He was never too tired to snuggle up and share a book, like “Who Sank the Ship?” One of Ryan’s favorites. Ed loved his 37 years working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, focusing on conservation, resource management and stewardship. He was responsible for longitudinal plant studies related to climate change and traveled extensively in the Midwest to collect data and look after departmental projects. He felt lucky to have a career he truly loved and he instilled value in Andrew and Kira.
Ed and Kristin met as volunteers for Tenney Park and Yahara River Parkway in Madison, parks on the east side that they both appreciated and supported. One of the volunteer efforts to crown Ed has been his work with the Friends of Yahara River Parkway, a nonprofit group that advocates for the boardwalk and adjacent parks. Under his direction and decades of work, the Yahara Parkway underpass for East Johnson Street was completed. Pedestrians and cyclists no longer had to dodge cars to cross East Johnson Street. Ed was affectionately known as “Captain Tenacity” for his work on Yahara Parkway.
Ed was passionate about trout fishing, as was hiking, canoeing and kayaking. He valued the foundations of democracy and supported politicians who promoted policies that would help create a more equitable world. He was eagerly awaiting PBS NewsHour and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and reflected and acted on ways to make our world a better place. He commuted by bike, shared a car with Kristin for many years, and was always mindful of sustainable choices.
Ed adored “Weeona,” a cabin on the lake in central Wisconsin surrounded by forest, owned by beloved friends who treated him like family. In typical Ed fashion, he demonstrated his deep appreciation for his frequent visits to Weeona by creating a comprehensive and sustainable forest management plan that provided them with a plan to maintain the wilderness of this property for generations to come.
Ed was the second oldest of seven brothers, born to John and Angela “Nelly” Jepsen. For the past 30 years, brothers and their families have gathered for a family reunion every two years, in various locations across the United States. At each of these meetings, Ed was the scout and planner of the best hikes, mountains to climb, rivers to canoe / kayak and places to fish. For each reunion, he planned a particularly stimulating outdoor activity, or the “biannual family death walk,” as his son Andrew affectionately called it. Ed’s nieces and nephews still laugh at the wind-ravaged canoe trip in Door County, the canoe marathon on the Saugatuck River in Michigan, and the soaring “Fourteen” in Colorado. All had fond memories of these adventures and Ed was revered as the “nature app” for his in-depth knowledge of the flora, fauna, geology and history of these adventures – and at all times in the great outdoors. . His friends and family will regret it.
It has been said that “people die the way they used to”, and Ed was no exception. The last phase of Ed’s life was filled with love, grace, humor, and his dedication to the search for the truth. “Ed always wanted to know the truth, even when it was difficult,” Kristin said affectionately. “He said, ‘Then we can make good choices. “
Ten days before his death, Ed’s phone was exploding with affectionate text messages and phone calls. He observed, “It seems like people just can’t get enough of me. He was right, everyone would like to have more time with him. Ed will be sadly missed by all those whose lives he touched.
Ed was predeceased by his parents, John and Angela (Nelly) Jepsen. He is survived by his wife, Kristin Groth; her son Andrew (Sarah) and their children Ryan and Audrey; daughter Kira Brown (Jameson) and their daughter Céline; his first wife Karen; and brothers John (Pat), Alan (Marisa), Stan (Barb), Stephen (Mary Ann), Chris (Tori) and Chuck, along with their 17 children and two grandchildren. He is also survived by many of Kristin’s family and countless friends who also helped him leave this land feeling good and truly loved.
Memorials to Ed are easy: volunteer the time or money to help heal our environment, promote fairness, or protect our democracy. Be recklessly kind. Get vaccinated.
A rally to celebrate Ed will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday May 7 at the John Wall Pavilion in Tenney Park in Madison with a program at 7 p.m. and will end with a toast to Ed as the sun sets over Lake Mendota at 8:06 p.m. Ed was still at looking for a good sunset.
Read Ed’s obituary online at Informedchoicefunerals.com.
Online since 01 January 2022
Posted in Rockford Register Star