Jeffrey James Wakefield was called home on the evening of Dec. 18, at the age of 58.
Jeff was born on Dec. 3, 1958 in Racine to John and Florence (Zastrow) Wakefield, and was a lifelong resident. He received his primary education at St. Joseph School and graduated from St. Catherine’s High School in 1976. From a young age, he spent much of his time in and around restaurants, be it as a cook, salesman or owner. Jeff worked with some of Racine’s favorite eateries, including (but not limited to) Taster’s Choice, Corner House, and Gatsby’s, and sold foodstuffs for companies such as R&S Foods and Sysco Foods of Eastern Wisconsin. Jeff made new friends literally everywhere he went. One of his greatest joys was cooking and serving others. His family will treasure all the birthdays and holidays at which he shared his culinary prowess. He was an active member of his community and his church, lending a hand whenever and wherever he was able.
Jeff was an avid sports fan with a particular fondness and skill for basketball. He played numerous seasons in the city league, was a referee for basketball, and very briefly a coach for both basketball and soccer. Perhaps his favorite sport to play alongside his family and friends, however, was a relaxed, conversational round of golf on a beautiful day.
The only things Jeff loved more than good food were good company, Lifetime Original Movies, and the musical stylings of Bruce Springsteen. He had a gift for saying the wrong thing at the right time, and was an expert practical joker. His hobbies included finding excuses to make pancakes, rejecting sub-optimal backscratchers, and robbing grocery store produce sections, one handful at a time.
Jeff is survived by his favorite son, Ethan, 22, and by his favorite daughter, Lindsay, 20, who could not be prouder of him. He also leaves to cherish his memory a very special and extensive network of brothers and sisters: Kathleen (Marty), Emily, Bill (Kathy), Tim (Debbie), Gary (Lisa), Mary, Gina (Jim), Goldie (Scott), Laurie (Norm), Jim, Mike, Ed, and Heide (Todd). Jeff is further survived by many wonderful nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Florence, and his brother Jackie.
Jeff would like to take this final opportunity to point out to his siblings that it’s obvious he was, in fact, Mom’s favorite, given that she couldn’t go more than one year without him. Perhaps his only regret is that he is unable to cater his own service, which will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, following a 4-6 p.m. visitation at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 322 Ohio St., Racine, WI 53405, Deacon Janice Navarro officiating.
Memorials are suggested to the family.