Jeff Stephens, age 63, peacefully passed away at his home in North Platte on June 29, 2022.
Jeff, the son of Charles and Donna Stephens, was born November 17, 1958, in Aberdeen, SD. He was the oldest then came Craig, Jodi and Mike. The family moved to Albert Lea, MN, where they lived until Jeff's junior year of high school then returned to South Dakota where he finished high school, graduating from Sully Buttes in Onida. During his senior year, Jeff worked on his grandparents farm and helped finish the fall crops.
Jeff always considered Onida his second home since that is where his grandparents, Charlie and Lilian Stephens, lived and had a farm. He worked on the farm every year from spring 'til fall until school started. He loved the farm and ranch life, but never really wanted to go back to Albert Lea. Jeff cherished his other grandparents, Vern and Ethel Palmer who lived in Gettysburg, South Dakota.
Jeff later moved to Pierre, SD, and started working construction on a Missouri River pump station for irrigation systems. He followed that company to Mitchell, South Dakota, and that is where he started his trucking career, hauling hay to Texas at the age of 18.
In 1979 Jeff moved to Ft. Collins, CO, and met Geralyn Ortiz. He eventually convinced her to move to Evanston, WY, where he worked in the oil fields driving trucks and heavy equipment and did well testing which was hard work and a lot of hours. Jeff and Geralyn got married in Evanston, had two children, Jolene and Jared, and moved back to Ft. Collins in 1986. They divorced in '98.
Jeff continued working various trucking jobs which included driving for an armored motor service, hauling money with an armored tractor trailer, he pulled double and triple loads for Nations Way Transport, then bought a truck from his uncle and hauled cattle and grain. In 1999 Jeff started driving for Wal-mart Transportation and eventually achieved 2.5 million safe driving miles!
Jeff met Karen Waite in 2003. They lived in Loveland, CO, until 2007 when Jeff was transferred to North Platte with Wal-mart. Jeff and Karen married in 2013 and later divorced. They cherished their miniature donkeys, Dusty and Festus, and enjoyed going back to Colorado to see Jared and Jolene and the grandkids, Lily, Gianna and Gracie, as well as Karen's kids, Josh, Mark and Aaron. Even though Jeff was divorced from Geralyn and Karen, he remained friends with them and loved them both. On January 25, 2022, Jeff and Karen were reunited in marriage.
Jeff was confirmed at the Methodist Church in Albert Lea, MN. His hobbies included fishing and hunting elk and pheasant, and he was a longtime member of the NRA. Jeff enjoyed big laughs and practical jokes with friends and family. He was truly blessed with family and friends and by the hand of God, may they all meet again in higher places...Life is but a journey.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Donna Stephens; and his grandparents.
Survivors include his wife, Karen; his father, Charles (Sandy) Stephens of Minnesota; stepfather, Kenny (Judy) Barnes of Michigan; children, Jared Stephens of Loveland, CO, and Jolene Stephens of Ft. Collins, CO; grandchildren, Lily, Gianna, Gracie Stephens; his sister, Jodi Skellenger of Oregon; brother, Craig (Julie) Stephens of Watertown, SD, and Mike Stephens of Ft. Collins, CO; and other family.
In keeping with Jeff's wishes for cremation. Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, at Odean Colonial Chapel. The guestbook may be signed online at odeanchapel.com or prior to services at Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore, which is in charge of arrangements.