Jeff Brett, 61, of Lutsen, died Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Mary’s Campus in Rochester with his wife, Gayle, at his side.
He was born on September 24,1954 to Edward and Marcella (Sagehorn) Brett in Minneapolis. Jeff graduated from Columbia Heights High School and Dunwoody College of Technology.
Jeff was diagnosed in 1985 with a rare enzyme deficiency which involves the liver and lungs, requiring a lung transplant in 1995 and later a kidney transplant in 2002. Since he lived so fully after these transplants, and survived far beyond what was expected, we liked to call him “Mayo’s Poster Child.”
Jeff spent his life absorbing each experience as if it would be his last. He loved life and enjoyed people of all ages. It was once said, he especially attracted kids and dogs...seemed like one or the other was always at his feet.
Jeff was a Land Surveyor, registered in Minnesota and Alaska. He began his career in 1978 in Wasilla, Alaska, eventually moving back to Minnesota due to health complications. The majority of his years were spent self-employed in Grand Marais. He loved working in, while experiencing and breathing in, the outdoors.
He loved his family fiercely no matter the circumstance. He leaves behind his wife of 32 years, Gayle, daughter, Ashley (Nick), and son, Jared (stepson, Carter). Also, his beloved granddaughter, Riley Grace, who truly was the light of his life. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to meet Riley’s little sister (Sadie Kimm) who will be born in February. Jeff also loved and leaves behind many nieces and nephews, cousins, in-laws, and dear friends, always wishing he could physically keep up with them and more fully take part in their lives.
Jeff was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Marcie, and both of his siblings, Greg, and Scotty. He always voiced how he wished his family members hadn’t left so soon. May they now be together.
A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. at the Lutsen Lutheran Church in Lutsen, Minnesota. A later gathering will be planned for this summer in Wasilla, Alaska. His ashes will be scattered in Trapper Creek, Alaska and in Minnesota at Mush Lake and Voyageurs National Park.