Jeffrey Michael Wallerich, beloved father, son, brother, uncle, coach, and friend passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. We are blessed to have had 53 years with this spirited and loving man. This world was introduced to Jeff on April 3,1969 at Jefferson County Hospital in Fairfield, IA.
Jeff began school at Keota and later moved to Sigourney in 1976. As a Savage, his high school years were filled with success in football and track; but he also attempted basketball. He was a two-time state champion in track (100M, 200M) and represented Sigourney as one of Iowa’s elite football talents in the 1986 Shrine Bowl. Jeff graduated from Sigourney High School in 1987 and carried his passion for athletics forward to Central College. He played football and ran track all four years; earning All-American honors in the 4×100. To this day, he still holds two Central playoff game records from the 1990 victory over St. Thomas: longest run (87 yards) and most yards per carry (9.1).
After college, his pursuit of excellence cascaded into the professional world. He earned his MBA from Drake in 1998 while simultaneously embarking on the most important journey of his life, fatherhood. Jeff was a proud father and told anyone within earshot about his daughters.
He had three daughters and lived many years in Sigourney working in insurance and investment planning. He was a member of the Sigourney United Methodist Church and Sigourney City Council.
Jeff moved to Fairfield in 2014 to be closer to his girls and write his next professional chapter. His work was a big part of his life. He loved his job and thought of his colleagues and clients as family. Jeff had countless great friends in the community. He was able to share his love for track and field as a coach at FHS.
Jeff worked hard but played even harder. He loved to spend his free time golfing, being the loudest voice at sporting events, bike riding, and skiing. Anyone who knew Jeff, knew his love language was food. Whether trying new recipes or checking out restaurants, he perfected the art of eating. In recent years, he also enjoyed spending quality time with his dad at the family farm. Ultimately, his favorite activities were the ones involving his three favorite people: Meredith, Liv, and Sophie.
He had a zest for life and an ability to have fun no matter what he was doing. He was always ready for new adventures. Jeff’s magnetism quickly turned strangers into friends, and he was loved by all who knew him.
The soundtrack of his life had many genres. It’s impossible to think of Jeff without associating music and great times. He loved music in all forms; but hearing it straight from the instruments was always his favorite. The sounds, sensations, and feelings from sharing the experience with great company transcended the music itself.
For over five decades, Jeff was the life of the party and the loudest voice in the room. Whether you knew him in kindergarten or in his fifties, the outcome was the same. His smile drew you in, and his gaze kept you captivated. In fact, the only thing bigger than his smile was his calves. His inquisitive and caring nature guaranteed questions (and answers) were never in short supply. He had a knack for telling stories with just the right amount of exaggeration. As good as his stories were, he was even better at listening. He approached relationships with love, enthusiasm, and unbridled fervor. He loved without reserve and gave of himself without hesitation.
Anyone blessed enough to know Jeff is keenly aware of his ability to uplift while injecting a heavy dose of joy and laughter into anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. For those of you less familiar, we’re so sorry you missed out.
Those left to cherish his memory include his loving daughters; Meredith Wallerich and Olivia Wallerich of Des Moines, Iowa and Sophie Wallerich of Ames, Iowa. His parents Gary and Jan Wallerich of Geneseo, Illinois, sisters Tonya Thompson (Brett) of Golden, Colorado and Erin (Brian) Wyffels of Geneseo, Illinois, and his brother Jonathan Wallerich (Morgan Haugland) of Clive, Iowa. He also lives on through his six nephews; Charlie, Oliver, and Isaac Thompson as well as Jase, Drew, and Luke Wyffels and many loving extended family and friends.
He joins these relatives in heaven: grandparents Irvin and Ruth Lough, Alfred and Freda Wallerich, and uncle Michael Wallerich.
Funeral services will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at the Cranston Family Funeral Home in Fairfield, IA with Pastor Jaci Jarmes officiating. Cremation will take place following the service. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, with the family present to greet friends from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to the Fairfield Golf and Country Club (905 E. Harrison Ave.) immediately following the service to share stories and to celebrate a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Fairfield Track Program, Sigourney Track and Football Programs, Little Superheroes, or treat yourself to a KFC pot pie in honor of Jeff. Please designate your preference and mail to 266 S Holman Way, Golden, CO 80401. Friends may leave online condolences at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Jeff’s service will be livestreamed and can be joined by accessing the webcast on Jeff’s obituary page.