For the South Saint Paul High School Class of 1969.
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William Earl Servatius
8/15/1951 - 9/24/2016. "Our Hero" Bill was the sixth of eight children born to Virginia Schneider Servatius and Bernard Servatius. He grew up in South St. Paul and graduated from South St. Paul High School in 1969. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served four years from 1969 to 1973. Upon completion of his naval service he began employment at the Minnesota Highway Department (later known as MnDOT) in 1974, where he worked for nearly 34 years until he retired in 2008. After retiring from MnDOT, Bill started his own consulting company and did training for Lake Superior College for six years. It was at the Highway Department where he met Jolene Gette, and they were married on August 2, 1975. Bill and Jolene had a son, Matthew William, who was born on June 26, 1981, the happiest day of their lives. Having always wanted a daughter too, Bill was overjoyed when our special Cyndie and her family became a big part of our lives, then was blessed again when Matt brought his beautiful Jada into our family. Bill worked in various capacities at MnDOT: first as a bridge plan draftsperson, then as a construction inspector. He worked to build the Technical Certification and Work Zone Safety programs that still exist to this day. He was instrumental in the construction of the workers' memorial, which stands in the front lobby of the Transportation Building in St. Paul. But most important to him were the relationships he built with his coworkers, and he was an advisor and mentor to many. Bill was a man of many interests, and he threw himself into anything he did. He was a serious bicyclist who rode in three Minnesota Ironmans. He spent many happy hours fishing with family and friends. He kept tropical fish, he built miniature models of cars and motorcycles. He raced dirt bikes when he was younger, and always had a motorcycle until he bought his cherished Mustang in 2007. He was a talented guitarist and musician who recorded and produced two CDs of his own original music, an amazing photographer, and an avid traveler. He won the "Best Dad of the Year" award for many years running. Bill, Jolene, and Matt took many road trips across the country and through Canada. His favorite places were wilderness areas, and together with his family he visited the vast majority of national parks on the U.S. mainland, and many in Canada. He loved to entertain, and hosted numerous boisterous poker nights, lively booyas, Super Bowl parties, a CD release party, and family gatherings, including the annual Servatius Family Christmas Party. He was also a big fan of the Gophers, Twins, Vikings, and Wild. He was a lifelong reader, enjoying historical works, biographies, and mysteries. He was a crossword-puzzler extraordinaire. He designed and landscaped his entire property, planting trees and shrubs, building a deck, patio, brick walkways, arbor, and many gardens which Jolene lovingly filled. His shining moment this past summer was his baptism, and anyone who saw him that day said his face radiated pure joy. Bill was devastated when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in September, 2014, and then was dealt another crushing blow when he was diagnosed with Stage 3 gall bladder cancer in April, 2015. But as in everything else he did, he met these challenges head-on, determined to live the best life that he could with the time he had left. He was courageous in his fight against cancer, and fought valiantly right up to the end of his life, all the while maintaining his wonderful sense of humor. He will be remembered for his generosity, his integrity, and his absolute passion for life. He was fiercely loyal and loving to his family and friends, and will be deeply missed by many. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, sister Lois and infant nephew Michael Jerikovsky. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 41 years, Jolene, beloved son Matthew and fiancée Jada; honorary daughter Cyndie, her husband Andy and children Eli and Chloe. Also survived by siblings Gail Johnson (Dick), Jim (Sandy), Micky Ruiz (Nick), Diane Ruiz (Richard), John (Juli), and Dan; sister-in-law Kathleen Gette, special cousin Glenda Schneider, as well as nieces and nephews Todd Lacy, Dean Lacy, Jane Krebsbach (Mark), Michael Servatius (Lisa), Michelle Baker (Erik), Jon Ruiz (Kristin), Raulie Ruiz (Becca), Justin Ruiz (Mariah), Charlie, Theo, and Lilah Servatius, Nathan Eastman (Kristin), Shannon Howell, Jeremy McAloon (Kristen), Lauren Bowe; plus many grand- and great-grand nieces and nephews. An open house to celebrate Bill's life will be held at his home, 12270 Europa Avenue North, 55110, on Sunday, October 16 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Special thanks to Dr. Gary Shapiro and the kind and considerate staff at the New Richmond Cancer Care Center; to Dr. Joseph Micallef, Nurse Jeanne, Breck Salisbury, and all the caring staff at HealthPartners White Bear Lake Clinic; to the compassionate staff at the Mayo Clinic; and to the wonderfully attentive staff at Regions Hospital who cared for Bill in his final days, including his favorite PCA Modupe, Dr. Miguel Ruiz, Chaplain Rob Ruff, pet therapists, and music therapists Bruce Bell and Anna Eltringham who brought great comfort to Bill and his family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to music or pet therapy at Regions Hospital. Please send checks made payable to "Regions Hospital Foundation - Music (or Pet) Therapy" to 640 Jackson Street, Mail Stop 11202C, Saint Paul, MN 55101. Published in Pioneer Press on Oct. 2, 2016