Cover photo for William Jacob Janssen's Obituary
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1994 Jake 2023

William Jacob Janssen

October 28, 1994 — April 5, 2023

Ronan

William Jacob “Jake” Janssen, passed away April 5, 2023, surrounded by his family in his home community in Ronan, MT at St. Luke Hospital. He was born on October 28, 1994, in Missoula, Montana. He was the first child of Richard Jr. and Julie Janssen from Ronan. Jake was a happy, beautiful baby and so loved by his parents and his extended family.

When Jake was a baby, he loved to say cow, dada, and momma, and progressed normally until the age of 18 months. The family noticed a regression, and in May of 1998, Jake was diagnosed with autism. While the diagnosis was hard, his parents trudged forward to give him the best life they could. In February of 1997, a sister was added to the family. Jake loved Jenna from the get-go, and they formed an unbreakable bond over the years that would last until his death.

Jake attended school at KWH Elementary, Ronan Middle School and Ronan High School. During this time, he has so many amazing people that worked with him and loved him unconditionally. Michal Ann Stedje was a fixture in Jake’s life throughout his elementary and middle school years. She was one of his all-time favorite people, and she will forever have a special place in our hearts.

At the age of 18, Jake decided his schooling was over. As with everything, he went out on his terms, and earned his diploma in May of 2013. To all the staff at Ronan School District No. 30, especially the Special Education Department, thank you! While it will never be enough, please know that it meant the world to Jake’s parents each and every day.

Jake was fortunate enough to have many caregivers over the years that allowed his parents to work - Vanessa Bauer, Terri Jo Bean, Tony Peretto, Johnny and Bridgett Winkler, Kody Moderie, Jose Franco, Cameron and Maricela Kuntz, Kelly Bolton and others along the way – thank you!

To his Occupational Therapist Lee, thank you for being such a bright light in his life. He really loved you and you were a key part in his journey.

In 2014, Elliott Adams, a lifelong family friend, began working with Jake. For nine years, Elliott loved Jake and Jake loved Elliott like brothers. They had so many adventures together, and their bond was undeniable and beautiful. Jake and Elliott were best friends and Elliott always did his best to make sure Jake was happy, cared for, and loved. He loved to go out and hike and be in nature, if only you could get him there. He loved being home and in the safety and security of his bedroom which was his fortress of solitude. He loved his animals and his routine, both of which brought him great comfort in life. But none so much as food. Jake loved to eat and was very fond of eating fast food and would often prefer fast food over home cooked food that Elliott took the time to make him. Regardless, Elliott was always willing to take him anywhere he wanted to go to eat. Jake loved to go to Missoula with Elliott and they would have their own route planned to avoid Target and the routine involved therein. His favorite place to eat in Missoula was China Buffet and he would express great excitement over the prospect of going to eat there. It was often the only reason Elliott and Jake would travel to Missoula. He will be dearly missed by Elliott who saw him as a brother, son, and most of all best friend.

To our family at Terrace Lake Community Church, you will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Jake loved his time with you, especially Mrs. Susan Peterson, aka Mrs. T.

Jake faced many challenges in his short life, including autism, epilepsy, and diabetes. Through it all, he loved doing many things with his family. Bowling, swimming, and fishing were huge favorites early on. The focus was tiresome as Tim Corbett at Lucky Strike Lanes would watch Jake bowl 10 games in an hour while Lisa would prepare a cheeseburger for him for when he was done. Later in life it was printing, drawing, and collecting Thomas the Tank Engine toys and trains, as well as playing the grab machine mostly at Dyno Mart in Ronan. Jake collected every known Thomas the Tank Engine character, blanket, pillow, toy, clothing, picture, soap, and toothpaste that was ever made for the Thomas Brand.

He has another room in his house full of those items. He was known valley-wide for his crane ability and could play for hours if his parents could afford it. Many times, it was brought to their attention that they should put one in their home; but Jake didn’t just love the grab machine, he loved the fact that he was out of his house with his dad and on the hunt for the next stuffed animal.

Jake was preceded in death by his great- grandmother Alice Nenemay Camel, great- grandmother Delores Fallon, great - grandfather Ebo William Janssen, great - grandfather Henry Camel; grandparents Clint and Julia Radke, great - grandparents Rex and Marge Erps, great - aunt Paula McDonald, great - uncle Terry McDonald, great - uncle William VanGunten, great - uncle Hubert Fairbanks, great - aunt Katherine Fairbanks, great - aunt Erin Lewis, cousins Roberta Fairbanks and Germaine Fairbanks, and cousin Ann Watson.

Jake is survived by his parents, Rich and Julie, his sister Jenna (Austin), grandparents Richard Sr. and Judy Janssen and Sonny and Patricia Kelly, uncle Rick (Catalina), auntie Kim (Christopher) and uncle Jesse, Auntie Renee, uncle Bobby (Janet), auntie Terri (David), auntie Florine (Todd), uncle Charles, uncle Tom, auntie Helen (Antonio), uncle Marvin (Norma), uncle Kenny, aunt Pam, uncle Steve, uncle Mike, aunt Connie, uncle Zack and uncle JR, auntie Henrietta and cousins Alice, Bill, Charlie, Leslie (Terace), Makayla, Eli, Aaliyah, Christopher, Sandy (Eric), Anthony, Jayce (Matiya), and auntie Henrietta, cousins Matiya, Andrea, Julian, CT (Nicole), Kelly, Carma (Tony), Angela, Stephanie, Melissa, Kevin, Michelle, Kris, Lee, Jeff, Brian, Lindsay, Ernie, Sashay, Whisper, Chelsea, Shawn, Cass, Louis, Fox, Jaelyn, Brycen (Richard), Kingsley, Kennedy, Carrington, Rowan, Eowyn’ and Callahan, Vance and Miles, and numerous other family members. If anyone was missed, we sincerely apologize.

A visitation will be held at the Terrace Lake Community Church in Ronan, MT beginning at 2:00 PM on Monday, April, 10th, 2023. The funeral service will start at 4:00 PM with burial to follow at the Ronan Cemetery. Fly High Jake. You will forever be missed.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Jacob Janssen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, April 10, 2023

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Mountain time)

Terrace Lake Community Church

MT

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