August 10, 1944 — February 25, 2023
Jefferson Straub, 78, passed away Feb.25, 2023, in the arms of his wife, Kelly Nash Straub.
Jeff was born to Pat and Bob Straub on Aug. 10, 1944, and grew up in Springfield, Oregon, along with his two brothers and three sisters. He loved running and was on the track team throughout high school. After graduating in 1962, Jeff decided to explore Alaska. While there, he fell in love with the vastness of the Alaskan skies.
Upon returning, he attended the University of Oregon for a year and then enlisted in the Air Force. He was sent to the Yale Language Institute, where he became fluent in the Chinese Mandarin language. Jeff was stationed in both Okinawa and Thailand, translating and transcribing Chinese communications.
After finishing his service, Jeff returned home and worked with family until returning to Alaska, where he met and married Alberta Picnalook. They settled in Ashland, buying a home in the Railroad District. Jeff and Alberta divorced in the early 1980s and remained friends. Jeff raised his three boys, Bobby, Mikey and James (J.J.) while working for many years for the Ashland Street Division. Later, he attended SOU and completed a degree in elementary education. Jeff brought his passion for books to his teaching at Little Butte Elementary School in Eagle Point.
In 2000, Jeff encountered Kelly on the bike path. It had been a few years since Jeff had student taught with Kelly. Jeff suggested that they talk about this profession they had both taken on. They married 10 months later, stepping into a partnership that brought incredible joy to them both.
After retiring, Jeff continued to read aloud to Kelly, often about other cultures. While reading “A Fine Balance,” Jeff and Kelly were inspired to travel to southern India, where they met a wonderful rickshaw driver, Krishna. After he returned home, Jeff sent tuition money to help Krishna’s two daughters study and qualify to become doctors. Later, the books “The Power of One” and ”Fiela’s Child” led to a trip to South Africa. Soon afterward, Jeff had the opportunity to help Robert Korongo, the son of a refugee in Ashland, attend college in Kenya.
Jeff had a strong commitment to volunteering. He worked with Live Wise, Live Well, a group that promotes good health and problem solving among the elderly. Jeff gave time to the Ashland Food Bank and to Laundry Love, helping the homeless with their laundry. He gathered often with his buddies to do crosswords or discuss the “problems of the world.” Jeff had many loving friends and so enjoyed those relationships.
Jeff is survived by his wife, Kelly, his stepson, Paul, and sons Bobby, Mikey and James, as well as seven grandchildren. His surviving siblings include Mike and Linna Straub, Jane Straub , Peg Straub, Patty and Jay Thomas and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. Jeff was preceded in death by his son, McKenzie.
A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at the Ashland Congregational Church at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6.
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