Jeffrey Ristau, 45

Jeffrey “Jeff” Alan Ristau, 45, of Loretto, MN, passed away unexpectedly Saturday, April 8, 2023.

He was born July 22, 1977, to Dean and Judy (Bieberdorf) Ristau in Sleepy Eye, MN.

Jeff grew up in Sleepy Eye and graduated from Sleepy Eye High School in 1995. 

He enjoyed following in his brothers’ footsteps in wrestling and golf, and broke tradition by playing basketball.

He went on to excel academically at South Dakota State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, followed by his doctor of pharmacy degree. With this degree, he provided pharmaceutical guidance to the community near his home.

Jeff was a loving father, son, brother, uncle, and friend. His passion was spending time with his two girls, Emma and Lily. He was a very active father who greatly enjoyed doing fun, hands-on science experiments, card tricks, crafts, imaginative play, or going on outings. He lived for them, adored them, and his greatest joy was being a dad to them.

Jeff and his girls enjoyed camping with his extended family, which included setting up camp, hiking, making s’mores, and storytelling around the campfire.

His trips to the Ristau family farm created entertainment for all with his fireworks on the Fourth of July. The open space of the farm allowed Jeff and his girls to fly kites.

Along with his dad, Dean, brothers, Ken and Mark, and brother-in-law, Kent, great memories were made on Canadian fishing trips and while hunting waterfowl.

Outside work and family, he spent time learning new skills using his hands. One skill was taking old coins and transforming them into rings. It was fun to hear him speak to others and figure out what type of coin each would like, finding the right size, and presenting that personally made ring with pride. 

Sharing that woodworking trait with his dad, Jeff created a woodworking shop in his garage, allowing him to make chairs, serving trays, tabletop display boxes, and turn bowls with the lathe. He was always willing to try any new challenge to create.

Most recently, he found a new passion for his career working as a substitute teacher with elementary students and had begun taking online courses to become a teacher. He often spoke of how cool it was to be in the same school with his daughters as a substitute teacher. 

Jeff’s family will miss his witty sense of humor, serving as our family’s resource to help solve computer-related challenges, regular phone calls to check in, and his ever-famous deviled eggs.

Jeff was preceded in death by his grandparents, Kenneth and Maxine Ristau, and Hugo and Marie Bieberdorf.

He is survived by his children, Emma and Lily Ristau; parents, ShurrDean and Judy Ristau; siblings, Jodi Kittleson (Kent), Ken Ristau (Brenda), and Mark Ristau (Diane); and nieces and nephews, Taylor, Olivia, Grace, Savannah, (godson) Justin, Payton, and Lauren.

Any donations made in Jeff’s memory will be used to set up a scholarship in his name at the Sleepy Eye High School and accounts to benefit Emma and Lily Ristau.

Details of Jeff’s celebration of his life will be provided by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano, MN, http://itenfuneralservices.com/delano-facility/.

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