Open House to Celebrate Jeff's Life
Sunday, April 28, 2019
12:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
The Silo Banquet Hall
32nd Street (M-40 South)
Allegan, MI 49010
A Memorial Dedication will be held at 12:45 pm.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Allegan General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation
555 Linn Street
Allegan, MI 49010
Life Story / Obituary
In 2015, Jeff and Nan Ainsworth temporarily relocated to Dublin, Ireland for the year. It was the first time Jeff, an Allegan native, father of two, and grandfather, visited and lived outside of the United States, but he quickly found a home among the Irish. Jeff’s new friends, accustomed to his irreverent sense of humor and good natured ribbing, named him “The Canadian.” And he was quickly invited to a seat at the head table to enjoy matches of Rugby and “pints” with lifelong locals of his new favorite pub. Along with his banter and spirit, Jeff brought small town hospitality, the love of Nascar, and American football abroad. Anyone who knew Jeff Ainsworth would know that he had a zest for life and lived life to the fullest.
Jeffrey Ainsworth was born May 10th, 1960, to James and Mary Ainsworth in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His father was in law school at the University of Michigan at the time, and when Jeff was eight years old, the family settled in the small town of Allegan. As a young child, he was both mischievous, as well as adventurous, causing his young mother to claim that she earned her first gray hair the day after Jeff was born. Active and outgoing, he played football, basketball, and ran track during his teen years. As an athlete and class clown, Jeff was known for his humor and was well-liked by his classmates. He graduated from Allegan High School in 1979.
Although they never dated in high school, Nannette “Nan” Peet, also a Class of ‘79 alum, forever changed his life when the two unexpectedly reconnected just a couple of years after graduation. They began dating, fell in love, and became lifelong best friends. Jeff and Nan were joined in marriage on October 29, 1983, at the United Methodist Church in Allegan.
In August of 1987, Jeff and Nan proudly welcomed their daughter, Brooke, into the world. Their family was complete in July of 1990 when their son, Aaron, joined the family. As a father, Jeff was very devoted. He made sure to never miss a game, practice, or any event involving his children. He instilled the values of being respectful, taking responsibility, and often said if you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late. He often worried about the kids and kept them safe by enforcing rules through tough love during their teen years.
Jeff had his first heart attack at the young age of twenty-eight. Being a survivor caused him to have a unique appreciation for life and the simplest of moments. His many years of battling heart disease gave him a passion to live each day to the fullest. Gradually, his health began to decline over the years. However, Jeff never let that get in his way, and he never wanted pity from others. Jeff always maintained his larger than life personality and his zest for life
Born with a strong work ethic, it was not uncommon for Jeff to get up well before the crack of dawn and start his day. He worked in the fuel-oil industry, first as a route truck driver and later as a dispatcher. During his driving years, he took great pride in the relationships he built with customers, and coworkers. He was a self-proclaimed “professional driver”, and knew Southwest Michigan’s roads like the back of his hand.
When the physical demands of the job became too much for Jeff he was forced to give up his lifelong career that he was passionate about. Being a family man and provider, this was one of the most difficult impacts of his disease. However, he quickly found new ways to support his family.
Jeff firmly believed that if you work hard, you play hard. Therefore, family vacations and time spent with friends and neighbors were important to him. The family would often vacation in Florida. During the summer months, Jeff and his family often spent time relaxing along the beautiful shores of South Haven. They spent winters out on the trails, snowmobiling with close friends and family. There were countless trips with great friends to many Nascar events around the country where he enjoyed meeting new people who quickly became lifelong friends of the family. Jeff would often say, “Nan makes the plans, and I am ‘Social Director’ once we get there.” He had a way of making lifelong pals in a matter of moments. When the kids were grown, Jeff and Nan spent their summer weekends in Ludington, MI at their seasonal RV resort. Jeff looked forward to each weekend so that he could spend time with the many people who became lifelong friends.
Jeff always enjoyed times with friends, but his family was always his top priority. As his children grew, so did the family. Brooke married Dominique Ware in 2015, and Jeff was able to fulfill his goal of walking his daughter down the aisle. He met another milestone he set for himself when he welcomed his grandchildren, Drew and Riley, into his life. In 2016, Aaron met and fell in love with Kelsey Dragan. She and her son Johnathon instantly became a part of the family. In 2018, Aaron and Kelsey welcomed Jeff’s youngest grandchild, Isaiah, into the world. His grandchildren were his greatest pride, and they lovingly referred to him as ‘Papa Jeff.’
With his declining health, the family was no longer able to travel. Therefore in 2016, Jeff and Nan sold the family home where they had raised their children, and purchased their dream home across town that had a large pool and enough room for their growing family to stay when they visited. This became the family’s summer resort. Jeff enjoyed inviting the kids and grandchildren over to swim and play in the pool. His heart was most content whenever the entire family was gathered together.
Born in Ann Arbor and connected to its history of excellence through his family, Jeff was a devoted University of Michigan fan. Each and every year, Jeff looked forward to “The Game,” when Michigan meets Ohio State at the end of the season. He had a tradition of gathering close friends and family to cheer on the Wolverines. He was also a Nascar fan and loved watching his favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Kevin Harvick. Jeff was also a big Detroit Sports fan, and he enjoyed traveling across state to various sporting events with the family.
Jeff loved watching westerns, listening to classic rock, and pointing out classic cars. No matter which western came on, he always claimed it to be “the best one.” He never hesitated to bang his head or break out an air guitar at a moment’s notice. Jeff would be the first to point at an old muscle car driving by and tell you everything about it. .
He was also a passionate lover of animals, especially his dogs. It was not uncommon to see Jeff around town with a couple of golden retrievers hanging their heads out the window of his white Chevy Silverado. His dogs were an extension of his family, and there were many generations of dogs that lived a full life with Jeff and the family. During his later years, his dogs Marlie, Mona, and Maizie became some of his greatest companions.
Jeff believed in quality over quantity, and had a small yet very supportive network of friends. He looked forward to his weekly Thursday gatherings with ‘the guys.’ His friends offered him laughter and support through both the good and tough times.
In recent years, he turned to Facebook Marketplace where he quickly found a new knack for buying, repairing, and reselling lawn mowers and snow blowers. His new business venture, “Mowers and Blowers,’ gave him great pride. He would regularly boast about how many snowblowers he had sold, or his profit margins.
He spoke his mind and reserved his favorite feedback/teasing for his favorite people. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by his many friends and loved ones. Jeff was the life of any party. His bigger than life personality and sense of humor created many endearing memories whenever he was around. At times, he had no filter and one never knew what he might say next!
He was the master of sarcasm and knew just the right amount to add to any conversation. His humor was often the way he related to others, as well as how he coped with his heart disease. Jeff always said the best way to pass time in the hospital was to reuse all of his old jokes and material on new nurses and staff.
A loyal friend, brother, father, and husband, Jeff leaves behind a rich legacy of embracing each day as a gift. Jeff leaves behind a wonderful collection of happy memories for his loved ones to cherish for generations to come.
Jeff Ainsworth, age 58, of Allegan, died on Sunday, April 21, 2019, after thirty years of courageously battling heart disease. Jeff has been cremated and an open house to celebrate his life will be held on Sunday, April 28, 2019, from 12 noon until 4 pm at The Silo Banquet Hall 1071 M-40 South in Allegan, Michigan. Burial of his cremated remains will be in the Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan. Members of his family include his loving wife, Nan, two children; Brooke (Dominique) Ware, Aaron ( Kelsey) Dragan, four grandchildren; Drew, Riley, Jonathon, and Isaiah, three siblings; Deb (Dean) Salik Wintjen, Sue (Brian) Robinson, and Ted (Sarah) Ainsworth, his mother, Mary (Bob) Fulton, mother-in-law, Blanche Wilkinson, two step-siblings; Jackie (Matt) Mckeon and Jim Fulton, three brothers and sister-in-law; Mark (Jayne) Peet, Jane (Bill) Oestrich, and Pam Peet (Mike Hakenjos), several special nieces and nephews, and his two Golden Retrievers; Mona and Maizie. He was preceded in death by his father, James Ainsworth, father-in-law, George Peet, and brother-in-law, Dave Salik. Please visit Jeff’s personal memory page at betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo. Memorial donations may be made to Allegan General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant program.