Jared Levi Menken, age 42, of Jefferson City, MO, passed away Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, surrounded by his family.
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Jared was born on October 12, 1977 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Gordie and Shirley (Zellmer) Menken. Growing up in Cedar Rapids, Jared attended special education classes in school, which he later finished in Jefferson City. Jared completed his education program and graduated in 1999. He recently enjoyed attending the day program at Day Solutions where he could make friends, continue to learn life skills, spend time and volunteer in our community.
Jared was a hard worker and enjoyed every minute of being employed in the restaurant industry for the past 20 years. He was employed with Pizzeria Napolitana, Red Lobster, and most recently, Longhorn Steakhouse. Each morning he would get ready for work and then sit on the couch and just smile. If asked why he was smiling he would always tell you, “Can’t wait to go to work”.
Jared was a member at Our Saviors Lutheran Church and attended weekly services with his parents. He had many great friends through church and enjoyed the contemporary music at worship.
Jared had an amazing memory and never forgot a moment, a person or a place. He could remember everything from details from a family vacation when he was a young child to appointments coming up 6 months from now. One of his unique gifts was his ability to read and understand maps. He would spend many hours studying atlases and more recently exploring Google maps. You could never get lost with Jared in the car. He knew where all of the roads would take you in town and beyond. He could direct you to any town in Iowa, tell you alternative highways you could take or the counties you would drive through to get there. Whenever Jared was on the computer you could walk through the room and ask where he was on Google maps. His answers were amazing. He could be in front of a motel the family stayed at on vacation, out in California or traveling up to visit family and friends in Iowa. He always traveled at street level as if he was driving himself wherever he wanted to go and always knew which highways would get him there.
Jared loved spending time with family – camping and road trips to family reunions were his favorites. He was happy to watch Garmin lead the way to anywhere the family went, despite the fact he knew the directions just as well as the GPS. When traveling Jared's favorite classic country station, Willie’s Roadhouse, would always be on. This was not a choice, it was just understood. Jared was also accompanied by his friend Alf, from the 80's television show. Jared loved the sit-com with the fuzzy brown alien when he was a child. Jared saw a stuffed Alf while shopping one day and asked for one. This was the only thing Jared ever asked for throughout his lifetime, except for a new Atlas each year to replace the one he wore out. Alf was Jared's friend from this day on. Jared talked to Alf each night before bed, gave him a kiss and told him goodnight. It only seemed appropriate to send Alf and an atlas with Jared on his way to heaven.
Growing up in Iowa, Jared was a lifelong supporter of the University of Iowa. He followed the Hawkeyes across many sport events. It didn't matter if it was football, basketball, or any other sport as long as Iowa was playing. He could always be counted on for High Fives and a "Go Hawks!" cheer throughout the game.
His family and friends will sorely miss his loving spirit and kind heart. Jared always thought of others first. One of his greatest talents was making anyone around him feel loved and important. He truly enjoyed visiting and learning about people. That love was usually returned to Jared because he was blessed with many friends.
Survivors include: his parents, Gordie and Shirley Menken of Jefferson City, Mo.; his siblings, Jodi Heiserman (Erick) of Cedar Rapids, IA. and Jason Menken (Heather Brown) of Jefferson City; his nieces and nephew, Mackenzie Heiserman, Michael Heiserman, Molly Heiserman and Madison Menken; a great-aunt and many aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.
Jared was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, John and Lela Menken, and maternal grandparents, Ernest and Alvena Zellmer.
Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Jefferson City, Mo.
A memorial service will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church with the Reverend Scott Musselman officiating.
As a tribute to Jared, the family invites all who attend to "come as you are" and to wear your black and gold. Jared didn't care for dressing up at all and he would want everyone to join him in one last Hawkeye cheer before he goes. Go Hawks! and Go Jared! We love you and will miss you, but Heaven has gained the greatest man any of us will ever know.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Day Solutions Foundation, 2725 Merchants Drive, Jefferson City, MO. 65109.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Freeman Mortuary.