Jeffrey John Gappa, 57, of Rushford, and formerly from Winona, died Wednesday, January 2, 2013, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse after losing his battle with lung cancer.
Jeff was born July 14, 1955, in Winona, to Irvin and Willma (Carson) Gappa. He attended Cathedral Elementary and graduated from Cotter High School. Jeff worked in the Twin Cities for 25 years doing asbestos abatement until 2009, when he was injured on the job and unable to work anymore. In Jeff’s younger years, he played in the Swingshift and Road Hog bands in Winona and surrounding areas. He played guitar and had a special knack at making his guitar and voice an extraordinary gift. From music to memorabilia, he loved everything about the Beatles, his favorite being George Harrison. Jeff also played the piano, taught to him by his sister, Paula Gappa. After his retirement, Jeff loved working in the yard; riding his lawn mower on the hillside where no one ever dared before on a mower. He also enjoyed riding his Harley with his buddies from Rushford. Jeff had many friends in Winona, but after moving to Rushford, he called it home. His favorite past time was to go to the Nordic Lanes Bowling Alley, when during “happy hour,” he met and talked with his many new friends. Jeff lived in Rushford for 16 years.
One of Jeff’s greatest moments was spending time with his animals. Jeff loved his pets, Poopsie, Freddie, Maggey, and Big Head and also his rat, Sid Vicious, who passed away one month before him. Jeff also loved his step-granddaughters, Lindsey and Sadey Stolpa, whom he helped raise from eight months old after their father passed away when they were 2 1/2. Jeff was a big part of being a male role model in their life.
Jeff is survived by his ex-wife and best friend, Patti Gappa; step-grandchildren, Lindsey and Sadey Stolpa; sisters, Judy Gappa of Calif., and ZoeAnn (Rick) Podjaski of Winona; nieces and nephews; Lisa Azzam of Maadi, Egypt, Jay (Cherie) Gonzales of Calif., Rick (Mary) Gonzales of Calif., Julie (Tomas) Burokas of Calif., Adrienne Uebel of Winona, Rachel Henke of Winona, Miki (Brian) Loosbrock of Minn., Matt (Kathleen) Ernster of Minn.; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and step-niece, Lynn (Dave) Lord, of Wis. He is preceded in death by his parents, Irvin and Willma (Carson) Gappa; and sisters, Sara Sue (Gappa) Kluzick and Paula (Gappa) Ernster.
Per Jeff’s wishes, a private burial will take place in the spring.
Please share a memory of Jeff with his family and sign the online guestbook at www.hofffuneral.com.