David Jeffrey dies after long battle with pancreatic cancer

David Jeffrey loved the teamwork between NASCAR drivers and their pit crews and strived to be a team player in his own life, his wife Jackie said.

David Jeffrey
David Jeffrey

At 4:53 a.m. Wednesday morning, May 28, the former Ramsey city council member died at the age of 49 after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Whether he was representing Ramsey residents and businesses, students as vice president of Anoka Technical College, or working with his family to try to fight the pancreatic cancer, David was all about teamwork, Jackie said.

“We’re a team. That’s why we’re ‘Team Jeffrey,’” Jackie said, referring to the “Team Jeffrey: We’re in it to win it” T-shirts and bracelets the family made.

David learned about his pancreatic cancer April 13, 2011. Prior to six months of intense chemotherapy, he resigned from the council May 24, 2011 after six-and-a-half years of service. Prior to being elected in November 2004, he had served on the Ramsey Planning Commission for two years.

In early April while attending a NASCAR race in Texas, David and his family befriended former NASCAR driver Randy MacDonald, who is the crew chief for Jeff Earnhardt. David’s daughter Amy learned that Randy was the same age as her, 16, when his father died of pancreatic cancer.

The family sat in Earnhardt’s private box during the race and MacDonald continued to send text messages to David when he got back to Minnesota. When David’s health deteriorated the Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend, Amy said MacDonald shared “inspirational words” with her.

“He told me to just stay strong, that he was looking down on us and to live your life to the fullest because none of your days are guaranteed,” said Amy, who added that she, her mother, and siblings David, 28, and Michelle, 26, plan to remember this message.

Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Sunday, June 1 at the Thurston-DeShaw Funeral Home, 13817 Jay St. NW, in Andover. The funeral is 10 a.m. Monday, June 2 at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 525 Jackson St. NE, in Anoka with a reception to follow.

David’s CaringBridge page is: www.caringbridge.org/visit/davidjeffrey

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]