Vincent Joseph Jansen
December 25, 1932 – October 2, 2023
As the church bells rang announcing the first mass for Christmas, 1932, Vince Jansen came into the world in Breese IL. Born to William and Anna (Timmerman) Jansen, his mother called Vince “the best Christmas gift she ever received.” He was brought up in Breese and then Old North St Louis along with his 4 older siblings. As a young man, he went by Vinnie and played baseball and corkball. He worked odd jobs to support the family including sewing the covers on baseballs his mother picked up from the ball factory down the street.
For over 70 years, he courted, was married to, or mourned the love of his life, Betty (Stoddard) Jansen. They met at St Michaels church in North St Louis and wed there in 1956. Together, they raised four children, Donna (David) Frazier, Susan (James) Varnum, Brian Jansen and their son Kenneth who passed away as a child. He was proud of his children and their accomplishments even when they exasperated him or made him angry. And boy did we! He loved being PaPa to his grandchildren, Ryan Skaggs, Kimberly Skaggs, Zack Frazier and Grace Varnum, and his great-granddaughter Kaelyn. He was a father who showed his love more than expressed it. He worked hard and sacrificed so his family always had a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes on their back and a good education. He taught us how to throw a ball, swing a bat, change a tire, and drive a car. There is nothing more frightening than being told when you’re 16 and sitting at the stop sign at the Halls Ferry Circle to stop sitting on the pot and “punch it.” And punch it we did.
Vince had simple joys. A good steak. A bowl of ice cream. Some cookies. A trip to Denny’s. A football game, especially if Stan Kroenke’s team was losing. A baseball game, if the Cardinals were playing well. The Cardinals owe him a World Series after this lousy season. He liked a good western, Wheel of Fortune, Blue Bloods, and any episode of Law & Order as long as Lennie was in it. He liked to build things and fix things and putter around the house. Even in his late 80s, he was helping cut the grass and doing minor fix-its.
He was a man of virtue and faith. He believed in hard work and honesty which he instilled in all his children. He gave generously; firm in the belief that to whom more is given, more is expected. He supported his church and Cardinal Glennon Hospital plus dozens of smaller charities throughout the years when he heard they needed help. He expected no thanks or reward for helping anyone. It was simply something you did to be a good Christian. In his last few years, he faced many health issues with his typical approach: find out what the doctor thinks is best and just get it over with. Even at his sickest, he still made his family laugh.
Vince’s passing is sad but by no means a tragedy. He was a man who loved and is loved. His faith taught him that our time on Earth is fleeting but an eternal reward awaits us. His will be a happy reunion with Betty, Kenny and a host of friends and family that went on before him that have waited for Vinnie to come back to them.
Rest in peace, Dad. You’ve earned it. You were a great Dad but more importantly, a good man.
Visitation at St Margaret Mary Alacoque church in Oakville at 9:30 am on Monday, October 9, 2023 with a funeral mass to follow at 11:00 am and burial at Calvary Cemetery afterward. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Cardinal Glennon Hospital who took care of Kenny when he was sick as a child, Mercy Hospice who took great care of Dad in his final weeks, or any charity of your choice that helps people in need. Kutis South County Service.