His Life

LJ's Eulogy > Goodbye for now dear friend. ~Uncle Jim

I’m honored to speak here today among Lance’s friends & our family.

And what a beautiful day it is. I believe Lance would have really liked this setting. Family, friends, community. All surrounded by the beauty of nature. His Uncle up here speaking about him trying to swat off mosquitoes with sweaty palms. We are all feeling some level of pain & sorrow and I know for a fact that this is something that Lance would want to change if he could. So please…..let’s all take a breath, sit back and try to relax.    So who was Lance Jorgensen? Husband, Father, Son, Nephew, friend. Native son of Alaska. Sharp, confident, funny, hard working, self reliant, funny. He was all of these things. Yet the word that keeps coming into my mind is Solid. Whether reading nightly bedtime stories with Melaina, helping a friend roll trusses or saving up money to build his own house by the age of 26. Lance was Solid. Lance had a unique outlook on life and always followed his own path with confidence. A recent example of this was his willingness & courage to leave a secure, well-paying job with Watterson Construction to fulfill his own dream & ambition of running his own company. Thus the creation of Jorgensen Construction in early 2010.   Yes, Lance danced to the beat of his own drum from the beginning.             Many children suck their thumb when they’re small, Lance sucked his middle finger. An early salute to conformity no doubt! Lance also knew all the answers from the moment he could form a sentence... (See "Lance & the Kidnapper" in the Stories tab)   Lance began playing hockey when he was very young and the sport suited his disposition just fine. He was a standout player and performer on the ice for 4 years at North Pole his school. As much as he enjoyed the game I think even more he loved being on the ice with his friends and working together with them to inflict damage on opponents.

Lance met the love of his life, Heather, in early 2005. He was already very interested in her when they went hiking with friends off Chena Hot Springs road. Near the end of the hike Lance wrote Heather a simple note on a pizza box. It read: “Do you like me? Y or N”. Heather’s response? Maybe! Where Lance saw black & white. Heather saw shades of gray and in this way they complimented one another. Soon thereafter that maybe became a yes and Heather eventually moved into the house that they finished building together. They were married in the Spring of 2009.

In December 2009, they were blessed with the arrival of their beautiful daughter Melaina. By all accounts Lance was a loving, caring, engaged father. She was included in virtually all adventures. During these experiences Lance and Melaina would explore and he would share his inquisitive nature with her. Lance would also impart his unique perspective by sometimes modifying well-treaded children’s songs into something perhaps more interesting like “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, papa’s going to let you wash his car” He loved her dearly and fatherhood suited him very well. Again. Solid.   Lance loved being in the outdoors and appreciated the beauty and abundance of nature. He enjoyed fishing, kayaking and camping with friends and family. Nature was both his playground and his place for spiritual replenishment. He engaged it fully and without reservation. This native son of Alaska left us doing what he loved. Recreating in the outdoors with his Dad. We will all undertake our journeys out of this world but Lance’s departure was far too soon. This is obvious and it hurts. Yet it is incumbent upon all of us to keep his memory & spirit alive in our hearts and in our minds. We can do this not only with our thoughts but with our actions. Speak of him. Share stories. Not only today, but tomorrow, next week and the month after that. Honor his memory by living a full, positive, thoughtful life. I am proud to be Lance’s Uncle and counted as a friend. I will do my best to heed my own advice. I would like to close by sharing some thoughts from a book I recently read called The Raven’s Gift. It is written by Jon Turk who’s an outdoor adventurer and explorer. He lost his wife in an avalanche while back country skiing together. He had this to say about the experience of loss: I’m not really sure what it means to grieve. Maybe it’s feeling the pain until you feel nothing else, no past, no future, just the agony of the moment, like you feel joy when making love, like you feel excitement when you are skiing. Maybe grieving is about letting go so completely that you fall until you cannot fall any further. And then you take a big breath, shake yourself off, evaluate your injuries, and hobble back upward, into the world of trees, flowers, good beer, and loving friends.  

Brief History

Lance Tyrel Jorgensen, 27, of North Pole, passed away Thursday, June 16 while dip-net fishing in Chitina, Alaska.

Lance was born July 12, 1983, in Fairbanks to Randy and Janice Jorgensen. He grew up in North Pole and graduated from North Pole High school in 2001 where he played hockey for 4 years.

Shortly after graduation Lance began working towards a career in construction. He began working for Watterson Construction as a laborer. Lance had a strong work ethic and took great pride in a job well done. Not long thereafter his work ethic and developing skillsets were rewarded with a promotion to the position of carpenter and then carpenter foreman.

In 2005 Lance met Heather Bodewitz and they were married in May of 2009. Lance & Heather were kindred spirits and embraced life together with great enthusiasm. They built themselves a house in North Pole and settled in to start a family.

In December of 2009 they were blessed with the arrival of a beautiful daughter, Melaina Marie.  Melaina brought an abundance of joy and happiness to Lance & Heather and they epitomized the axiom of proud parents.

It was at this point that Lance decided to follow his life-long dream and founded Jorgensen Construction. The new company’s vision was to bring together honest dealings with earnest hard work towards the goal of delivering quality results. While business was modest during theinitial year, Lance and his team were succeeding in accomplishing their vision and beginning to establish themselves in the community and beyond.

More than anything Lance had a zest for life. He loved the outdoors and had a keen appreciation for the beauty and abundance of nature. Lance loved his family and was a genuine friend to those he cared about. He was quick with a wry joke and just as quick to help a friend in need. He had his own unique outlook on life and lived in accordance with his own lofty beliefs and values.

Lance is survived by his wife, Heather and daughter, Melaina; parents, Randy and Janice, brother, Shane Jorgensen; Uncle, Scott Jorgensen of Fairbanks; Uncle, Theron Jorgensen of Athena, OR; Uncle Steve Jorgensen of Hooper, UT; Uncle Jim Woolverton of Scarborough, ME; Aunt Joy Frear of Park City, UT; Grandfather Theron Jorgensen of Roy, UT.

A memorial service will be held at 6pm Friday, June 24th at Chena Lakes Park. All are welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation for his daughter, Melaina Jorgensen at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union or Wells Fargo. This will ensure her ability to pursue her dreams and goals as Lance would have wished.  Feel free to contact Heather for more information.