Obituary for Jeffrey Kiefer
December 29, 1957 – July 29, 2021
Jeffrey William Kiefer passed away peacefully on July 29, 2021 of lung complications following a successful battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was 63-years-old.
Jeff and his twin brother Tom were born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Pasadena, California on December 29, 1957 becoming the 4th and 5th children of Joseph Henry Kiefer and Marcella Ida Oberbauer. Marcella raised Jeff and his siblings at their home in Temple City, California.
Jeff attended St. Luke’s Catholic School in Temple City from 1st – 8th grade. He graduated from San Gabriel High School in 1976 shortly after meeting the love of his life, Kathleen Ann Kovach, at the Temple Theater where they both worked. The couple attended Pasadena City College and achieved their AA degrees in 1978. The following fall, Jeff was accepted into the School of Forestry at Humboldt State University from which he graduated with a BS in Forestry in 1981.
Jeff and Kathy were married on October 10, 1981 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. Jeff worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a seasonal firefighter until accepting a job as a professional forester working out of Lake Arrowhead, California. In 1990, Jeff began a master’s degree program in biology at CSU Northridge. Shortly after that, he earned his California Teaching Credential and began his second career as an educator. Over the next 30 years, Jeff taught biology as well as several other science courses at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California, Jesuit High School in Sacramento, California, Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, California, and at Sierra College in both Rocklin and Grass Valley, California. At each campus he became a teacher beloved for his passion and respect for science, his astounding intellect, his warm personality, and his sense of humor.
After their marriage in 1981, Jeff and Kathy traveled throughout the United States and Europe. In 1989, the couple welcomed their daughter Amanda into the world followed by their son Ethan in 1990. Because both parents were teachers, the family spent every vacation traveling and exploring the world together. As a couple, Jeff and Kathy returned to the east coast, Hawaii, and Europe and visited Costa Rica and Kenya as well. Jeff was a man completely devoted to his wife and children, and the love they shared became a very special light in the world.
Jeff had many hobbies throughout his life: researching, reading, traveling, backpacking, hiking, winemaking, gourmet cooking, and entertaining. But the thing he enjoyed most of all was mountaineering in the most remote parts of the Sierra Nevada. He and his mountaineering buddy spent the final decade of Jeff’s amazing life conquering the summits of all fourteen 14,000 ft. peaks in California (and Mt. Whitney for the second time with Kathy). Aside from Jeff’s marriage and fatherhood, nothing brought him more joy and pride than his time in the wild.
Jeff is survived by his wife Kathleen, their children Amanda and Ethan, his siblings Karen, Gary, Pam, and Tom as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Jeff’s wonderful life will be held in the fall, the family’s favorite time of year. Donations may be made in Jeff’s memory to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Fund.
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