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Jason W. Tracy – Albany Democrat-Herald

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Jason W. Tracy
March 9, 1971 – September 14, 2022
The world lost “one of the good ones” recently when the light of our family, Jason Tracy, passed away suddenly at the age of 51. It’s difficult to sum up a soul that’s larger than life into mere words on a paper. Jason left a mark on every single person he met, while living a life he was so proud of. And he passed while doing something he loved, elk hunting, surrounded by people he adored.
Jason was born in Ukiah, CA to his parents Lois and Don Tracy. On brand, Jason couldn’t wait to get the party started, and Lois has told how she nearly gave birth to him in the hospital lobby.
Jason’s memories growing up on the family’s ranch in Ukiah alongside his siblings, Charly and Vivi, were some of his most cherished. He longed to someday live somewhere that would feel like the next best thing to the ranch, and it’s no wonder. He spent his early days living the old-fashioned way- playing outside till sunset, riding his minibike, shooting bb guns, fishing, swimming, riding in the family’s dune buggy and spending time at their hunting camp. A boy’s dream.
Later, after his parents divorced and the family moved to Eureka, Jason and his siblings would still spend summers in Ukiah, with his beloved cousins, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It was during those precious summers that Jason would go on epic hunting trips with all the boys. It started a lifelong love affair with deer and elk hunting that he shared with his brother, cousins, and many of his friends until his very last breath.
The family moved to Eureka in 1978 when his mother married his stepfather Harry, and into the infamous Greenbriar Lane house- a place that would become a favorite gathering spot for his friends and family for years to come. It was where Jason would spend some of the most memorable years of his life, and where he made many of his lifelong friendships.
Jason attended Cutten Elementary and was a graduate of Eureka High School’s Class of 1989. Boy did Jason have fun in high school. His mom would probably say too much, but there was no such thing if you asked him. He played on the JV and Varsity football teams all four years of high school. He is described by his classmates as one of the kindest people they knew in high school, and one of the greatest guys they’ve ever met. Jason loved people and they loved him. Many of his friends and classmates will remember the get-togethers he would have at Greenbriar Lane, among so many other lasting memories of Jason during his high school years. He was the guy that would take the initiative to organize the party, as much as be the life of it.
Jason was athletic and loved to snow and water ski. There were too many trips to count to Mt Bachelor, Tahoe, and Ashland. On those trips are where most of his best friends learned to ski. Although Jason’s level of skiing was best described as “kamikaze-esque,” he loved those skiing adventures with his friends and family. Like his mom Lois, he also loved to waterski and saved money to buy his own small ski boat when he was 19. Being on the water was one of his favorite things, and something he did every chance he got throughout the duration of his life. He made sure to pass on his love of skiing to his daughters as well.
After graduation, Jason went to Junior College in Sacramento his first year. He transferred to University of Nevada Reno, then took a semester off to be a ski bum in Tahoe, and eventually transferred to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Pacific’s School of Engineering.
With his high school football days behind him, Jason was missing contact sports so while at UOP he decided to join their hockey team. He had no ice-skating experience whatsoever, but that didn’t stop him. He figured if he threw himself out there with enough momentum, aimed for opposing team members, stayed upright and kept his eye on the puck…how hard could it be? He quickly became a solid player and had a great time doing it.
In a better thought-out plan while at UOP, he decided to propose to the love of his life, Lisa Petersteiner. In his own words, it was the best decision he ever made. His family and friends could not agree more.
Jason and Lisa settled in Albany, OR after getting married in 1996. There, he decided to continue his Engineering education and attended Oregon State University, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering with a minor in Robotics. Jason was incredibly smart, had a genius IQ, but never would have told anyone that because he was also inexplicably humble.
Jason was also fearless. This fearlessness could often find him in stitches, ditches or trouble, but sometimes it made him famous.
During his time in Sacramento, on an otherwise ordinary day, Jason helped a US Marshall apprehend a bank robber that had been involved in a lengthy foot chase throughout the city. He happened to see the man being chased by law enforcement through his apartment complex and instantly reacted. Along with his roommate Eric, Jason gave chase and caught up to the 6’4″ 220 lb man, tackled him and held him down until the Marshall could catch up to detain him.
The story garnered attention and was covered from his hometown newspaper to the Sacramento Bee. Later, Jason and Eric learned they were being honored at a ceremony in Washington DC for their bravery. They had no idea how large the honor would be. At a formal Department of Justice ceremony attended by many dignitaries, the two were awarded The United States Citizen of the Year awards for the year of 1990 by the US Marshall’s Service. Jason has a framed honorary Marshall’s badge, with the US Citizen of the Year award, along with a photo of the then US Attorney General shaking his hand.
Most people probably have never heard that story before because Jason was a man of humility as much as integrity. For all his goofy, crazy and silly sides, underneath it all was a heroic man who never thought twice about doing the right thing. He took that incident in stride, laughing that his resume was now foolproof. Not many people can list United States Citizen of the Year under their accomplishments; a thought he found pretty entertaining.
Jason and his beloved wife Lisa built a beautiful, full life together in Oregon, where they just celebrated 26 years of marriage, and 31 years as a couple. Lisa was his dream girl, and he fell for her at first sight. The friendship and relationship they shared was special and rare, and meant more than the world to Jason. They loved to travel with their friends, and have enjoyed trips around the world to places like Italy, Tahiti, Ireland, Key West, and Turks and Caicos to name a few. Jason was a certified scuba diver and had cherished memories of dives in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caymen Islands with friends and family. Jason and Lisa also loved camping at the lake, any lake, and he was beaming with pride over the Winnebago motorhome they had just purchased this past summer. It was a symbol of new adventures to come, as they approached their “empty nest” years.
Jason enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an Engineer. He was tremendously respected for his innovation and commitment to the wood products industry, as a business owner and then part of the engineering teams at Ventek and USNR- where he worked as an Engineering Manager and Designer. Among his colleagues, Jason was known for his honesty, integrity, creativeness and knowledge. His kindness and ability to connect with people at every level was universally admired among those who worked alongside him.
He put his engineering brain to good use, and was also an Inventor. In 2011 he invented a wood veneer diverter and processing system, also known as US patent #8813947.
For all he achieved in his life, Jason’s biggest accomplishment was being Father to his and Lisa’s three beautiful daughters, Erin, Katie and Ella. He threw himself into fatherhood like everything else he did- with humor, love, and adventure. When they were little, he made everyone in the room nervous when he roughhoused with them; their tiny bodies flung into the air and across the room, giggling with glee as they landed here and there- and then quickly running back for more. He wanted his girls to be fearless. He wanted them to love the outdoors, never say no to adventure, dream big, go for it, and love their loved ones fiercely. He taught them to shoot guns, ski, drive a boat, and never miss an opportunity to laugh and have fun. He also taught them the importance of having a strong work ethic and working hard so they can play harder in life.
He was so proud of his girls. He loved watching their sports and activities, and delighted watching them develop into the confident young women they are today. He loved sharing his passions and hobbies with them, and vice versa. He was their biggest fan, they were his, and they remain his strong and beautiful legacy- a badge they wear with honor.
Jason was the very best friend. He loved his friends with all he had and made sure they all knew it. His friends weren’t friends, they were brothers, sisters. And they all know exactly who they are because he let them know it every chance he got. The camping trips to the lake (if you know you know), the hunting trips, the ski trips, the shenanigans, laughs and memories he made with all of them was something he cherished deeply.
He was also a family man in every sense of the word. He loved his family with all his heart, and never skipped a chance to show up to let them know it. He cherished his time catching up with his cousins, aunts and uncles on their yearly family reunions. He adored being a part of his big, close-knit family, and made it a priority to never miss an occasion to spend time with them.
To siblings Charly and Vivi, he was their first best friend, their sounding board, peacemaker, protector, and Class Clown. He was their true north.
Jason lived his life with fearless honesty and integrity, and built a life with Lisa that he was so very proud of. He was the very best uncle, brother, loving son, friend, fun cousin, husband and dad that he could be. He put his all into it. He knew his role and impact he had in people’s lives, and he never took the honor or responsibility of that for granted. As his wife put it best, he simply made us all better.
He would be the last person to want the party to end, so he would tell his loved ones to keep it going. His advice was always to love your people, and don’t take life too seriously. Be honest, be courageous, and laugh every chance you get.
Such precious words of wisdom from a once in a lifetime man.
Jason is survived by his wife, Lisa; his three daughters: Erin, Katie and Ella; his brother, Charly Tracy (Jean), and their daughters Alicia and Megan; his sister, Vivian Tracy and her children Maddie and Trace Dunlap; his stepfather, Harry Turner; his Brothers from Another Mother (you know who you are); bestie, Nikki Stewart Arnold; and all of his beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. He is preceded in death by his father Don Tracy, and his mother Lois Turner.
Jason will be laid to rest in a private ceremony in Albany, Oregon. A public Celebration of Life in Eureka will be announced soon.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests considering making a donation to support the Oregon State University School of Engineering. An online donation form can be found at https://give.fororegonstate.org/Ld3U04snu9
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