On December 16, 2021, the city of Solon lost a loving and devoted family man in Jeff Kurzawa. Jeffrey “Jeff” Kurzawa, also known as “Kurtz” to many of his high-school friends, passed away in his home after 46-nearly 47-years of life. At the time of his death, Jeff was surrounded by love as his wife Carly, two kids Kylie (18) and Carson (15), and mother-in-law Karen Jeric were all by his side. Jeff was born on January 2, 1975, to loving parents Patricia and Steve Kurzawa. He leaves them both behind, along with sisters Leigh-Ann Kurzawa and Stephanie Chimenti. He will be greatly missed by his large extended family and the family that he made with his wife Carly Kurzawa, which includes his children, Kylie and Carson Kurzawa, and their two dogs, Carma and Chubb.
Anyone who knew Jeff and Carly together would say that they are soulmates. Jeff and Carly started dating shortly after Jeff graduated from high school, and while Carly was still in high school. Throughout the beginning of their relationship, they were often separated, as Jeff was enlisted in the US Army. He served from 1993-2000 and made his way up to the rank of Sergeant. While Jeff was away the couple always still made a great effort to stay connected. Once the letters in the mail became insufficient for these two, Carly took the Greyhound bus from Chicago all the way to Colorado Springs to see Jeff. Keep in mind, she was a junior in high school. Once she graduated, however, Carly moved out to Colorado to be with Jeff. At this point, they had been dating for about two years before they eloped on December 19, 1996, when Jeff was 21 and Carly was 18. Jeff passed just three days before their 25th anniversary. The US Army took Jeff and Carly to many places. They started off their marriage in Colorado Springs and lived there until Jeff got deployed to South Korea. Once he came back into the United States, the two had to move to Fort Hood, in Texas. During these years, Jeff and Carly became parents to dogs Pyro and Harker. After almost seven years in the service, Jeff was honorably discharged so that he could settle down with Carly, back home in Ohio. Jeff got a job as a rural carrier for the United States Postal Service in Novelty. He worked at this job for over 20 years and was still out delivering mail just a few months ago until he could not physically do it any longer. Jeff worked on the side for Custodial Service and Supply Company under the owner and best friend to Jeff, Charles “Chuck” Rosacco. He worked at this job for over 20 years as well, which has recently been taken over by his daughter Kylie and brother-in-law Cade.
Jeff was a busy man, but always made time for his family. He got his kids involved in sports and other activities from a very young age and was always present at every game and event. As kids, both Kylie and Carson played baseball and softball through the Solon Rec Center, and Jeff was always at every game, often seen as a base coach during games. Jeff’s biggest joy as a coach came from when he coached his son Carson and his team, the Minnesota Vikings, to a championship in flag football. Jeff would often spend hours at night drawing up plays, and he coached every one of those kids like they were his own. Football held a special place in his heart, and on Sundays, you could always find Jeff on his chaise watching the Browns play with his daughter Kylie. As the kids got a bit older, they started to play travel sports, and Jeff was an assistant coach for Carson’s travel baseball and basketball teams. Some of Jeff’s greatest joys came from watching his kids succeed. Recently, Jeff loved to watch Carson play basketball for the high school JV team and Jeff shed some tears of joy as he heard that Kylie got accepted into the Ohio State University. He was always known to be an emotional guy.
Determined, family-oriented, emotional, hilarious, and hard-working are all words that embody who Jeff was. Jeff would often refer back to the famous quote by President Lincoln, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Jeff used this quote as his life motto and put everything he had into his jobs, his family, coaching, and his fight with cancer. Throughout everything that was thrown at Jeff, he was always still cracking jokes and smiling. His smile lit up a room, and his positive attitude was contagious. Jeff was determined to keep his dignity and live his life as he always had, up until his body did not cooperate with his mind. Jeff was fighting a battle that he could not win against stage four metastatic melanoma and leptomeningeal disease (LMD), but he still refused to accept defeat. He was seen just over a month ago mowing his lawn, and was at his son’s basketball game just a week before he passed. It was said that he had “Beast Mode” mentality, and this phrase was used as his slogan for family and friends that were cheering him on. Family was everything to Jeff, and he was and always will be the best role model as a father, a husband, a brother, a worker, a coach, and just an overall great human being. He touched the lives of anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and will be greatly missed by many.
Friends and family may gather at Steinbauer Funeral Home at 33375 Bainbridge Road in Solon from 12-3 pm on Sunday, January 2, 2022, to pay their respects to Jeff and his family and say their final goodbyes. A celebration of life will be held later that day from 4-7 pm at the Solon Community Center at 35000 Portz Parkway in Solon. Here, family and friends may gather to share stories about Jeff, honor his life and celebrate his birthday. Times are open for both events for people to come and go as they please. If you are feeling sick, please stay home.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the gofundme set up to help pay for the college expenses of Jeff’s children. To find this, simply go to the gofundme website and search “College Funds for Kylie and Carson Kurzawa.” It was set up by the kids’ uncle Travis Jeric and there is a photo of Jeff and the kids. Jeff would have wanted their futures to be supported more than anything. If you would like to send flowers in addition, please visit the Steinbauer Funeral Home Website. As Jeff always said, the only good thing about his cancer was the number of good people it brought into our lives, so the family thanks you for all your continued love and support.