MIDDLETON—Jared Nathan Gustafson, age 47, passed away on Friday, April 5, 2019, in Madison, after a courageous battle with metastatic colorectal cancer. Born in Houston, Texas, Jared was the fifth of eight children to Carl and Louise Gustafson. He grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., Beaverton, Ore., and Clayton, Calif., and graduated from Clayton Valley High School. Jared was an Eagle Scout, earned a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jared loved his family and his faith. Jared’s mission service in the Czech Republic for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, brought him lifelong friends and a faith that sustained him as he confronted cancer. He and his wife, Susannah, met as students at Princeton, and married a year before they graduated from Harvard Business School together. Jared was happiest spending time with his family, reading and learning, telling jokes, on road trips to national parks, and at family movie nights that later became driveway movies with neighbors and friends. He loved family reunions and spending time with his parents, siblings and extended family.
Jared’s strong baritone voice got him into musical theater in high school and graduate school, and in recent years was most often heard at church, and singing his favorite Christmas songs. Jared and Susannah showed tremendous love and respect for each other and a shared devotion to raising their three children to be kind friends and contributors to their community. An excellent writer, Jared shared his cancer journey through five years of posts on CaringBridge which combined an unblinking honesty with an ability to find humor in dark moments. His annual Christmas letter chronicled the family adventures with humor and love.
Creative, witty, optimistic and smart, Jared worked as a marketing executive at General Mills, Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft, and American Girl, and then as a marketing consultant. His career allowed him to combine work and play, attending the Atlanta Olympics and Magic the Gathering tournaments around the world. He brought the best parts of his work home through an uncanny winning streak at strategy board games, out playing him was a rare occurrence. Jared has handed down his love of games, movies, and lifelong enthusiasm for all things Star Wars to his children and friends.
Jared was preceded in death by his brother, Ammon. He is survived by his wife, Susannah; children, Samuel, Gretchen, and Joshua; parents, Carl and Louise Gustafson; siblings, Alex Gustafson (Rachel), Nephi Gustafson (Kristen), Rebekah Aidukaitis (Erik), Deborah Theobald (Daniel), Liahona Crompton (Peter) and Rachel Nelson (Erik); and sister in law, Shelli Gustafson. He is further survived by his parents-in-law, Ben and Judith Gunter; and sister-in-law, Sarah Jane Gunter (Maarten van Dantzich). Jared was the loving uncle of 27 nieces and nephews; and treasured friend to classmates from Clayton Valley HS; Princeton and Harvard; Mission companions from his time in the Czech Republic; and neighbors from Edina, Minn., Snoqualmie and Bellevue, Wash., and Middleton.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 26, 2019, at 2 p.m. at THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, 701 Bear Claw Way, Madison. A reception will immediately follow at the church.
Jared’s family would like to thank his care team at UW Carbone Cancer Center and the compassionate friends we found through Gilda’s Club and Camp Kesem. We also thank the many friends and neighbors who have stood beside us over the last five years with comfort, support, meals, rides, and open arms. We will never forget your kindness to us.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Deming Lab at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Gilda’s Club of Madison, and Camp Kesem at UW-Madison. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.