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Shay Jefford

August 30, 1972 - April 12, 2013

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On April 12, 2013, Shay Grundmann Jefford ended her nine year battle with cancer. Shay left the world with a smile on her face. The same smile that friends will remember as being warm and filled with hope.

Shay was born on August 30, 1972 to Bill and Tari Grundmann in Newton, Massachusetts. The Grundmann family moved to Ames, Iowa in 1975. In 1981 their family spent time living in Australia. They returned to Ames in 1983. While attending Ames Senior High School, Shay used her inner drive and determination to letter in track, cross country, and basketball. Shay was a team player that demanded the best from herself and encouraged her teammates to do the same. She graduated from Ames High in 1991. Shay attended the University of Iowa and majored in Health/Wellness and Communications. While at Iowa she nurtured her everlasting love for the Iowa Hawkeyes. She was a proud member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, developing strong, lasting, loyal friendships that meant the world to her.

Shay moved to Chicago, Illinois after graduating from Iowa in 1995. Initially she worked for the Habitat Company as an assistant manager. After her work in the fitness industry she went into pharmaceutical sales at Knoll Pharmaceutical and then worked for Abbott Labatories. Outside of work, Shay enjoyed spending Saturdays each fall watching the Iowa Hawkeyes play football and shopping. Shay was extremely proud of her flag football team, where once again, she used her competitive nature to win games and encourage those around her.

Shay was initially diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2004. She met this obstacle with faith and determination. She used her tough competitiveness to persevere and fight. In 2005, Shay met the love of her life, Willie Jefford. Willie joined her in her fight against cancer and together they became a team. They were married June 6, 2009 and enjoyed their home in Chicago with their cat, Eldo.

Shay’s other great love was her own little paradise in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Shay spent as much time as possible out on the lake waterskiing, kayaking or just lying out on the dock with her plethora of entertainment magazines. When Shay was re-diagnosed in 2009, she was unfazed, convinced that she would beat it. She nourished her soul by spending time at the lake as well as raising money for the Susan B. Komen Foundation. Team Shay could be found Racing for the Cure every September as well as participating in the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon. Shay used her generous spirit to reach out to women who were first diagnosed with breast cancer. She was unwavering in her determination to continue to fight at every level possible.

She will be missed by her loving husband, William Jefford. Her parents Bill and Tari Grundmann; her mother-in-law Janet Jefford; her brother-in-law Chris (Carlyn) Jefford and her niece Morgan and nephew Lucas; Her older brother Mark (Becky) Grundmann and nieces Anna and Sophie in Arvado, Colorado; Her younger sister Ashley (Lincoln) Utt and her nieces, Sydney Shay and Mayson, as well as her nephew, Hayden. She lives on in all the lives she touched, especially those of her many God children and dearest friends. Shay left this world with a smile on her face and would always encourage those around her to share their smiles. Share a smile today in honor of Shay!

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Susan G. Coleman Chicagoland, Shay Jefford Memorial Fund.
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