Jason Gulbrandson, who was born with a heart defect, endured countless heart surgeries in his 26 years.
But he was determined to live a normal life by going to school, getting married, being a father and having a career.
On March 21 he was admitted to the Nebraska Medical Center with shortness of breath. His mechanical heart valve and pacemaker were replaced, but he remained in intensive care until last Saturday, when he passed away with his family around him.
His wife, Michaela, said he loved to do magic tricks and go mudding in his truck. He liked all kinds of music, she said, and kept his family laughing by being a comedian.
Gulbrandson attended Millard West High School and Kaplan University. He worked as an insurance marketing recruiter while he studied criminal justice.
His wife said she would most like him to be remembered as “a really amazing dad” to their 3-year-old daughter, Paityn.
“Michaela and Paityn were two of the reasons Jason treasured life and fought so hard to live a normal one in spite of his health challenges,” said his sister, Jessica Winternheimer.
Jason Gulbrandson also was a mentor to a 10-year-old boy who has a heart defect, his wife said. “He wanted to show him it was possible to grow up and lead a regular life.”
In addition to his wife, daughter and sister, survivors include his mother, Katherine Williams; father, Michael Gulbrandson; brother, Jeffrey Gulbrandson; and grandmother, Betty Meier.
A funeral service was held Wednesday at Lutheran Church of the Master.
A fundraiser for the family will be held June 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Champions Run. Memorials also can be made to the Jason Gulbrandson Benefit Trust Fund at U.S. Bank.
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