Travis Wade Jelsma, 41, of New Virginia, IA, passed away March 6, 2023, at his home. He was born in Osceola, IA, to Daniel Allen Jelsma and Carol Ann (Hitt) Jelsma on October 29, 1981. Travis trusted Jesus as his Savior when he was a boy. He grew up in Osceola with his sisters, Angela and Amy.
Travis married Heather Cherie DeFord on January 8, 2005 in Grimes, Iowa. Travis’s pride and joy was his family. He adored Heather, and to their union were born four sons: Aaron James, Bryce Andrew, Devin Luke, and Jared Scott. Travis enjoyed attending their sporting events, watching movies with them, and hearing about their experiences at school. They will always remember him as their greatest encourager and one who was always up for a good fart joke.
Travis worked at a variety of jobs throughout his life. These include working at a hog farm, at DeVries Electric, and most recently for Utility Line Construction Services as a journeyman electrician. He was a member of the IBEW Local 347. Travis worked in a wide variety of locations around Iowa throughout his career.
Travis had a fertile mind. He was interested in learning more about the world and made three international trips. In 2001 he went to Ukraine with a group of friends. In 2003 he went to Romania to visit a cousin and sent home the most interesting emails about his adventures there. In 2019 he traveled to New Zealand with his family. He always enjoyed taking a good side trip and trying local foods.
Travis was particularly adept at anything to do with his hands. In addition to working as an electrician, he finished many household projects at the dream home he and Heather built in rural New Virginia. He enjoyed sports and seemed to excel at every sport he tried, even bowling. Travis always had a green thumb and grew impressive gardens in his youth and adulthood. He was a good pianist and vocalist and always made music a priority in his life. In recent years Traivs had enjoyed hosting a 4th of July bash at his home. He coordinated and funded a big fireworks show for numerous neighbors, friends, and relatives. Travis loved people and brought smiles to the faces of nearly everyone he met.
Travis is survived by his loving wife, Heather; Sons Aaron James, Bryce Andrew, Devin Luke, and Jared Scott; parents Dan and Carol Jelsma of Osceola, IA; Grandmother Dixie McKay of Humeston, IA; Grandfather Keith (Jan) Jelsma of Decatur City, IA; Parents-in-law Mark and Roberta DeFord of Leon, IA, Sisters Angela (Kurt) Brannian of Des Moines, IA, and Amy (Jacob) Allen of Leon, IA; Sisters-in-law Marlys (Caleb) Weikert of Cedar Falls, IA, Kendra (Curt) Smith of Hot Springs, SD, Carrie DeFord of Ankeny,IA; Brothers-in-law David (JoyLynn) DeFord of Norwalk, IA, and Ben DeFord of Ankeny, IA; Nephews and niece Christian, Joel, and Natalie Rothfus of Des Moines, IA; close friend and cousin David (De) Negley of Winterset, IA, and their children David Michael, Brennan, Natalie and Abigaylle; Uncles Scott Jelsma of Decatur City, IA, David (Kathy) Hitt and Jim Hitt of Woodburn, IA, Steve (Cathy) Hitt of Weldon, IA, and Walter (Monica) Hitt of Derby, IA; Aunts Beth (Joe) Stearns of Lacona, IA, Sheryl Powders of Osceola, IA, Carolyn (Tim) Stroup of Leon, IA, and Beverly (Norman) Skinner of Osceola, IA, nieces and nephews, Ty, Kara, Brock, Jenni & Drake Weikert; Emmalyn, Adeline, Elaina & Peyton Smith; Kellen, Liam & Owen DeFord, as well as many other beloved cousins, and valued friends.
Family and friends are invited to Travis’s visitation and celebration of life. The visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 pm on Sunday night, March 12, 2023, at Kale Funeral Home in Osceola, IA. His celebration of life will be at 10:00 am on Monday, March 13, 2023 at Kale Funeral Home in Osceola, IA. The graveside service will follow at the New Virginia Cemetery in New Virginia, Iowa. A dinner will be held at the Clarke County Fairgrounds Event Center, following the burial.