School 09

Jeffrey Thomas Sylvester

October 5, 1947 ~ July 31, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old


Jeffrey Thomas Sylvester, age 75, of Annandale died peacefully at home on Monday, July 31, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.

Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel, Maple Lake. A Celebration of Life reception will be held from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at The V in Maple Lake. In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to be given to the "Delano Public School - Sly Fund", a scholarship for students at Delano High School.

Jeff was born on October 5, 1947, in Hallock, Minnesota to George and Ida (Ash) Sylvester. Jeff grew up in St. Vincent, Minnesota. Jeff learned many skills growing up in this small town. He learned to garden, hunt, fish, and helped out in the Sylvester store. To earn money for college, he built steel grain bins, was a lifeguard at Hallock pool and worked for construction companies which taught him building skills.

Jeff graduated from Humboldt-St. Vincent High School in 1965. His graduating class was a total of 12 students. He played football, basketball, was in choir and a class officer. Jeff then went to Bemidji State College to earn a BS degree in Business. Jeff met the love of his life, Susan Garske, his senior year. Jeff graduated from Bemidji in the spring of 1969. 

Upon graduation, he was immediately drafted by the US Army. Jeff entered the service on December 7, 1969. He did basic training at Ft. Lewis, Washington and then trained as a specialist in helicopter armament. On June 10, 1970, he was sent to Soc Trang in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam to become a part of Headquarters Company of the 13th Aviation Battalion. He was later stationed at Can Tho, Viet Nam. Jeff arrived back home from the service on July 13, 1971.

Jeff Sylvester and Susan Garske were married on August 14, 1971, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Minneapolis. Jeff started substitute teaching that year for the Hopkins school district. The next year he began his teaching career in Delano High School teaching business classes until 2008. He also was the advisor for the Delano Senior prom for over 30 years. Jeff was nicknamed "Sly" by his students. He loved teaching and he loved people. Jeff was kind and always helpful to anyone in need. He continued with his construction skills by building three different homes for his family. When he was not teaching in the summer, he worked in construction with a crew of his teacher friends. 

Jeff loved being outdoors. Traveling, gardening, hunting, fishing, bird watching, playing cribbage, and reading westerns were his hobbies. His children and grandchildren were the center of his life. He retired from Delano High School in 2008. He continued contact with many of his students from Delano. Jeff never went anywhere without running into past students. He always remembered their names and would take the time to chat about their families or jobs. Jeff was not a person to sit still. He was always working on a project in his garage. He worked part-time for two facilities run by Maple Lake Recovery until 2018. He also volunteered for 14 years as a handyman for the Maple Lake Library beginning in 2009 and was currently on the Board of the Friends of the Maple Lake Library. 

Jeff suffered a massive stroke on March 3, 2023. He spent months fighting medical setbacks to rebound each time with determination to attempt to walk and talk again. His goal was to get back home. His spirit and his will for rehabilitation finally ended with continued small strokes. Jeff came home with hospice to be with his family the last week of his life. 

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Susan Sylvester; his children, Amy Sylvester of Fridley; Scott (Jessica) Sylvester of South Haven; grandchildren, Livvy and George Sylvester; his sister, Jean (Jim) Hubbard of Bagley; and sister-in-law, Susan Sylvester of Little Falls. He was preceded in death by his parents George and Ida (Ash) Sylvester and his brother James Sylvester.

Obituary, Guestbook and Video Tribute online at


September 15, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel, Maple Lake
108 Oak Ave. N., PO Box 577
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Celebration of Life
September 16, 2023

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The V
66 Maple Ave N
Maple Lake, MN 55358


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