Jeffrey Dean Zabel, age 44, of Mankato, died Sunday, May 5, 2013, in an airplane crash.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 10, 2013, at 11:00 AM, at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 105 Hosanna Drive, Mankato, with Rev. Dennis Heiden officiating. Visitation time will be from 5:00 to 8:00 PM Thursday at Hosanna Lutheran Church. Patton Funeral Home & Cremation Service, of Blue Earth is assisting the family with the arrangements. Web tributes may be left at www.pattonfh.com
Jeff was born June 7, 1968, in Mankato, the son of Dean and Rachel (Schoenrock) Zabel. He was raised and educated in Minnesota Lake where he was a 1986 graduate of Minnesota Lake High School. He attended Gustavas Adolphus College and later South Dakota State University where he played football while earning his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was married to Candy K. Hanson on April 27, 1990, in Brookings, SD. The couple moved to Mankato in 1993 where Jeff worked as an engineer prior to starting Construction Engineering Services in 2003, the business he owned and operated to the present. Jeff loved all aspects of aviation since he was a child. He earned his pilot's license in 1986 and had over 700 hours of flight time. He was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association Mankato Chapter 642 and had recently earned his instrument rating. Jeff also enjoyed sports and scuba diving having just earned his PADI Advance Open Water Diver Certification. The only thing he loved more than aviation was his family. He enjoyed time with Candy, playing guitar with Nicholas and watching sporting events and school functions with Brittany. He was a devoted family man who truly loved spending time with all of his family.
Jeff is survived by his wife, Candy Zabel of Mankato, his daughter, Brittany Zabel of Mankato, his son, Nicholas Zabel of Mankato, his brother, David Zabel of Jordan, his mother, Rachel Zabel of Minnesota Lake, mother-in-law, Maggie (Kenny) Nagel of Blue Earth, his father in law, Charles Hanson of Apache Junction, AZ, his brother in law, Charles (Deb) Hanson of Blue Earth, his sisters in law: Tanya (Tom) Nagel Hince of Delavan & Mindy Nagel of Blue Earth and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Dean Zabel.