Jesi Lee had an unforgettable life, nearly every event or personal development ranged from impossible, to unprecedented, to unique, hilarious, inspiring, or profoundly humbling. Like how the first 3yrs of her life she spent bald. We were concerned her head would signal planes by reflecting that hot New Mexico sun. But suddenly this fire-red, wildly curly hair sprung up. It was thick as a horse’s tail; she woke up everyday with the locks women pay to get in a salon but can’t. This pattern persisted throughout Jesi’s life and was part of her true nature: she would blossom in her own time – everything about her, down to the hair on her head, was going to happen on her time and she was always worth the wait.
Whether you met Jesi as a little one in New Mexico, or as a girl-going-on-18 in Minnesota, you’ll easily recall her stunning features. The au-natural flaming curls, her iconic unruly style, effortlessly perfect brows; big, intense hazel eyes, high cheek bones, a glowing winsome smile, signs of Nutella on her nails. For those who knew her well, we’ll always recall her willowy, athletic figure that could move like a powerful ninja, a contorted-but-chill pretzel, a hungry sloth, or a Mac Truck.
She commanded her body like a soul who had lots of obstacles blocking all the living she had to do. She was hard on herself. Nature was hard on her. Society was hard on her. But her relationships with certain special people were her sacred ground in all the hardships. She relied heavily on these special people to make a scary world, bearable, safe, even exciting. She couldn’t help but bounce to these people with her Tigger-like hugs and Eskimo-kisses. Jesi taught us she wasn’t over-energetic or aggressive with expressing love, we’re all just terribly under-charged and wimps at showing love.
Jesi had many awe-inspiring gifts in spite of hard obstacles from nature & society. One of my favorites to watch was how she could read people and their intentions. She never got anyone wrong. Not once. Not even with strangers she’d never met. She also perfected a ‘Jesi Language’ since she didn’t speak English. When she wasn’t teaching people how easy it is to speak ‘Jesi’, she was swimming, biking, choring, making fires, shopping, people watching, or communicating in magical ways – altering our lives forever for the better.
One gift that will always stick with us also affects how we lost her. She had an uncanny ability to know her body in space – on trampolines, small spaces, high places, in water, spinning super-fast. She was a cat-like-human-GPS who couldn’t get lost and perfectly timed her every move. She was a strong self-taught swimmer. Being around fire or water lit her eyes up, like few other things could. After nearly 18 years of not even a near miss around water, it would be one wrong step in water that cut her still-blossoming life too short, robbing us of a soul who brought heaven to Earth.
Jesi is still a force to be reckoned with – we feel her everywhere. Her lessons are echoing louder now than ever. She inspired us to be more in tune with our souls, that all healthy communication starts with love, to never underestimate patience, and to always question whether you’re missing the whole point of life. She left big shoes to fill (literally, they were skis), but we’re honored to continue her life-changing work, hoping to live life in ways that earn Jesi’s glowing approval.
Left to miss her vibrant energy is little sister Cora; mom, Terra; grandparents, Gene & Ginger Whetten; uncles, Ty Whetten (Andrea, Kaden, Teegan, Abigail) and Talon Whetten (Hayley, Paisley, Penelope); aunt, Tiffany Whetten; her father, Garrett; grandparents, Leedrue & Sandy Hyatt; aunt, Brady Kuenstler (Bud, Brooklyn); great-grandmothers, Betty Hyatt and Phyllis Thunborg; along with many aunts, uncles, cousins by blood and by the love that adopted them into her family. Waiting for her with a warm towel after her last swim, was her great grandparents, Chino & Zola Whetten; great grandfathers, Tom Hyatt and Bud Thunborg; uncle, Ryan Hyatt; and many other family and soul friends like Katrina Semmer, Stone Xiong, and her dog Maggie May who never missed a single night tucking her in & keeping watch over her on the ranch and in the cities.
A celebration of her fantastic life is being held at 5:00pm June 18th, 2022 at the gym entrance of 4700 Edinbrook Terrace, Minnespolis MN 55443. Wear summer attire and join us for an afternoon of storytelling to relive some of our favorite & wildest Jesi stories. Families and kids of all abilities are welcome.
Memorials preferred at https://gofund.me/35d511ce