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Will Zaiser

September 08, 1983 - November 06, 2020

A family memorial service is planned at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo, with a celebration of life to be held in the spring. His service will be live streamed on this page starting at 1:45 PM on Wednesday.

Arrangements

Boulger Funeral Home

Will Zaiser

September 08, 1983 - November 06, 2020

Obituary

Will’s Live Streamed Memorial Service can be viewed below starting at 1:45 PM on Wednesday:

William Robert Zaiser, 37, died Nov. 6, 2020, in Fargo. A family memorial service is planned at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo, with a celebration of life to be held in the spring.

Will was born to Steven and Catherine (Bishop) Zaiser on Sept. 8, 1983, in Devils Lake, N.D. In 1987 the family moved to Fargo. Will attended Fargo public schools, graduating from Fargo South High School in 2002. On his 21st birthday, Sept. 8, 2004, he and Nikki Rentz became parents to a son, Logan.

As a kid Will tried many sports before settling on tennis. Many of his closest friends were members of the Fargo South Tennis Team. He was a good doubles partner and served as co-captain of the team his senior year.

Will was most recently employed at Serenity Assisted Living in Dilworth, Minn., where he was loved by residents and staff. Prior to that he worked as a houseman for Days Inn, Fargo. His co-workers became dear friends who enjoyed his warmth, his wit, his kindness, and were always there for him.

Will had an infectious smile, a great sense of humor, and loved spending time with family and friends. He liked watching movies, playing cards, fishing, trying new foods, collecting cool shoes, and romping with his dogs, Mayes and Skyla.

Sadly, Will struggled with alcoholism for many years. Despite his own efforts, and those of many who loved and cared for him, in the end alcohol took his life.

Will is survived by his father, Steve Zaiser, Fargo; his mother and stepfather, Cathy and Terry Jelsing, Rugby, N.D.; his son, Logan Rentz, Fargo; a sister and brother-in-law, Shana Zaiser and Sam Woolever and niece Alice, Minneapolis; stepbrother Matthew (Colleen) Johnson and nephew Toren, Bangkok, Thailand; stepsister Sunniva Jelsing and niece Vivienne Earnest, Coos Bay, Ore.; aunts Tricia (Toby) Schield, Mesquite, Nev.; Pam (Russ) Perkins, Bourbonnais, Ill; Chaz (Dwight) Graven, Marshall, Minn.; Janna (Jeff) Fuller, Spirit Lake, Iowa; Colleen (Carl Weimer) Beckman, Northfield, Minn.; uncles Tom (Joan) Zaiser, Ashby, Minn.; Tim (Mary Casey) Jordheim, Prescott, Az.; David (Chris Koehnen) Jordheim, Minneapolis; and Steve (Mary) Jordheim, Minneapolis; and many cousins and friends.

Will’s Funeral Program can be viewed by clicking the following link: Zaiser, Will 2020

Will’s Video Tribute can be viewed below:

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51 responses to “Will Zaiser”

  1. Georgene D Volk says:

    My deepest sympathy to the family of Will. I’m a former co-worker of Will’s I was the breakfast attendant at Days Inn. He seemed like a very kind and considerate fellow. Alcohol ruins so many lives. This is very sad for someone so young as Will to lose his life to this disease.

  2. Becky Gustofson says:

    I was so blessed to know Will! I will never forget the day we met when he walked into the Days Inn for his interview on his birthday. He was so gifted at so many things. Eventually, when I convinced him to play Santa for my employer Serenity he was in his element and began employment there. He was dearly loved by so many! He was so talented with the individuals there and we truly saw him excel with individuals with memory impairments. Working with this population was his calling and where he was truly in his element.

    Will, I will miss our talks even though over the past year they didn’t happen as often as i would have liked. You were a great friend and I am lucky to have been a part of your life! I will cherish all the memories we had together (as we both know there were many)!

    Peace, my friend!

  3. Abby Walker Gaskill says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Will’s passing. I have great childhood memories of climbing the big tree with Will in your backyard on Arrowhead road, picking strawberries, playing perfection, and playing school with Shana in your basement. I’m very thankful for those memories and hope he is now at peace. Hugs and love to the family.

  4. Wayne Woolever says:

    You made a difference in your short time, Will. Your ready and warm smile, untethered laughter, and the humble ability to show your respectful consideration for others. I’ll readily remember your attentive listening and investment in others’ thoughts – for both young and old. Rest In Peace, Will. We will miss you…

  5. Catherine McMullen says:

    My heart goes out to you all. Peace and love to you and your family, Cathy.

  6. Rick Lane says:

    Steve, and family,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, I know that you and Wil were vèry close. Our thoughts and prays to you and your family at this difficult time

    Rick and Sharon Lane

  7. Kathy Heim says:

    So very sorry to hear of Will’s passing. I remember him as a very happy kid growing up on 261/2 ave. With our son and the other neighbor kids on the block.

    Our deepest sympathy. Randy and Kathy Heim

  8. Leanna says:

    You’re in our hearts forever will. Fly with the angels bud. You’ve earned your wings. I enjoyed working with you and will miss you tremendously.

  9. Vic Youngs says:

    The smile! That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Will. That sweet, sweet smile. It was a pleasure to serve as Will’s tennis coach at South High. Will was a great teammate and leader. He was a talented player, but more importantly, he was a good person! I’m so sorry that he endured so many struggles in his life. May he Rest In Peace.

  10. Kathleen Crook says:

    You are in my thoughts in this difficult time.

  11. Tammy Swift says:

    I was so deeply sorry to hear of your loss. I will always remember Will as a bright light – a funny, sweet, sensitive soul. The world will miss his kindness, heart and presence. Much love, Tammy

  12. Barbara Benda Nagle says:

    Steve and family of Will- my deepest sympathy in the loss of a treasured young man. My heart breaks for all of you. Will was my 5th grade student who was loved easily by those around him. His smile was infectious. A teacher shouldn’t have favorites, yet he was a favorite of mine. I was grateful he reached out to me later in life when he had struggles and I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to help him. He was honest and tender-hearted. I celebrated with him when he graduated from drug court just 2 years ago. It was one very happy day for his family and Will was so proud of how far he had come. We never understand why alcohol can have such a grip on a life that has so much promise. Only God can answer that question. Will blessed my life and I will remember him as someone who made a difference in those around him. May the love of Jesus surround you and give you comfort. “”The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.-Psalm 34:18

  13. Denise says:

    Oh the lives you changed and impacted. There are just so many. So very grateful for our friendship. Your honesty and patience are unmatched.

    God Bless. Looking forward to a giant hug.

  14. Liza says:

    Your loss is so great; my deepest sympathies for your broken hearts. I have such fond memories of Will when we were kids. He was always smiling and so kind.

  15. Brianne Braseth says:

    I am so sorry for your loss.. I used to work with him at Days Inn i was a breakfast attendant there. He always seemed so happy and so giggly and also really helpful.. I am glad to know him. Hes definitely going to be missed..

  16. Kate Martinez says:

    When I think about Will, his warm smile and great humor come to mind. It was an honor to walk down the aisle with him at Sam and Shana‘s wedding and dance the night away together. Throughout their wedding ceremony he kept making faces at me trying to make me laugh. I remember after Socorro was born he brought her the cutest blue outfit and it meant so much to us. Anytime he was with our family his calm presents and conversation was so wonderful. My heart aches for the whole family and I will hold memories of him close.

  17. Sheila Hawkinson says:

    My prayers to the whole family. For the people that posted memories and adventures in his life made me smile. I can see a game called perfection would be a game he would play. I can see him playing Santa. To hear him caring for people and playing with his dogs. Reminds me of how dear he was to his son, father, sister, mother and step father. Everyone in his life will miss him greatly as there will always be that empty chair at the family gatherings. But a prayer for peace at every sunrise and sunset as we remember a life lived to short. Rest in peace Will.

  18. Cody Crawford says:

    I’m incredibly sorry to have learned of Will’s passing a few days ago. When I moved to Fargo in 9th grade from a small town in Northern MN, I was fortunate to meet a lot of great people on the Fargo South tennis team. A lot of us younger guys were around the same age and they were great to let me acclimate into their group of friends very quickly. I was lucky enough to call Will a friend during that time and throughout the rest of high school. During our senior year, he & I were doubles partners and were able to win a conference title together. Will’s game (much like his personality) was just so free flowing and natural. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit jealous of a few of those skills 🙂 — His amazing hands at the net and his instincts for the game were top notch. He was the best doubles partner I ever had and it was nothing but fun to play alongside him. We had a great time. He was a great leader, outstanding teammate, and was adored by everyone on our team.

    Off the tennis court, Will’s great smile complimented his easygoing and fun personality. We all loved him and reading many of the kind tributes here, it’s clearly a trait he carried with him going forward into adulthood also. He was clearly loved by many. I personally don’t remember Will ever having much of an ego about anything. That’s one very impressive thing I’ll always remember about him along with the aforementioned thoughts as it’s such a rare quality. He was extremely humble, generous, and just liked to be around people and we all felt the same.

    To Will’s family & everyone who knew and loved Will, I’m again terribly sorry for his passing but I (and so many others) will remember him fondly for many years to come. May he Rest In Peace.

  19. Heather Knight says:

    I remember going to elementary school with Will. He was always the nice kid at school. I remember he had such a great smile! I am so sad to hear of his passing. Will’s family and friend are in my thoughts and prayers! Rest in peace! ❤️❤️

  20. Seth Oberlander says:

    Will was one of my best friends for quite a few years when we were children. I have so many great memories of Will. I’m sorry for everyone’s loss.

  21. JJ Gordon says:

    I fondly remember playing a lot of poker with Will and his friend group on Friday nights in the early part of high school. A genuinely wonderful man who will be missed by many. Memories of laughter and better times will carry Will into the future. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  22. Scott Williams says:

    It’s so tough to hear of Will’s passing. He was such a great friend to many over the years. Way back we were on a tee-ball team together. In 5th grade, Will and I were in the same class and grew close, playing basketball in the driveway after school. We played on a couple traveling basketball teams together and spent a lot of time on the golf course with friends thanks to those great youth golf passes they had in Fargo, back in the day. Then we started playing tennis. There were many, many hours passed rallying and competing with one another on the courts at Island Park. Whether it was Will’s forehand, his golf swing, the way he threw a frisbee, or his crossover on the basketball court, the best word to describe his style was smooth. Growing up together, learning to play together, it was the best of times for me. When I would play tennis or ping-pong with others, it always felt a little uneasy, like I needed to make adjustments. But with Will the game felt natural, comfortable. When the ball came off his racket, you knew where it was going to bounce.

    He was that way as a friend, too. A person that made you comfortable. He was a caring soul.

    There are many memories of Will that I will treasure: Playing ping-pong in his dad’s basement, wadding up balls of grass, rolling them in duct tape and using them to play golf around the house in his mom’s yard, traveling to Sweden for tennis with a group from Courts Plus, discovering his mother’s closet and playing dress up, singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody in the car in the Fargo South parking lot.

    Will taught me many things. He taught me about the importance of being humble. He taught be to care about others, even if I didn’t know them. He taught me to lighten up and laugh. He taught me that there is a whole lot more to the world than just right and wrong, good and bad, black and white. There is a whole lot of gray. It’s in that grayness where I have found the most joy in life. I own so much to my friend, Will. And I thank him for the friendship that we shared. Rest in peace, buddy.

  23. Matthew Walsh says:

    I’m sorry to hear about his passing. I grew up with Will and there’s not many memories from 8-16 yrs old when I transferred schools that he’s not in. Was confirmed with him, played together on bball and baseball teams, Camping out on his trampoline, discovering the Offspring and 2pac realizing what Parental Advisory warning labels meant haha. RIP buddy. #GusMackerToiletBowlChamps1998/99

  24. Cheryl Ann Keller says:

    Sorry to hear that Will past. All a alcoholic has is one day. And it can be a sober one or a sad one and today’s is a sad one.
    May God hold you and your family in the palms of his hands. Cheryl K

  25. Darby says:

    I am so sorry to hear of his passing. We worked together at Serenity, not a lot on same sides, and he was great with the residents! Fly High Will..

  26. Michelle says:

    Will you were one of the best to work with at Serenity. You were there to listen, great with the residents. Your laughter will be missed. Heaven gained a great person. Fly high, Will.

  27. Laurie Baker says:

    Cathy, Steve, I am so sad for your loss. May the bright time shine in the days to come. Warm regards, Laurie Baker

  28. Rev. Phillip Fox says:

    I am saddened by the new of Will’s passing. I have short but fond memories of Will. He and I were 5th grade classmates in elementary school. From what I have read and heard; he stayed the fun-loving, laidback guy that I knew all those years ago! My heart breaks that we missed the opportunity to reconnect! My prayers and heart is with all of those who are feeling this loss! May God’s Loving Grace Walk With All Who Mourn Today and The Days Ahead.

  29. Dan Flynn says:

    My heart goes out to Will’s family. He will be missed.

    Will had great taste in music and that’s how we first bonded when becoming friends in 7th grade. I remember discovering how we both liked Elton John (he played the Fargodome that year). In the back of class, we would quote different lyrics and goof around. I’ll never forget how we used to giggle over the lyrics to ‘Benny and the Jets’. It’s one of the best memories I have of middle school. Ever since, anytime I hear that song I think of Will.

    Over the years, some of my favorite memories of Will include playing cards (he was a great Whist partner), following Pro Tennis, basketball and bocce ball in Island Park, and canoeing down the Crow Wing.

    I am thankful to have been friends with Will, and I’m deeply saddened he is no longer with us. May he rest in peace.

  30. Ron Frannea says:

    I’m very sorry about the loss of your son, Cathy. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

    In sympathy,

    Ron

  31. Garry Cochran says:

    We were so sorry to hear of Will’s passing. My son, Steve, attended Fargo South High with Will and also played on South’s tennis team with him. I remember attending State with the boys and enjoyed getting to know Will. Steve considered him a good friend and teammate. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

  32. Anne Spiegslberg says:

    My sweet friend Will, you will be missed while you walk on. Your laugh and your kindness i will remember from the Days Inn and in group. We shared a lot laughs, sadness, accomplishments and secrets and that i am greatfull. I will forever smile when I think of you the day you came to ceremony with me and you slid out of the lodge covered with mud from head to toe and the car running out of gas on our way home in front of your house! i know you are now at the most beeautiful place! Love you always my friend

    Anne

  33. Pam Ottesen says:

    My deep sympathy to you Cathy and family. We have lots of memories from church that we will hold in our hearts. Sending lots of love and prayers to you at this difficult time. Pam Ottesen and family.

  34. Mac Le and Family says:

    My sympathy to families and relatives, it is a great lost but a lost released his pain. Will, you are a great friend when we was young. God will with you and grandparents!

  35. Rebecca Oberlander says:

    My heart breaks at the news of Will’s passing. Our family has so many fond memories spent with our Zaiser/Jelsing friends. Many of the memories invoke a smile or a chuckle. My deepest sympathies to all family members and all others who loved Will.

  36. Tricia Schield says:

    Will was an amazing person. He loved his family and friends and the video of photos brings those statements to life. My most recent memory I enjoy to think on was his speech at Shana’s wedding reception. I loved to see his smile and interactions with people. Will, we love you deeply. To my sister , Cathy , I’m so sorry for your loss. To my niece, Shana, I love you and I’m sorry . To Steve, my sympathies. I wish I could be with you all today.

  37. Clifford Leroy McLain says:

    Steve, Cathy and family: My deepest sympathy for all of you at the loss of Will.

  38. David Swenson says:

    My thoughts are with you all.

  39. Michael & Susan Simonson says:

    Our hearts are heavy for your loss. Will was in so many ways a very happy presence in the home and family. We will be in touch and are always here for your support. .

  40. Terri Kelly Barta says:

    Cathy and Terry and family, My heart is broken for you in your loss. Will sounds like a wonderful human being. I wish for him the peace of all understanding as he leaves his addiction on earth. Hugs to all of you!

    (Editor of Pierce County Tribune 2010-2012)

  41. Barbara Wagner says:

    My sisters and I wish to convey our condolences to Steve and Cathy and the rest of Will’s family for your loss. May he Rest In Peace.

    Barbara, Ann, Mary, and Ruth Wagner

  42. Kris Koehnen says:

    I am Will’s aunt by marriage (David’s Jordheim’s wife). I had only met Will a few times, but when I did I saw the gentle soul that was so eloquently remembered today. Thank you all for your stories and your honesty. My heart is sad for you – Cathy and Shana, and all of you who loved Will. He is in a better place, and I know he is at peace.

  43. Jennifer Hischer says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. It was devastating to hear of Will’s passing, and I am heartbroken for all of his family and friends. I had the privilege of getting to know Will through his participation in Drug Court a few years ago. He was a wonderful, supportive friend to the other participants… He always had so much for care and empathy for his fellow group members. Will worked SO HARD at his sobriety, and had an excellent 13 months in the program. I was fortunate to see him almost weekly for over a year during that time, and I always enjoyed our visits. Will was always polite, insightful, and accountable. I’m guessing he nearly rode the tires off his bike with all the miles he put on, getting everywhere he needed to be! I will forever remember his twinkling eyes and happy giggle. He had a great sense of humor! Will was able to regain his driving privileges during that time, and when he got the job at Serenity I remember telling him I could not think of anyone more well-suited for that work. He was so kind and patient and tender-hearted. It was a wonderful day when Will successfully graduated from Drug Court, and I shared your pride. He loved his family, talked about you all often, and he was so hopeful about regaining a place in his son’s life. I know, without any doubt, that Will wanted to be sober. Unfortunately, his disease is insidious and hateful, and it absolutely robbed him of the long and full life he should have had. When Will and I connected again a few weeks ago, I was so hopeful he would be able to find his way to turn things around again. Please know that I share your intense grief, and I will never forget him. God Bless Will.

  44. Dale and Sandy Williams says:

    Our thoughts and prayers for the family of Will. We enjoyed his company- such a smile and wit. From Cub Scouts to basketball then tennis we traveled with him and his friends. And was great to see him again at Scott’s wedding. He made our lives while in Fargo richer. We have such good memories.

  45. Marcella Mudgett says:

    I am Keith and Lois Millers daughter, Marcella. I only knew Will and Shana when they were really small. I just want to extend my deepest sympathies to your family. The loss of a child is so hard no matter how old they are. We are thinking of you all and sending hugs and prayers.

  46. Cameron Heim says:

    I remember Will as one of my best friends growing up. We were neighbors when we were young and did everything together. We even had our parents split a nanny bill for the summers so we could be together. I remember many sleep overs over the years where we would stay up late and drive our parents nuts cause we would be making to much noise either watching movies or playing video games. I remember over the blizzards of 97 that we would enjoy running from one house to the other during canceled school days to either play the new N64 game or watch the newest Chris Farley movie. I remember when Will got a trampoline. He was the king of the block. We used to have sleepovers outside on it and remember looking at the stars and talking all night.

    Rest in Peace old friend…. you will be missed

  47. Mona Lewis says:

    Mere words are never adequate in expressing ones love, and feelings, with an individual/family who has lost a loved one. My sincerest prayers and hugs, to accompany you, and all your wonderful memories, is what I wish for you and yours. I’m extremely sorry for your loss!

  48. Colleen Jelsing says:

    It is so hard to find the words to express the deep sorrow that I am feeling. The memorial service was so beautiful; so many wonderful memories expressed by all who spoke at the service. As his Aunt, I wish I could have been there to offer some comfort and give you all a hug, but know that I was thinking of everyone and that I am sharing in your loss and grief. Will, may you find peace in the heavenly realms and know just how much you were loved and how much your life mattered to so many people. We miss you, Will, and we will miss you forever. Sending much love, prayers and comfort to the family and friends of this beautiful soul. God Bless.

  49. Katie Wangstad says:

    I am not sure if you remember me or not, Cathy, but I got to know you at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fargo where you and Steve Revland led Sunday School music. When you were getting married and moving, you encouraged me to take over for you and I shared my faith with children through music for many years. You may also recall that you wrote a newspaper article about my eldest daughter, Samantha, who was playing at home while she sang, “I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N,” a song that you had taught her.

    I was shocked and saddened to hear that your son died. I taught Will in seventh grade for a semester of World Language Survey. He had such a great smile, and I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling with the loss of him. I hope your memories of special times spent with Will bring you and your family some comfort as you grieve. The Germans say, “Auf wiedersehen,” which means until we see each other again. So, for now it is goodbye, but not forever. You will be reunited with Will in heaven someday when God calls you home. Until then, I believe that Will is going to be watching over you from above. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. I am so very sorry for what you are going through.

  50. Nancy Peterson says:

    My prayers and thoughts are with the family with the loss of Will. The time is very hard and difficult for everyone to handle the loss but hopes are that the family will feel the love and peace we all want to express. May Will rest in pease and feel the love above.

  51. Sonja & Ken Chupik says:

    Cathy and family, We are heartbroken to hear of your loss of sweet Will. There are no words that take away your pain, but please know we are praying God’s love and comfort come over you. May the Lord hold you close and heal your hearts knowing the Will rest in His arms in heaven. You are in our hearts and prayers.
    Sonja and Ken

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