In Memory of Justin Boettcher

Memories - from the Funeral Service
  Memories from Brian, a friend of Justin

Family and friends, we gather here today in remembrance of Justin Mathew Boettcher. The family has asked that the honorary friends not printed in the memorial pamphlet be recognized. Sitting behind the pallbearers is Matt Weimer, Steon Eusok, (and) Andy Polsky, (and also) Ben Hergert who unfortunately is not able to be here today.

I began with, "we gather here in remembrance, because we are not saying goodbye forever." We all have memories of Justin, weather it be fishing, working, or hanging out and just talking to him. We will hold those memories close to our hearts and he will not be forgotten until the time when we see him again.

I don't really remember the first time I saw Justin or when we started hanging out with the same crowd. I do remember his personality, how it was when I met him and how it stayed the same up until I saw him last weekend. Justin was someone that would go out of his way for anyone, whether he knew them or not. He was such a great people person. He could talk to anyone and make anyone laugh.

One of the first memories I have of Justin was five years ago. I remember him helping me restore an old boat my parents were going to take to the junkyard. I had never asked him for help, because I didn't really know him, but even if I did, he was right up in there before I had the opportunity to ask. We must have been working on that floor until three or four in the morning when we finished. Then he asked me, "You need some help tomorrow"?

Just the other week, I was about to blow up my truck because I couldn't get the heater core fixed after five or six hours of work. Then Jeff Lenzen called and asked what I was doing. I told him the situation and how frustrated I was, the next thing I know is that Justin was with him and some other guys working away. I forgot to mention, this was on a Friday night, when we all know is usually a time we like to spend away from wires, grease, oil and the cold cement. He'd do anything for you, and wouldn't even think about asking for anything in return. And he'd be right back the next day to do it all over again.

Justin was the kind of kid everyone liked immediately. Last year, Luke Clough, Justin, and I ventured on a road trip to Virginia to watch a St. John's football game. By the end of the first night there, we decided to grab a bite to eat at an old waffle house. We traveled all that way, 22 hours, and we were not even able to eat with Justin, because a couple of coaches from St John's had fallen in love with the kid and his stories. So they stole Justin from us to buy him dinner and recruit him to play football.

Now the next day, we had to take the 22-hour venture back to MN. Usually one would think that spending 44 hours in a car could drive you nuts, and it started to on the way back after getting lost four times. It was Justin's turn to get out and ask for directions. He didn't say anything when he got back in the car, so Luke and I finally asked, "Ok, where are we going?" He just sat there for a few seconds, and finally blurted out, "seriously, I don't remember a THING that lady just said!" At such a frustrating time, he had us laughing harder than I could imagine. I don't know what Justin did with those few words, but they sure hit the spot. Not many people have the ability to do that like Justin did.

These next words come from Mathew 25, "for when I was hungry, you gave me food: when thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me into your home, when naked you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me." Later on it reads, "I tell you this, anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did for me." When I hear these words, Justin and his wonderful generosity comes to mind. I see it as, when we were in need of a hand, Justin's, was there before we could even ask. When we needed a laugh, Justin had given us a million. When we needed to talk to someone, Justin was there to listen. And like the Bible says, anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did them for me. Justin did exactly that.

There was an aura, a wonderful presence that was with Justin wherever he had been. He was a big, quiet and loveable teddy bear who was funny, easy to talk to and had a good heart. I'm sure some of his buddies will tell you about how lucky he would be playing cribbage, at the casino, or fishing and hunting. Well, maybe not fishing because they would be embarrassed to tell you who caught all the fish.

We may never have been as lucky as Justin when we were with him fishing or playing cards, but I know we could not have been any luckier to have Justin as part of our lives. He has touched every one of our hearts in the time he was here. Let us remember Justin Mathew Boettcher for who he was and what he stood for. God bless him, his loving family and friends.
  Memories from Jeff, Justin's uncle

The family would like to share some of our memories of Justin...what he meant to all of us. As we are gathering our theme is common-Justin was the type of kid who made everyone around him feel special.

No matter how many of his buddies he was with, Justin would always be sure and take time out to talk with his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and his little cousins. He was always listening intently to what you were saying, and then he would come up with a one liner that would sum up your long story that would also usually lead to laughs or smiles. He had that little smile as he came up to put his arm around you to greet you and give you a big hug. He took the time to make each person feel like they were special to him.

As a little boy, he grew up on the farmhouse next to his Grandpa and Grandma. From the time he could walk, he was following Grandpa around to learn the lessons of life. He has been Grandpa's pal and helper, always willing to give Grandpa a hand on the farm. Grandpa helped nurture his passion for the love of fishing and hunting, and of doing what was right.

In a household of five kids, they loved to wrestle and pick on each other; but in the last few years, they have become the best of friends, enjoying some of the same friends and spending time together.

I have many memories of Justin. He has been an active part of my life since he was five years old. We have had many fun times at the lake, playing any sport imaginable, and of course our hunting days. But one of my favorite memories of Justin are the countless days I would find him and Danny fishing off my dock. Somehow there seemed to always be tangled lines and dead fish floating around the dock, but there were a few keepers here and there.

Early in his career, Justin had some very creative ways of tying off his lures with knots, which I can't explain. The he graduated to using the fishing boat instead of fishing off the dock, and this is when the fun began. Many days I would come out to find the boat half full of water, no fuel in the gas tank, or the motor left in gear so when I did get the boat going it would head for the shore.

I would gladly trade these frustrations for a chance to have Justin back with us today.

After Justin's senior year, he headed out on a harvest crew with his cousin Nathan. We have been enjoying some of the memories Nathan has shared about the last year of Justin's life, and the close bond they developed when working day and night on the harvest crew. When Justin returned from harvest, he surprised his Mom and dad by walking into their bedroom in the middle of the night to let them know how much he loved and missed them.

We would like to thank all of you for supporting our family through this unexpected and tragic experience. We will all miss Justin, but have many wonderful memories to hold on to.
  Memories from Denise, Justin's aunt

Denise first played "Snapshots of Love" at Justin's funeral in 2002. The two additional verses written for Justins funeral, plus many more, were added and removed before this version was released on 2007.
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