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Ivar Jonson

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Ivar Jonson Obituary
Jonson, Ivar

Ivar Jonson, born in Stavanger, Norway November 20, 1942 and died November 7, 2014 at the age of 71. Ivar was born into a poor family and had very little formal education. He often retold the story of the winter he had to burn the outhouse to keep warm. He left his home and beloved Norway to face the world on a fishing boat headed to New Brunswick, St. John at the young age of 14. Ivar crewed as a merchant marine and served on tankers, cargo and cruise ships. As a merchant marine he visited many parts of the world including most of the seas, Suez Canal, crossing above and below the equator and exited Cuba during the Bay of Pigs. He once said he could have jumped ship to ship from Cuba to Miami on decks of the US battle ships that lined the sea. In 1962 he arrived in Brooklyn, NY where his aunt Marget Andersen, sponsored him to make his way and work in America. Within a few years he moved to Cortland, NY where he met his life partner, and later wife, Janet. Shortly thereafter they moved to Ithaca and started their own business, IJ Construction. Ivar and Janet struggled initially, scraping together enough to buy a distressed property. They moved in and lived out of boxes upstairs while they got to work. When the remodeling was done, they sold the now-beautiful home and moved their boxes to the next one. Happy was the day when they were at last able to afford two at once, so they could move into one of them and finally unpack their boxes. In the decades that followed, their partnership, their support for each other, and their drive and perseverance allowed them to build a reputation that is now known throughout the region. Over the years Ivar built many homes, neighborhoods, churches and other professional buildings in Ithaca and Upstate New York. His impeccable construction and integrity was the foundation for many lifelong friendships with clients, subcontractors, and local businesses. Ivar was known for carrying his blueprints in his head. Frequently, he could be seen on the job site with his can of spray paint in hand and head down, designing floor plans and brainstorming rooms, closets and bathrooms. Without exception, every project was modified and produced results which exceeded original submitted plans...often to the frustration of building inspectors, engineers and board members. It has been said give Ivar four walls and a roof and the modern day DaVinci would go to work creating a masterpiece. With the help of his Bobcat, affectionately named "Buddy," Ivar could move mountains. Ivar's drive was unequaled. All who knew him know he only had only one gear: full speed ahead! His six days was everyone else's six months. He worked hard and played hard. Ivar was all about getting the job done. He was either at the job site, on a supply run, or if he had to sit down, he was discussing the job over a glass of wine. The only exception was Sunday afternoons when he would take Janet dancing or traveling the world with her. Off the job, he appreciated a good Armani suit and fine Italian shoes. On the job he wore last year's Armani slacks - paint splattered. Ivar was a husband, father, grandfather and friend. He led by example and loved his family and friends. He gave and demanded respect but was also very loving and deeply generous. His dedication to family and friends was beyond compare. Those who knew him will miss him and the fire he brought. His adventurous spirit in work and travel was only exceeded by his courage and dignity when he knew his long battle with his health was nearing an end. Born a Norwegian, Ivar eventually became an American citizen. He is the ultimate example of the pursuit of the American Dream! Services will be held November 20, 2014 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. in Lansing Trails at the corner of Leif's Way, Ithaca, NY 14850. In lieu of flowers, pay it forward as Ivar always had. Bangs Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Published in Ithaca Journal from Nov. 12 to Nov. 13, 2014
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