Jace Edward-John Cajthaml, 19
Jace Edward-John Cajthaml, age 19 of Ionia, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
Visitation will be held in the near future, date yet to be determined, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Online condolences for Jace’s family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com
Jace was born on Oct. 21, 2000, to Casey Cajthaml and Jamie Ballantine at Mercy Medical Center-New Hampton.
As a young boy, he was always on the go and, sure, there were times he was a little mischievous, but he’d flash that smile that was so Jace and all was forgiven. His love of sports began early in life; in fact, as soon as he was walking, he was playing catch with his grandpa. He learned how to ride a bike, sans training wheels, when he was two or three.
He grew up in New Hampton and Ionia and attended school in New Hampton. When it came to school, he loved the social part and tolerated the bookwork. He played Youth Sports Foundation football and travel-team baseball, and one of his favorite memories had to be when he socked a home run over the left-field fence during a game against Burnsville in Blue Earth, Minnesota.
Jace was the best big brother to Carter, Kinnick, Jackson, Jaelyn and Jeb. He’d do anything for them, and they will always have fond memories of playing video games and sports with Jace, who also loved to go hunting and fishing. He also loved to coach his little brothers as they followed in their big brother’s footsteps on the diamond.
In 2015, Jace entered New Hampton High School and just before Christmas in his junior year, he transferred to Charles City High School.
Jace was a standout athlete and a great teammate, both as a Chickasaw and a Comet.
In New Hampton, he played on two Class 2A state playoff football teams, was part of the 2016-17 Class 2A state dual meet wrestling champions and was a contributor to New Hampton’s Northeast Iowa Conference championship baseball team in 2017. In Charles City, he was an all-district football player, wrestled and helped the Comets record their first back-to-back winning baseball seasons in seven years as an all-conference, power-hitting third baseman.
He hit his first varsity home run as a Comet, and he did it in New Hampton. Those Chickasaw-Comet games were always special for both Jace and his friends on both sides of the field.
Jace also was the kind of guy to liven up the sideline and keep everyone in the dugout loose. He’d crack a joke, his face would break out in that “Jace smile” and suddenly, the “butterflies” were gone for everyone on the team.
He loved playing with the Master Batters, a slow-pitch softball team that included both New Hampton and Charles City athletes, every year at Ionia Fun Days.
Jace graduated from Charles City in May 2019 and closed out his high school days that summer with another excellent baseball season that saw the Comets advance to the Class 3A substate game.
Jace never lost his zest for life. He was a natural athlete, and he was good at almost everything he tried. One night, he shot pool with his uncle, and they kept control of the table the entire night. He also had recently gotten into pickleball and he played with folks who were all much older than him.
That didn’t matter, however, because Jace, to put it succinctly, was a people person. He could literally talk to anyone — his younger siblings, his friends, his coaches, people whom he hardly knew. It didn’t really matter, because he’d win those people over with that Jace smile and personality that was larger than life.
Jace is gone much too soon. His loss leaves a horrible void for his parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, but boy oh boy, he gave all of them some great memories and stories to tell for years to come.
Jace is survived by his father, Casey (Sarah) Cajthaml of Charles City; his mother, Jamie Kellogg of New Hampton; step-father, Jereb Kellogg of Ionia; four brothers, Carter Cajthaml of Charles City, Jackson Kellogg of Ionia, Jeb Kellogg of Ionia, and Kinnick Cajthaml of Charles City; one sister, Jaelyn Kellogg of Ionia; grandparents, Ed (Lori) Cajthaml of Floyd, Mary Foth of Algona, David Foth of Algona, Bob Ballantine of Harpers Ferry, and Sharon Kellogg of Ionia; great-grandparents, Phyllis Ballantine of Stanhope, and Edna Foth of Algona; and girlfriend, Dayna Doucette of New Hampton.
He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Cindy Ballantine, and his grandfather, Bruce Kellogg.