Nick Vetecnik took his final breath of life on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at the age of 15 years, 6 months and 24 days. His life was very short, but he experienced much more than anyone his age is expected to experience. He was born 2 November 2005 in Salt Lake City to Stephanie Ingham Van Treese and Ivan (Sly) Vetecnik.
The first week of his life he was jaundiced and quite fragile. During his first month, he spent a week in the hospital for respiratory RSV. After conquering those small obstacles, he grew and was a very happy baby. He had a cousin, Rachel who was exactly 6 months and a day older than him, so she tried to show him “how” to crawl and walk and talk.
Nick attended school at Plymouth Elementary in Taylorsville. He loved to make people laugh and wanted his friends to feel good about themselves. He lived between his Dad’s home and his Mom’s home. You could say he got the best of both worlds. From the moment he came home from the hospital, he became his Aunt Kerri’s “Loverboy”. She and Kortney (his cousin) treated him like he belonged to them. Kortney said “he’s my little brother”. This seemed to set the stage for what would come in the too near future.
On March 23, 2019, Nick’s mother, Stephanie passed away from colon cancer. He was 13 years old and about 5'3" tall. He and his Mom were extremely close and devoted to each other. When she got sick, she made us promise to take good care of Nick and see to it that he would learn the same principles that she had been taught when she was growing up. She always taught him to be kind to others and be generous whenever the opportunity came to him. She knew he would take her death hard and it tore her up to think she wouldn’t be there for him, to help him and guide him in his teenage years. Soon after her death, Nick went to live with his Dad, Sly and Grandfather, Ivan Vetecnik, Sr and an uncle, David Vetecnik, with frequent visits to his Grandparents (Ingham) and Aunt Kerri & Kortney. Thirteen months after his mother’s death, his Uncle David passed away. Two deaths so close to him really broke his heart. He was close with his Uncle and he was taught to play the guitar by him and his other Uncle Pete Vetecnik.
Nick’s nature was to be sweet and happy. He had a good sense of humor and loved to joke around. He loved to tease his Grandpa Bill and enjoyed calling him “Nerd”! All of this time Nick was growing like a weed, getting taller and taller. Halloween was his favorite holiday. He loved to dress up like a clown (it looked kinda evil) on Halloween and took a chair out to the corner of the street. He sat there with a sign on it that said “Free Hugs”. It freaked out some of the little kids (and some parents), so when he realized they were scared, he’d pull of the mask and share that big bright grin with them, then they were more than willing to get that “Free Hug”. He got a ton of candy by trick or treating and then he shared and gave it back to others who were trick or treating but didn’t have as much as him. It made him feel good he said.
Nick attended Eisenhower Junior High and for 6 months he attended Bennion Junior High, then back to Eisenhower. During this past year he did school online through Eisenhower. He was a 9th Grader. Nick’s dad’s health was spiraling this past year and on December 9th, he passed away from a heart attack. That was 3 deaths of close family members within 1 year, 8 months. He felt lost at times and really struggled with the loss of his loved ones, but he was reassured by all of us that he would see them again and that they still loved him. On December 9th, his sweet Aunt Kerri became his legal guardian. He had known her from day one so the transition seemed very natural for him. They all continued to live at Grandpa & Grandma Ingham’s home and they all tried to help him through the grieving process for his Mom, Uncle and Dad. There were times when he just had to get out and walk. Most of these walks would take him to the Church parking lot. There he would call his Aunt Julie just to talk about what was bothering him, what made him happy and what made him sad. She was his “councilor therapist” when he needed one. The reason he would go to the parking lot and meditate and talk to Julie and perhaps some of his friends, was that this was the last place he saw his mom’s face and held her hand before her funeral.
Nick shared a common bond with his cousin, Ryan. Many times Ryan would get a call in the middle of the night or day to come take Nick for a ride or just to talk. Ryan was his best friend, confidant, advisor, cousin, his “Go-To” person and brother. He knew he could trust Ryan and they loved being around each other and shared a lot of memories and experiences.
He, Ryan and William (Julie’s son) were called the “Three Amigo’s” and often they would spend all night connected online and gaming for hours. That was their way of spending time together even though they were in different cities.
Every holiday was spent together with family. Everyone who could come would be at his Grandparent’s home and they all especially looked forward to his Aunt Lori’s wonderful cooking. All of his cousins played an interactive part in Nick’s life. They were all very close and he used social media to connect with them.
School became very difficult for Nick to concentrate on after his dad’s death last year. By that time he’d grown a foot taller since his mom’s passing. His Grandfather Ivan (Tata) saw to it that he got to go visit his Aunt Julie in Washington in January and then as a surprise, Tata took him to Sherman, Texas on May 20th to visit his Uncle Pete and sister, Samantha. It was a quick trip, but a great one that meant a lot to him to see his uncle, his cousins and visit with family members. He got home late Sunday night, May 23rd and was really happy and upbeat. He seemed happier because he got to go see family. He and Tata had a very special relationship. Tata would often surprise him with a tray of Sushi, took him swimming and they had many outings to Crystal Hot Springs.
He wanted to get a job for the summer and Kerri planned on talking to a friend of hers at 5 o’clock on Wednesday to see about him being hired, but unfortunately that didn’t happen because at 4:30 Kerri was called home for an emergency concerning Nick. It was about 7:30 before it was confirmed that Nick was no longer with us. His plans, his hopes, his dreams were taken from him and his life was ended too soon. He didn’t get a chance to experience so many things in life that could have brought him happiness. His brother, Jason who lives in Texas, had promised him that Nick would have everything he needed for Junior Prom or any other high school event he wanted to attend. His brother and sister, Jason and Samantha were very protective of their baby brother.
Our families the ( Ingham’s, Vetecnik’s, Van Treese’s) all mourn the loss of our dear Grandson, brother, nephew, cousin and friend. He is always in our hearts, in our fondest and saddest memories and will be with us till we meet him again as well as his family in Heaven. May God bless all of you who have reached out to us in our grief and pain at this time. You have been so kind and generous and we realize we have many wonderful, kind hearted loving people whom we can call our friends.
Nick was preceeded in death by his parents, Ivan Sly Vetecnik and Stephanie Ingham Van Treese, his uncle David Vetecnik and his uncle Rob Ingham.
He is survived by his sister, Samantha Van Treese, Oklahoma; Jason “Dude” Van Treese, Texas; Grandfather, Ivan Vetecnik, Taylorsville; Grandmother Eliska Vetecnik, Boise, ID; Uncle Peter Vetecnik (Lisa) and their family, Texas: Grandparents, William (Bill) and Christie Ingham, Taylorsville; Aunts, Julie I. Christiansen (David) and their 3 children of Washington; Lori Ingham and her 4 children, West Jordan; and his Special Aunt/Guardian Kerri M Ingham and his sister/cousin, Kortney, Taylorsville.
A Funeral Service will be held Friday, June 4th at 12 pm (noon) at the Bennion East Stake Building, 5980 South, 1300 West; Taylorsville, UT. Friends may pay their respects prior to the service at 11:00 AM in the Relief Society Room. Burial will follow at 2:00 PM at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park located at 3440 South Highland Drive; Salt Lake City, UT.
Thank you to all who have been so generous with their donations and all of those who have held special candlelight vigils in his honor.
“COBRA KAI NEVER DIES’
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