Jeanette E. Bigelow, 93, of Waukon, IA, died Saturday, June 23, 2012, at Northgate Care Center in Waukon. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, June 26th, at 11:00 AM at St. John's Lutheran Church in Waukon, with Rev. Lynn G. Groe officiating. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery, Waukon. Friends may call from 4:00 - 7:00 PM Monday at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. John's Lutheran Church or the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa, P.O. Box 76, Decorah, IA, 52101.
Jeanette Edith Helms was born on January 25, 1919 in Marion, WI. She was the youngest of five children born to Herman Henry and Edith Emma (Riege) Helms. She was baptized March 16, 1919 at St. John's Lutheran Church, Marion, WI and confirmed there on March 20, 1932. Jeanette attended elementary school and graduated from Marion High School in 1937. She was active in many activities during high school especially speech, oratory and class plays. Jeanette was on the debate team, a class officer, a cheerleader and played the clarinet in the band for four years. She was chosen prom queen and at graduation received a scholarship to attend Whitewater State Teachers College. Family finances prevented her from furthering her education. After graduation, she came to Waukon to visit her sister Hazel Leschensky and decided to stay in Waukon. Jeanette worked at Schultz Variety store until 1941. It was in Waukon at that time she met her future husband. On May 17, 1941 she married Keith Edwin Bigelow at her parents home in Marion, WI. Following their marriage they moved to Stoughton, WI, where Keith was employed. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1942 they were blessed to have a daughter born named Kay Ellen.
WWII was declared and Keith entered the United States Army September of 1942. Jeanette and Kay moved home to Marion to live with her parents while Keith was gone during the war. Jeanette worked the night shift at the telephone company. Keith returned back to the United States in 1946 and when he was discharged from the service, they moved to Waukon. She was employed at the JC Penney store in Waukon for 12 years.
In 1969 Keith became Credit Manager at Lansing Company so they bought a home and moved to Lansing, IA. While in Lansing, Jeanette worked part-time at the Lansing department store. They were active members of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Lansing. When Keith retired, they moved back to Waukon in 1982. Keith passed away after a lengthy illness on August 11, 1992.
Jeanette was a active member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Waukon, where she served as an officer of her church circle for many years. In past years she was a member of VOV, PEO and VFW Auxiliary and many other organizations. She and Keith enjoyed many happy days fishing when they kept their boat at Harpers Ferry and on vacations in Northern Minnesota. Jeanette cared about all animals, especially their Irish Setters dogs and her cat. She had a wonderful since of humor and a quick wit. Jeanette would joke with her nurses and aides no matter how sick she felt. She was a devoted wife and mother and cherished the time spent with her family. Jeanette entered the SouthCrest Assisted Living facility in July of 2006. She continued to enjoy her friends and the social events held there. Jeanette especially enjoyed listening to live music. On November 25, 2009, she became a resident of Northgate Care Center due to declining health.
Survivors include her daughter, Kay Mentzer Sewick of Waukon; 2 grandsons, Jeff Mentzer of Asbury, IA and Mark (Sara) Mentzer of Marion, IA; 5 great-grandchildren, Samantha, Emily, Joshua, Nathan and Isabelle Mentzer. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews. Blessed be her memory among us. She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband Keith; 2 brothers, Harold and Stanley Helms; and 2 sisters, Adeline (Mrs. Earl) Redman and Hazel (Mrs. William) Leschensky.
Honorary casketbearers are Donna Griesbaum, William and Sandra Leschensky, Earl Redman, Jerry and Judy Redman, Wayne and Nona Sawyer. Casketbearers are Mark, Josh, Jeff and Samantha Mentzer, John Elliott and Ted Snitker.