Mary Jean Kristiansen, 91

Mary Jean Kristiansen, of Nashua, age 91, passed away on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, Waverly after a long battle with cancer.

Friends may greet the family from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory - Olson Chapel in Nashua. Services for family and close friends will be held at 1 p.m. with burial at Greenwood Cemetery, Nashua.

Jean was born on October 8, 1927, at the Bethesda Lying-in Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, the eldest daughter of Clarence and Nellie Bennor. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Leonard Kristiansen, in 2010.

Jean attended early school in Ohio at several different school districts. In 1936, the family moved by train to Nashua, Iowa, where they settled on her father’s family farm, north of Nashua. Jean went to country school at the Maple Grove School, the same school her father had attended and where she would later take her first teaching job. In 1938, a sister, Carol Anne, joined the family.

Jean graduated 8th grade at Maple Grove and then attended high school at Nashua. She was a member of the Normal Training Class, a preparatory program for teachers during the 1940s. In 1945 at age 17, she graduated high school and obtained a temporary teaching certificate and was hired as Maple Grove’s teacher for the fall of 1945. In October when she turned 18, she was granted her permanent teaching certificate. Jean taught at Maple Grove School, Chickasaw #2 from 1945 to 1949, then from 1949 to 1953 at the Manning School, Deerfield #9. Jean was one of the last remaining country school teachers in the area.

On October 10, 1953, Jean married Leonard Kristiansen, also of rural Nashua. They married at The Little Brown Church, Nashua and enjoyed 57 years together. After their marriage, they made their home west of Nashua, where Leonard farmed until 1968. They then purchased Jean’s family farm, built a new home and farmed together until retirement.

Jean is survived by her two daughters Laurie Kristiansen of Nashua (Keith Westergard), Sara (Dale) Jansen of Cedar Falls, one granddaughter, Jeanne Edson, and her fiance, Jacob Geer, both of Des Moines, her sister, Carol Anne Fisher of Plymouth, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Edna (Dr. James) Johnson of Iowa City and numerous nieces and nephews.

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