Jean Marie Nessa Pemberton was born on March 27th, 1928 to Thomas Arthur and Lillie (Mickelson) Nessa. Jean had a younger brother, Robert, who she was very close to.
Jean attended grade school at a small, one-room school house a few miles from her home. In a journal of Jean’s, she wrote: “I remember several times my dad took us with horses pulling a bob-sled and also giving many neighbor children a ride. All the children liked my dad as he was patient and had a good sense of humor.”
Jean attended high school in Eagle Grove, Iowa, which was 8 miles from her hometown. During her freshman year, she stayed with her Aunt Ruth, Uncle John and Grandmother during the week and returned to her family on weekends. In high school, Jean sang in the girls choir and belonged to several clubs.
In describing her childhood, Jean recalled: “I lived on a farm near Thor, Iowa. We raised hogs, had usually about 8 cows, some calves, chickens and several horses. We also had a huge vegetable garden and orchard. My mother also raised many flowers. My main job was helping in the garden and helping with lawn mowing. I also helped feed the chickens and gathering the eggs. We had about 200 laying hens. The money we got for the eggs bought our groceries every week.” Jean also writes about fond memories playing with her cousins and visiting family and friends that lived nearby. “Everyone was welcome in our home. We most always invited someone to come home from church with us for Sunday Dinner.”
Jean attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. While there, Jean took a teachers training course to teach elementary education. She then taught 2nd grade in Bode, Iowa for 4 years. During her school breaks, Jean would travel with her friends to find additional work and adventure in new parts of the country.
In the summer of 1955, Jean went to Colorado to work at the Luck GJ Ranch in Gypsum. While there, she met Jack Pemberton. A few months later, Jean and Jack were married on September 2nd, 1955 at American Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, Colorado.
In 1956, Jean and Jack moved to Ames, Iowa where she worked in the Alumni office at Iowa State University. Three years later they moved to Silver Spring, Maryland and lived there 2 years. Their son John Robert was born while they lived there. Following those 2 years they moved back to Iowa and lived in Story City Iowa for over 30 years. When living in Story City, their daughter Jane Ellen was born. Later, Jean was employed at the Story City hospital for 11 years.
In 1989, Jean and Jack retired and then moved to Washburn, MO to fulfill a lifelong dream of farming. During this active retirement, Jean and Jack raised Gelbvieh Cattle. Jean played a big role in the farm operations and maintained a wonderful vegetable garden each year. Several of their grandchildren would spend weeks at a time with them at the farm, which was enjoyed by all. After 12 years of farming, Jean and Jack retired again to Cassville Mo.
During their time in Missouri, the Pembertons attended Holy Cross Lutheran Church. They also were active members with the Golden Harvest Retirement Group where they enjoyed many lunches and dinners with their fellow retired friends.
In 2012, Jean and Jack moved to Overland Park, KS and resided in Brookdale Senior Living. Jean made many friends at Brookdale and truly enjoyed her time getting to know her friends and exchange stories.
Throughout her life, Jean enjoyed gardening, being active her church community and spending time with family. She was an avid sports fan and didn’t miss any Iowa State Basketball, Football or Royals Baseball games on TV. Jean will be remembered for her patience, kind heart and gentle personality.
Jean passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on February 22nd, 2020. Jean was preceded in death by her husband Jack. Jean is survived by her son John (Michelle), daughter Jane (John), 3 Grandsons Tyler (Kate), Justin, and Thomas (Emily) and 2 granddaughters Emily (Tucker) and Sarah, 5 Great-Grandchildren: Lincoln, Declan, Jamison, Elle and Holden and many friends.
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