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Jeanette Emma Miller Gibson, 93, of Edgewood, Iowa, died on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at the Edgewood Convalescent Home in Edgewood. She was born on March 11, 1925, near Elkport in Clayton County to Mike and Alta May (Smock) Miller. She attended country school in Cass Township and graduated from Strawberry Point High School.
Jeanette married Emory Christensen in 1945, and together they had four children. The couple later divorced. In 1956, she married Melvin Miller. Three children were born to this union.
Jeanette was a group leader and dealer for Stanley Home Products for many years. She also worked at Operation New View as an outreach representative for 13 years. She retired from that position and relocated to Ledyard. She helped to establish and then worked for Iowa Lakes Community College’s Kossuth County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (R.S.V.P.) for three years. Jeanette received the Female Outstanding Senior Citizen Award in 1989 for her efforts on behalf of R.S.V.P.
Jeanette was a former member of the Pythian Sister’s Lodge in Manchester, the Legion Auxiliary, and the Modernettes Club in Ledyard. She was also named Senior Advocate for Kossuth County for several years and was elected to the Older Iowan Legislature, serving four years during the early 1990s. She chose to retire in 1991 after marrying Russell Gibson.
Later, Jeanette left retirement behind and went on to work at the Blue Earth Landscape & Greenhouse and Elmore Nursery making Christmas Wreaths, at Seneca Foods as a cook at their canteen in Blue Earth, Minnesota, and as a cook for Dan’s Ledyard Café. She retired for the last time at age 83 and lived in her own home until 2013 when she moved to Lincolnwood Assisted Living in Edgewood and to the Edgewood Convalescent Home in October 2017.
Jeanette enjoyed baking cookies for her children and grandchildren. She also stayed busy vegetable gardening and camping, and she loved to care for her flowers and plants and created a butterfly garden. In 2006, Jeanette published a family cookbook. All copies quickly made their way into the homes of friends, family, and neighbors.
Jeanette copyrighted “Grandma’s Lullaby” in 2006 — a song she wrote when one of her children was a baby. During her winters spent in Arizona, Jeanette realized a couple of her life’s ambitions by learning to paint on canvas and to play the organ. She won numerous ribbons at the Fairbault County Fair, including Grand Champion for her painting entitled “Mom’s Roses.” Copies of her paintings have been made and shared with her children and grandchildren. She also made “Violet,” a porcelain doll, to add to her existing doll collection. In 2015, she wrote a book entitled Things I Remember for her family, which highlights her memories from childhood. Even with so many accomplishments in life, she still felt that her greatest accomplishment was her family.
Jeanette is survived by her seven children, Connie Hilsenbeck of Davenport, Nancy (Jim) Vavricka of Cedar Rapids, Jimmy (Joyce) Christensen of Elk Run Heights, Karen Lee of Perry, and Merri Bohnenkamp, Mike Miller, and Jeff Miller, all of Manchester; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; and one sister, Verla Schultz of Edgewood.
Jeanette was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Russell Gibson; three sisters, Shirley Ann “Pat” Galloway, Helen Downey, and LaVaune Feulner; two brothers, Homer Miller and Mike Miller, Jr.
The family requests memorials in lieu of flowers.