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MAE JEAN OEHLERTS was born on May 13, 1927 to Okke and Jane (Rose) Boomgaarden on the family farm southwest of Ellsworth, Minnesota. She was baptized and confirmed at Ellsworth Presbyterian Church. She graduated from Ellsworth High School in May of 1945 and that summer attended Mankato State College in Mankato, Minnesota as part of the accelerated program. She crammed four years into two by going every summer. She wanted to get done and get to work. Jean graduated from college in 1947 with a degree in Elementary Education. Her first teaching position was in Round Lake, Minnesota for the year 1946-1947. Later she taught in Heron Lake, Worthington, and Ellsworth, all in Minnesota. On December 22, 1954 Jean was united in marriage to Walter Hans Oehlerts at Zion Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth. They farmed one-year northeast of Hardwick, Minnesota and in 1956 moved to Ellsworth where Walter became owner and operator of his welding shop. Their daughter Sara Jane was born July 6, 1972. Walter passed away on December 1, 1988. Jean spent most of her years teaching second grade in Luverne, Minnesota, of which one year she was named Teacher of the Year. She retired in 1982 after 36 years of teaching. After retirement, she spent many years substitute teaching in Luverne, Ellsworth, and Adrian.
On December 17, 2020, Jean passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, at her home in Canton, South Dakota at the age of 93 years, seven months, and four days. Her funeral service will take place at Zion Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth where she was married 66 years earlier to the day, December 22.
Jean spent most of her life in Ellsworth. Her father and brothers did a lot of threshing with their steam engines, so she was around that her entire life as her brothers continued to thresh for family reunions. Even after they were gone her nephews continued with threshing. Music was a large part of her family. Her brothers and then nephews had bands to which she went to many of their dances. Even at family reunions they would all play, and to just sit around and listen to them play made her very happy and proud.
Jean was a long-time member and involved in circle and helped teach Bible School for several years at Bethany Lutheran Church in Luverne. She later became a member of Redeemer Free Lutheran Church in Canton, South Dakota. Jean was also a member for many years of Delta Kappa Gamma and the Minnesota Education Association. She was on a bowling league in Ellsworth for several years. Jean and Walter spent numerous years dancing the Waltz and the Polka at area dances. She loved to watch Lawrence Welk, Wheel of Fortune, Fox News, and Little House on the Prairie. She loved a good discussion on politics!
Jean was very devoted to all family members providing help whatever the need might be. Family was everything to her! They were her greatest enjoyment. Having a clean house was a must for her. She loved to clean and work outside. Jean attended as many activities as she could to watch her grandchildren. In her last years when it became difficult to travel, she watched videotaped recordings of their programs or sporting events.
Jean is lovingly remembered by her daughter, Sara (Trevor) Lease of Canton; two grandsons, Brock and Jesse; three granddaughters, Tera, Amanda, and Gwendolyne; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter; parents, Okke and Jane; brothers, Jake, Benny, George, and Okke Boomgaarden; and sisters, Amanda Randolph and Mabel Troxel.