Obit: Anderson, Jean G. (1930 - 2019)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Anderson, Lewis, Hagen, Radke
----Source: Banner Journal (Black River Falls, Jackson Co., WI) 1/30/2019
Anderson, Jean G .(15 June 1930 – 23 January 2019)
Jean G. Anderson passed away Jan. 23, 2019 while residing at Country Terrace Assisted Living. She was the second child born to Alvin (Mike) Hagen and Gertrude Lewis Hagen. Jean was born June 15, 1930 at her grandparents’ home in Independence. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Black River Falls where Jean grew up on the East Side and was always fond of reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ on Oak Street.
She graduated from Black River Falls High School in 1948. She also served as the 1948 class correspondent. She then attended Wisconsin State College in La Crosse. She returned to Black River Falls and spent the next three years working at Schulz Brother’s dime store.
Jean married Harland Anderson on December 15, 1951. Jean & Harley grew up only a half a block apart but with Harley being five years older they didn’t really get acquainted until after WWII. They were the first couple to be married at the new Lutheran Church in Black River Falls. They moved to Camp Douglas in 1952 for Harley’s job as a signal maintainer with the Chicago & Northwestern railroad. With her father and brother also employed by the C&NW, Jean was a true train enthusiast in every sense of the word, a trait she passed on to her son. Their son Matt was born in Mauston, on June 16, 1953.
In May of 1957 they moved to Merrillan when Harley become the head maintainer for the railroad there. Jean was active in a wide variety of community and county organizations. She served on the Village Board and as a poll worker for elections. In 1961 she took over the job for the village of being the caretaker for the cemetery and village park, a job she worked at proudly for nearly 40 years. Memorial Day was always the high point on her calendar. In 1963 she took over the other job that was a big part of her life being the area news correspondent for several area newspapers.
She was an active journalist for the Banner Journal, Clark County Press, Melrose Chronicle, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, La Crosse Tribune, Winona Daily News, and had several articles published in the Wisconsin edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She could often be seen riding her 1940’s era bicycle and had a Kodak Brownie camera with her looking for a story to write. The Kodak was soon replaced with a more professional Japanese camera and in 1970 she prevailed upon Harley to build her a darkroom in the basement so she could develop her own pictures which paid her $2 apiece and sent them in with her stories on the always hectic Monday-the news deadline day. One of her biggest sources of news was the weekly goings on at the Alma Center Lincoln school district. She was an avid historian of Jackson County villages and the city of Black River Falls and was a longtime member of the Jackson County Historical Society.
Jean researched genealogy for numerous individuals and families in both the United States and Norway. She was a major contributor to numerous local historical publications. Her proudest work was helping to write the Merrillan Centennial book in 1970. Jean finally gave up writing and the cemetery due to Harley’s declining health and he passed away on December 3, 2002.
Always remembering the deprivation of growing up in the Great Depression Jean knew the value of saving and in later years became a wise investor along with helping others get their own ‘nest egg’ started. A peculiar personality trait she had was not wanting to adapt to change. A favorite saying, she always used when confronted by new technology was ‘Well we didn’t have that in my day!’
She was active in the Methodist Church in Merrillan where she served as the treasurer for many years and later in the Black River Methodist Church where she was an active and dedicated member of the choir. She always enjoyed getting together with family and helped organized the annual Lewis family reunions that were held in her mother’s spacious back yard.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Husband Harland, brother Gerald Hagen and sister Shirley Radke.
She is survived by her son Matt and his wife Marcia of Merrillan, and her brother Richard (Dick) Hagen of Madison and numerous nieces and nephews.
We also want to thank all the wonderful people that cared for Jean at Country Terrace Assisted Living and St Croix Hospice.
Torgerson’s Funeral Home, Black River Falls is assisting the family with arrangements.
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