Jeanette Stahlecker

Obituary of Jeanette R. Stahlecker

****We will be streaming the graveside service today Thursday, April 16, 2020 on our Love Funeral Home Facebook page. We start live streaming around 10:20 am.****** Jeanette was born on July 18th, 1933 to Myron Collins Smith and Ruth Mabel (Bowman) Smith. Her given name was Eloise Jeanette Ruth Smith, however for some reason, the Eloise name was never used, and she was referred to as Jeanette for her entire life. She grew up on the family farm about 13 miles North of Burlington, along with her older brother of 7 years, Kenneth. The family lived in a three-room sod house, and Jeanette and Kenneth attended the Happy Hollow School, which was about a three mile horse ride each way, from their house. Since Jeanette was very young, she often told the story of riding to school on a Shetlin pony. In October of 1940, at the age of 7, Jeanette was looking forward to coming home from school that day, as her mother had promised they could take some pictures after school. Upon returning home from school, Jeanette and Kenneth found their mother laying across the bed, unresponsive. They retrieved their Daddy from the farm, but their mother had passed away from an apparent heart attack. The day Jeanette's mother passed, she then was sent to live with her Daddy's brother, Edmond (OK) Smith and his wife Grace Smith, and their daughter, Dorene (Smith) Buol. Jeanette began to attend school in Burlington Colorado, where she eventually graduated in 1951. During her younger years in Burlington, she did some babysitting and she was also excited to travel with aunt Grace and uncle Ed to visit family members in states such as Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Tennesee and Florida. These were exciting adventures for a small town/farm girl, and provided for many wonderful stories for her to tell in her later years. She enjoyed her stay in Arizona so much, she even thought she might like to run a motel one day. Jeanette lived in Burlington during the school year, however she would spend the summers with her Daddy and Kenneth at the family farm. One of her primary sources of entertainment on the farm during those summers, were her many outdoor cats that she played with and cared for. She also enjoyed her brother's white rabbits, which he raised, and her Daddy's flower gardens. The flower garden was a sense of pride and accomplishment for her Daddy, and to Jeanette as well, as he had to manually haul water from the well, which was a good distance up the hill. Some of her favorite pictures were her Daddy posing next to his flower gardens. Her favorite flowers were the zinnias, which she would continue to grow in her adult years. In 1955, Jeanette became acquainted with Edgar Stahlecker of Bethune. Her brother Kenneth, had shown Edgar a picture of Jeanette, and Edgar called her up and asked her out on a date. They dated for approximately a year and-a-half, and often their weekly date would involve eating at a local cafe, and then going to a movie at the theater afterwards. On one occasion during this dating period, Jeanette was gone for an entire month of travels with her aunt and uncle. However, Jeanette and Edgar stayed connected, writing many letters back and forth during this trip. Edgar came to visit the very night that she made it back home to Burlington from this trip. On May 2nd, 1956, Jeanette and Edgar eloped to Raton, New Mexico. Which was a popular destination to get married, at the time. Afterwards, they settled on Edgar's family farm north of Bethune, right between Immanual Lurthern Church and Hope Congregational Church. Edgar farmed and Jeanette raised a garden and chickens. She sold eggs, milk and cream for many years to residents in Burlington. She used this extra money to purchase many household items the family was in need of, including braces for her son Kerry. Jeanette was also confirmed into Immanuel Lutheran Church, which was less than a mile South of the farm, and was a lifetime member. Jeanette and Edgar welcomed a son Kerry Dale in December 1957. Several years later, they began the adoption process of three month old daughter Deanna Marie, born April 1967. Edgar and Jeanette didn't inform many of their intensions of the adoption and people were quite surprised to just one day show up with a baby. The adoption became final in July 1968. Then welcomed a second "surprise" son James Gregory born in September 1969. All of Jeanette's childen went to school their entire lives, and graduated, from Bethune School. Her children were also raised, and confirmed, at Immanual Luthern Church of Bethune. Unfortunely in August 1976, Jeanette's husband Edgar was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, he passed away just before Christmas of 1976. This was a scary time for Jeanette - to raise a 7 and 9 year old as a single mother. However in later years, she would say this was actually a blessing, that the responsibility to raise two kids as a single mother gave her the strength to continue on After Edgar's passing, the family sold the family farm and moved to a house in Bethune. Jeanette began to work outside the home doing various jobs. She did some babysitting and was also a housekeeper at the Chaparrel Motor Inn for a time. Eventually, Jeanette found her way to a position of housekeeper at Kit Carson County Memorial Hospital, where she would eventually work for 25 plus years. She worked this job with a sense of pride and accomplishment, as she enjoyed her many co-workers over the years. She especially enjoyed getting to know the patients, and their families, of the many hospital rooms she cleaned over the years. In October of 1987, after Jeanette's youngest son James completed High School in Bethune, she moved to Burlington where she had contracted a new house to be built. She was able to choose the location, a floorplan and all the finishings. The house was less than one-block from the hospital, which made it ideal for her to walk to work. This newly contructed house was a great joy to Jeanette and she took great pride in it. She said on multiple occasions is was a dream come true. Jeanette also began to grow a good sized flower garden in the front yard, alongside the driveway. She received many wonderful comments over the years that she truly appreciated. A interesting fact about Jeanette is that at her 50th High School reunion she was voted the "least changed" by her classmates of 1951. She was very thin at that time and didn't have any grey hair at all. Even when she passed at the age of 86, she still had only partially grey hair, and she took great pride in that. In November 2004, at the age of 71, just before Thanksgiving, Jeanette was getting ready for work in the morning, when she suffered a stroke. Thankfully, when Jeanette didn't show up for work, her supervisor, Marie Eslinger, notified her daughter Deanna. Jeanette was then able to get prompt medical attention. Jeanette always told her family over the years that Marie had saved her life, as she would not have been able to get to a phone to call for help. Jeanette was rehabilitating from her stroke, when she fell and broke her hip. Unfortunately, she was unable to fully recover from this series of events, and was unable to walk after this. She spent her remaining years in a wheelchair. Jeanette resided at the Legacy Assisted Living Facility for all of 2005 and part of 2006. In July of 2006, she found her way to Grace Manor Care Center, where she lived for the nearly 14 remaining years of her life. While at Grace Manor, Jeanette continued her love of visiting with the other residents and guests over the years. She alway felt it was an honor to welcome a new resident to the facility and try to make their adjustment a little easier for them and their families. She enjoyed all the daily activities and hardly missed an event. While her brother Kenneth was alive, he visited her daily, to the point she said sometimes that he came so often that they would run out of things to talk about. But this was a blessing, because no-one was as dedicated to her as her brother Kenneth was. Many other residents were envious of their close relationship. In her later years she worked up the courage and ran for the position of "resident council president" and would lead meetings every other month with another resident leading the opposite month. She again took great pride in beings able to join and lead on these occasions. On March 31st, 2020, Jeanette started to run a fever and was tested for the Covid-19 virus the following day. On Friday April 3rd, the test results came back as positive for the Covid-19 virus Jeanette fought for her life, and at times it seemed she might win the battle. However, due to her age of 86, and a myriad of underlying health issue, she lost her fight late in the evening of Saturday April 11th, just hours before Easter morning. Jeanette is proceeded in death by husband Edgar John Stahlecker (1976), son Kerry Stahlecker (2012) and brother Kenneth Myron Smith (2016). She is survived by daughter Deanna and Bruce Harrison of Burlington, son James Stahlecker of Omaha, daughter-in-law Sandy Stahlecker of Burlington, grandchildren Dustin Stahlecker of Burlington, Nicole Hyre and husband Dane of Westminster CO, Landon Harrison of Houston TX, Sterling Harrison of Fort Collins CO, and great grandchildren Noelle, Dillon and Kaylee Hyre of Westminster CO. A private graveside service for Mrs. Stahlecker will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Cooties and may be left at or sent to Love Funeral Home, 377 15th Street, Burlington, Colorado 80807.
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