Jeanette Marie Clonkey was born to Francis (Bud) and Ellen Friesen in St. Paul, MN on April 18, 1943.
Jeanette was proud to be a first generation American, and proud as well of her Swedish heritage. Christmas and other traditions of her mother’s homeland were a large part of her life.
Jeanette was proud to be a Christian. She was baptized at and attended Jehovah Lutheran Church in St. Paul where she was confirmed and married. She attended Central Lutheran School in St. Paul from the time it first opened. After high school at Murray High in St. Paul, she trained at St. John’s Lutheran in Winfield, KS to serve the Lord as a Parish Worker. Her first call was to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Seward, NE where she served until her father passed away. She then served at Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Concordia College in St. Paul, and Jehovah Lutheran where she assisted with the youth group, and managed the congregation’s booth at the Minnesota State Fair for 21 years.
She then moved back to serve at Concordia College where she became involved in their adult learning program. She enrolled in this program herself to earn her bachelor’s degree, and then went on to earn a master’s degree from Hamline University and eventually began teaching classes at Concordia. Even after retirement she continued to teach an online course in college writing for Concordia. After joining St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in New Richmond Wisconsin she served in the bell choir, various church organizations, a quilting group, and joined several mission groups from the congregation to Groundwork Guatemala. She held that mission close to her heart, sponsoring students and missionaries over the years. The family asks that any memorials be directed to Groundwork Guatemala.
Jeanette was proud to be a wife and mother. In 1972, after knowing each other most of their lives from Sunday and Christian day school, Jeanette married Kenn Clonkey. They had a daughter Elizabeth (Betsy) and son Stephen. Jeanette and family were avid travelers, taking vacations to many interesting and historic places (especially if they were near water). She made it a goal to travel to all 50 states, and made Alaska her 50th, and then she began on the countries of the world.
Jeanette had a passion for animals as well. If it was furry and she could pet it, she would, and most often have a conversation with it as well. She stated that if she could live her life over again she would be a veterinarian and raise big dogs.
Jeanette had a way with words which led her to be a great writing teacher, and kept the rest of us on our toes. She would happily tell you when to use peak, peek or pique appropriately. She could find the perfect synonym for any situation, and she loved to have fun with language whether it be writing the annual Christmas letter, howling with laughter at the visual images that would come with errant language, or explaining to a complete stranger that canolas are a furry brown animal that you squeeze over a special apron to get canola oil.
A Celebration of Jeanette’s Life was held on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 11 am at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church 365 W River Drive New Richmond, WI and streamed live through the link just below this obituary. Visitation was also on Saturday, January 27, 2024 from 10-11 am at the church. A reception followed the service in the church fellowship hall. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.