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Jeanette Clonkey 01/19/2024

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.


Click here to watch the recording of Jeanette’s service


  • Sandy Sievert Posted January 20, 2024 7:20 pm

    Oh Jeanette, you are and will be so missed! All the memories will keep me smiling. You are a treasured memory. My deepest b sympathy to Kenn, Betsy, and Stephen. With love and prayers!

  • Ann Williams Posted January 21, 2024 8:01 am

    My sincere sympathy to you Kenn. Stephen and Betsy. May the peace of God be with you .I will miss my cousin and will cherish the many memories we shared..My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Carolyn Sjostrand Hayes Posted January 21, 2024 3:38 pm

    We are so sorry to hear of Jeanette’s passing. Our sincere sympathy Kenn and family. Jeanette was such a loving and special lady in many ways. I remember our fun times together at Jehovah in Ladies Aid and working at the church fair stand. She will be missed by many. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Carolyn & Woody Hayes

  • Sharon Blatz Posted January 22, 2024 12:17 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with during this difficult time for Kenn, Betsy and Stephen. Jeanette and i were cousins.

  • Ginny Holmes Posted January 23, 2024 12:34 pm

    How fondly we remember Jeanette, sharing seven! mission trips serving with us at Groundwork Guatemala. Our staff of Guatemalans was just talking about her last week as they saw her picture on our wall of sponsors and friends, and I’m sure they will be saddened to hear of her passing. But we celebrate her life and give thanks for her saving faith that touched so many lives through the years. God’s peace and comfort surround you as you walk this time of mourning. Sending our love from Kevin, Ginny, and all of Jeanette’s GG friends.

  • Dick Newman Posted January 23, 2024 2:59 pm

    May the lord bless you and keep you. Will miss our times together at Christmas and 4th of July… say hi to Karon and Doris
    To the rest of the family…Gods peace and blessings.

  • Jason & Annie Rohda Posted January 24, 2024 8:27 am

    Although I never met Jeanette, I can gather just from her obituary that she was an amazing & loving lady “adventurous too”! My prayers go up to you Miss Clonkey and family. I’m praying for God’s peace and comfort, it’s wonderful to know that Jeanette is in the presence of God now, all her hard work here on earth has given her, her reward! We will continue to keep you all in our prayers as we know your mother/wife will be greatly missed until you meet again. God bless you richly and comfort you all the days ahead! Love, Annie Rohda & Family.

  • Liz and Dan Bruch Posted January 24, 2024 3:04 pm

    Dear Kenn, Betsy, and Stephen,
    And so the number of saints above is increased by one, leaving behind an empty space that will never be filled except through the gift of memory. We celebrate with you your beloved wife and mother’s life and the many lives he touched.

    May you miss her deeply, forgive her often, and always claim the best of her in you. Our sympathies, thoughts, and prayers remain with you in your grief even as you reflect on the promises of God to provide a reunion in heaven.

    Blessings, peace, and hope,
    Liz and Dan Bruch

  • Darlene Newman Posted January 25, 2024 9:17 pm

    Dear Kenn, Betsy, & Stephen, I will really miss Jeanette especially working at the Jehovah Church stand at the State Fair, many visits to Cedar Lake & of course we can’t forget the “wonder” medicine “camphor & alcohol” !! Peace,comfort, & may God be with you all. Love you

  • Lynda Pauling Posted January 26, 2024 4:01 pm

    Kenn, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I worked with you a million years ago at State Farm and you got to know my mother through her work at the bank. I was surprised to see that you actually ended up settling in my home town of New Richmond. My thoughts are with you and your family. Lynda

  • KARIN STRICKER Posted April 29, 2024 5:19 pm

    Hi Kenn, sorry for the late response, I just heard about the passing of Jeanette recently when I talked to Marcia Beaulieu. I am so sorry for the loss, I had always a good time in her company. Take care and all the best.

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