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Jean Petsche

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Jean (Freshwaters) Petsche, 63, of Colona, Ill., passed away on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, at the University of Iowa Hospital. A memorial service celebrating Jean’s life will be held on Nov. 5, at 5 p.m., at First Methodist Church in Geneseo, Ill. Reverend Dr. Chris Ritter will officiate. Visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. prior to the memorial service. Memorials can be directed to Little Green Apple or pro-life Organizations. Condolences can be left at www.vandemorefuneralhome.com.

 

Jean was born in Iowa City on June 23, 1960, to Jim and Shirley (Stevens) Freshwaters. She grew up in Waterloo, where she graduated from West High School. At the University of Iowa, she earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences, and a master’s degree in speech language pathology. 

 

On June 23, 1990, Jean married the love of her life, Albert Petsche, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Waterloo. They were blessed with two beloved sons, Alex and Ryan. Family fun included ski trips, camping, biking, kayaking, snowmobiling and annual trips to the summer cabin. 

 

As a child, Jean was active in Girl Scouts and swim team. She enjoyed church and high school choir practice but did not enjoy performing before audiences! Jean grudgingly joined the Pompom girls at best friend Vickie (Vaughn) Fitzsimmons’ urging, but she gladly went on a Boundary Waters canoe trip with Vickie and friends. Family trips were a big part of her childhood, especially ski trips, camping and summers at the cabin where she learned sailing and water-skiing. Jean also enjoyed skating on their home-made back yard ice rink. 

 

In addition to outdoor sports, Jean had a life-long love of reading and enjoyed attending Bible studies and book clubs. She also had a passion for researching her family’s ancestry. Jean was a member of Iowa PEO chapters LO and OH and Geneseo School District PTA. She formerly served as secretary for the Iowa Speech Language and Hearing Association. Jean worked for 17 years as a school speech language pathologist before quitting to stay home with her sons. She fully intended to go back to SLP work, but instead chose to be a preschool teacher at Little Green Apple Preschool in Geneseo. This ended up being her favorite job by far, and she cherished each and every child that she came to know.

 

Working with children was always an important part of Jean's life. She volunteered as a leader for Cub Scout Pack 136 and Boy Scout Troop 131, which involved weekly meetings, weekend campouts and week-long summer camps. She was a Sunday School teacher and helped with many other children’s ministries at church. Her love of working with children started with babysitting and later becoming a camp counselor at Bortell’s Bar Rockin’ B Ranch in St. Charles.

 

Jean’s faith was an integral part of her life. She was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in both Waterloo and Des Moines, and has been a member of First Methodist Church in Geneseo, Ill., since 1999.

 

Those left to cherish her memory are her loving husband, Albert Petsche of Colona; sons, Alex (Shelby) Petsche of Burlington and Ryan Petsche of Iowa City; mother, Shirley Freshwaters of Minnetonka, Minn.; sister, Jill Freshwaters of Minnetonka, Minn.; brother, John (Jody) Freshwaters of California; in-laws, Evelyn Petsche, Leonard Petsche, Julie (Jack) Hensley and Carl (Beth) Petsche;nieces/nephews, Allison (Sam) Bahr, Kirsten (Clark) Elliott, Matthew (Annelise) Freshwaters, Adam (Becca) Hensley and Ben Hensley; three grandnieces; one future grandson; uncles, Jack (Carole) Stevens and John (Patti) Freshwaters; and beloved cousins, Robertsons, Stevens and Freshwaters.

 

Jean was preceded in death by her father, Jim Freshwaters; brother, Jamie, age 12; as well as beloved aunt, Jean Robertson, and uncle, Rob Robertson.

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