Services to celebrate Elaine Jantzen’s life, 91, who entered eternal life March 31 at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro, will be announced at a later date.
She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. Elaine had a quiet, steady spirituality that drew people to her, and lived a unique life for a woman of her generation.
She was born August 31, 1928, on a diversified farm in rural Moundridge, to Paul and Lydia (Kaufman) Goering.
As a young girl she enjoyed playing in the hayloft of the large family barn, reading, and showed an early aptitude for playing piano. In May 1944, she was baptized at Eden Mennonite Church.
Elaine graduated from Bethel Academy in 1946 and later from Bethel College in North Newton in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. In college she enjoyed participating in choir and various clubs.
Following graduation, she spent the summer on a student tour of Europe, which included a four-week stint building houses for war refugees.
Following her travels, she worked in Bethel College President’s Office, before marrying Paul Jantzen in 1951 at Eden Mennonite Church. In 1953 they moved to Radium so that Paul could teach biology while Elaine found work at Larned State Hospital in the steno pool.
Hillsboro became their forever home in 1958 when Paul was hired as the high school biology teacher and Elaine worked for superintendent Kliewer.
As they were settling into their new community, they started to pursue adoption as a way to build their family. In 1961 Lisa joined the family, followed by Kristine in 1964.
Elaine was a stay-at-home mom supporting her girls as they pursued their interests and activities. At the same time, she was very active in the community. In the 1970s she served two terms on the Hillsboro Public Library Board and in 1977 became assistant librarian under her good friend Delila Deckert.
Working at the library, she was able to share her love of reading with others. On days when new books would arrive at the library Elaine would often bring books home and read them cover to cover before returning them to work the next day. She also shared her love of reading with her grandchildren, often spending time reading to them and making sure that every birthday and Christmas gift included a special book.
Elaine was also involved with the Marion County domestic violence organization, study clubs and the Marion County Democratic Party.
Paul and Elaine joined First Mennonite Church shortly after arriving in Hillsboro. Elaine maintained her membership at the church for more than 60 years, until the time of her death. Elaine served on many committees at church, sang in the church choir and was also the first woman to be elected to serve as a church deacon, in 1979. She went on to serve as a deacon several times after her initial term.
She was a member of the JOI Trio serving as the group’s accompanist for 10 years.
Elaine became a breast cancer survivor in 1989 and from that experience she served for 10 years on the Relay for Life Committee in Marion County through the American Cancer Society.
Elaine appreciated Paul’s concern for what she considered to be important things in life. They shared and supported many common causes and activism around environmental, social, and political issues.
Above all, Elaine valued the beautiful life and family that she and Paul had built in their 67 years together. Elaine was excited to bring children into their family through adoption, and years later loved being involved in the everyday lives and activities of her Kansas grandchildren, Ashley and Andrew; and later enjoyed spending weeks in Texas and summer visits with Madi and Jacob.
After retirement Elaine enjoyed having coffee with friends, scrabble games and crossword puzzles. She continued to enjoy playing the piano, music events and time with family and longtime friends and attending senior center events.
Elaine is preceded in death by husband Paul Jantzen, son-in-law Lars Meyerson, and brother Lowell Goering.
She is survived by daughter Lisa (Tim) Donahue of Lincolnville; granddaughter Ashley (Robert) Olmstead of Goddard; grandson Andrew (Krista) Donahue, great-granddaughter Nessa Donahue of Lincolnville; daughter Kristine Meyerson; grandchildren Madison Elaine and Jacob Meyerson of Kemah Texas; brother Verne (Ruth) Goering; sister-in-law Judy Goering; sister-in-law Helen Ruth Unruh; brother-in-law Carl (Anne) Jantzen, nieces and nephews.
Memorials to KIPCOR (Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution) or Hillsboro Public Library in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com