Jean Helen (Schaefer) Skilton of Seward, Nebraska was born August 5, 1927 to Edwin and Helen Schaefer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jean graduated from Pulaski High School and continued her education at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree with a concentration in cello and a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Public School Music. During her college years, Jean sang and toured with the St. Olaf College Choir under the direction of F. Melius Christiansen and his son, Olaf Christiansen. After graduating in 1949 Jean taught elementary music at Clarion, Iowa. Jean was appointed Parish Worker at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1952 where she directed the youth education program and did parish visitation.
On June 12, 1954, she was united in marriage to Wesley Skilton. They lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico while Wes served in the United States Army and their first daughter, Nancy, was born. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1957 where her daughters, Shelley and Bethany and son, Jon, were born. During the 32 years in Milwaukee, Jean taught cello in Milwaukee Public Schools and later, music at Platt Elementary School. Jean directed youth choirs in several Lutheran churches, sang in church choirs, and also played cello in several orchestras. Jean was active in the Lutheran Women’s’ Missionary League, serving in church offices and was also Christian Growth Chairman on the District level. She was also active in the Auxiliary of The Gideons International for more than 32 years. The couple retired to Seward, Nebraska in 1989.
Jean was known for her positive attitude, friendly demeanor and feisty sense of humor. “Grossy” (grosmutter) loved her family, her Lord Jesus and was marked by her interest in sewing, crafts and baseball (Brewers). She passed away on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in Seward, Nebraska at the age of 94 years. Jean is survived by her husband, Wesley Skilton; children, Nancy (Robert) Thacker, Shelley (Fredrick) Schluckebier, Bethany (Thomas) Danek, and Jon (Ann) Skilton; grandchildren, Erin Hays, Kim (Jeff) Frey, Stephanie (James) Harrison, Victoria Frey, Cody Skilton, Jacob Skilton, Brandon (Hailey) Skilton, Cassidie Skilton and Marissa Skilton and 11 great grandchildren; step grandchildren, Justin (Lindsey) Danek, Andrew (Jennifer) Danek, Chelsea Barton and eight step-great grandchildren. Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Helen Schaefer and brother, Jack Schaefer.
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