Jane Fennema

Obituary of Jane Fennema

Jane Crumpacker Fennema, 102, died on Wednesday, August 12th, in her sleep.  Jane was a dedicated supporter of the Monroe community.  She had business opportunities few women of her era experienced.

Jane attended Simpson College earning an elementary education teacher’s certificate.  Her entrepreneurial passion pulled her to return to work with her father, J. R. Crumpacker at Crumpacker Furniture and Funeral Home. As J. R.’s head buyer, Jane had the opportunity to travel bi-annualy to the Chicago Furniture Market.  In the 1940’s, she was the only woman in a group of representatives from furniture stores that toured Mohawk Carpet Mills in New York.

Jane and Carl were married in her father’s home in August of 1953.  Their plans to marry at the Monroe Methodist Church went up in flames in April of 1953.  Jane and Carl began their life together east of town on the Fennema family farm.  In 1959, they purchased the grocery store at the corner of Washington and Commerce St, where Monroe State Bank / Leighton State Bank currently does business.  In 1963, Carl and Jane built a new store on Highway 14, the current location of Monroe Foods, owned by Pete and Priscilla Peterson.  In addition to the typical grocery items, their business included a catering business, carpet, and window treatments.  

Jane is survived by her daughter, Karla Talbot, a resident of Elmhurst, Illinois.  Jane adored her only grandson, Mark.  She was a regular reading volunteer at Mark’s grade school. She enjoyed watching him compete in youth sports and earn All-State Honors in track.  Jane was preceded in death by her husband, Carl (1915-1990), mother, Edith Hummel Crumpacker (1889-1987), father J.R. Crumpacker (1890-1972) and her sister Marvel Crumpacker Van Ginkel (1919-2007).

Her life was enhanced by a special relationship with her neighbors.  She had a watchful eye for the children of John and Kay VanRyswyk.  The family of Brian and Wendy Johnson enriched her life.

Jane will be remembered by her passion for cooking.  Many of you enjoyed her pies at the Kiwanis Old Settler’s stand, luncheons, or wedding receptions. She touched many lives in the community with catered parties. Do you remember the annual summer community supper in the parking lot at the grocery store?

Jane generously donated her time to a variety of community and philanthropic organizations. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta, PEO Sisterhood, Today’s Club, Women’s Club, Order of the Eastern Star and the Monroe Methodist Church Women’s group.  She and Carl were active participants in the Fairview Township and Jasper County Republic Party.

Memorials may be made in Jane’s name to the Monroe United Methodist Church, Friends of the Monroe Public Library or a Monroe charity of your choice. Jane was proud of her Monroe heritage and would be honored with donations to local organizations.

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