Janeen Seehase

Honored by:Paul Brasch
Brick location:C:21  map

By Kim Edward Adams

Janeen Seehase, 47, of Jesup, died of exposure after leaving the high school basketball game here Jan. 28.

Apparently attempting to walk the 2.5 miles home across open fields she reportedly succumbed to the elements.

Her body wasn't found until the following Tuesday morning by neighbor Gary Thoma, who was riding a snowmobile along the railroad tracks about a quarter mile from the Seehase home.

Richard Seehase had been searching for his wife since her disappearance Friday night.

It was 15 to 20 degrees above with wind chills close to zero Friday night

"Janeen loved being outside," said Richard. "Let's let everyone remember her for that and all her other values -- how she reached out and touched a lot of people."

She was an active member of the Black Hawk County Soil and Water Conservation Commission for eight years, and was chairwoman at the time of her death.

She was well known for her frequent walks out-of-doors, as well as for her artistic talents, her volunteerism and her caring, gentle, manner.

Last July, during the Jesup Farmers Day celebration she demonstrated paper making in the "Arts in the Park" exhibit.

She was active as a weaver in the Northeast Iowa Weavers and Spinners Guild and was a former textile instructor at Hawkeye Community College. A large metal sculpture which she created adorns the Seehase's rural Jesup yard.

And their unique octagonal home is "all Janeen, every wall, every inch" according to her husband.

Janeen was very well known in Jesup. She was a part-time librarian, a volunteer at the Jesup Community School, a 4-H leader for 11 years, active in the local garden club, the Rural Women's Study Club, the First United Methodist Church and the church choir.

She was involved with the Farm Bureau, and the Black Hawk County Extension Family Living Committee.

Janeen was not just a community and church volunteer.

She was a "fantastic" mother to her five children: Mark, Jay, Blair, Marta, and Joy.

 And a spouse ... who will be remembered as a best friend forever by her husband.

The Seehase family was recognized in 1991 as the "Family of the Year" by the Jesup Chamber of Commerce.

"When we moved here 18 years ago," Richard recalled in an interview Thursday, "we moved into God's country."

"The people of Jesup ..." he said, fighting back tears, "you don't always think of the little things around you, the friendships."

“But when a crisis happens, it all comes out."

The memorial service Saturday morning was moved to St. Athanasius Church from the Methodist Church to accommodate the crowds. Every available seat in the large Catholic church was occupied during the service.

Richard recalled how his wife had surmounted the afflictions of polio and other roadblocks in her life.

Maybe that's what gave her the strength" he said.

"Her hands reached out and touched a lot of people" Richard said. "That's how we need to remember her. She always had something to give."


In memory of Janeen Seehase

 It isn't until an event like death that a person learns how many lives one touches; how many churches, schools, work places, and communities.

Janeen was very active in many clubs, organizations and causes. We will miss her here in the library, especially in her working with the Children's Story Hour. She was so creative with ideas and crafts to show the children. One of the children mentioned recently that they really liked the teacher who dressed up like a baby for Halloween. Another child mentioned "You don't have to be sad. She's doing Story Hour up in heaven."

We'll deeply miss Janeen's influence and encouraging support in our endeavors toward the library. And we'll especially miss her special friendships to us, her co-workers.

Our sympathy and love are extended to the family of Janeen Seehase.


When I Must Leave You

When I must leave you for a little

Please do not grieve and shed wild

And hug your sorrow to you through the

But start out bravely with a gallant

And in my name live on and do all
things the same,

Feed not your loneliness on empty

 But, fill each waking hour in useful

Reach out your hand in comfort and
in cheer

And I in turn will comfort you and
hold you near;

And never, never be afraid to die,

For I am waiting for you in the sky!

-Author Unknown


Submitted on 9/19/94