Jeanne (Flaspeter) Skierka, 91, passed away on July 15, 2016 in Lewistown, MT, with family by her side. She was born on February 5, 1925, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Theo and Julia (Beste) Flaspeter, the third of eight children. She grew up on the family farm, receiving her schooling in White Bear Lake, MN. She worked hard at an early age, helping to weed and hoe acres of vegetables that her parents raised on their “truck farm,” often traveling with her father to take the produce to the huge open air markets in St. Paul. Jeanne got her first paying job in the 4th grade, picking chickens at a neighbor’s chicken farm for $0.03 a bird. She later worked at Liggett’s Drug in Minneapolis, starting at cleaning, then working her way up to soda jerk and then head cook. She also worked in the paint lab at Minnesota Mining, but the job she was proudest of, and enjoyed the most, was as parts dispatch clerk at the Burlington Railroad headquarters in Minneapolis, where she checked out parts to the mechanics who worked on the huge steam engines. Her love of trains never ended!
In the fall of 1947, she took the train to Chester, MT, to visit her cousin, whose husband farmed south of town with his brother, Albert. It was there that she met the love of her life, Albert Skierka. They married on April 17, 1948, at White Bear Lake, MN and then farmed south of Chester, MT. At the age of 27, five months after the birth of their only child, Annette, Jeanne contracted the polio virus. Since she required weeks of physical therapy, her sister Jewell took care of Annette. Always a fighter, Jeanne recovered from polio.
Albert and Jeanne were devoted to one another, and loved to drive around the countryside following Sunday Mass or to go hunting and fishing together. She looked forward to the summers spent close to Glacier Park where they pastured their cattle and where she helped Albert fix and put up fence. Trips to the mountains were favorite events! Two months short of their 25th wedding anniversary, Albert was stricken with a heart attack and passed away on February 5, 1973, Jeanne’s birthday.
A few years after Albert’s death, she moved to Great Falls. On September 16, 1978, Robert and Annette were married, and Jeanne was thrilled to have him in the family and loved him dearly. Jeanne and Annette were very close, and she treasured time spent with her. When her first grandchild, Spencer, was born, she moved to Lewistown to be closer to him and Robert and Annette.
The arrival of twins Alexandra and Regan brought her additional joy, and she shared her love of trains with the grandkids by driving them all over Lewistown when the trains were in town, waiting at all of the stops and waving at the engineers. She took every possible opportunity to attend all three grandchildren’s school activities, concerts, and sporting events. She was so proud of any of their accomplishments. She burst her buttons with pride in May of 2015 when she was able to attend Alexandra and Regan’s college graduation, and two weeks later to have Spencer seat her at his wedding. She adored his wife, Krystal.
Christmas was Jeanne’s favorite time of year, so she started playing Christmas songs in October. She had her Snow Village set up by Halloween, and the day after hosting her annual Thanksgiving family get-together (usually with 35 or more people), she would finish decorating for Christmas.
Family was important to her, and she always looked forward to the big get-togethers. She attended as many functions of nieces and nephews as possible. She enjoyed pinochle, cribbage, 500, and bunko, and the more people present, the better.
Jeanne’s first stroke occurred in December of 2011. She went to live with Annette and Robert, but still the fighter, was determined to be as independent as possible. She thoroughly enjoyed being with the family. Jeanne suffered another stroke in January 2016, from which she never fully recovered. A devout Catholic, she found comfort in praying the rosary and out of her little blue prayer book. She always had a rosary close by.
She is survived by her daughter Annette and her husband Robert Bold, grandchildren Spencer (Krystal), Alexandra, and Regan, sisters Pat (Julian) Kaeder, Jewell Bahnmiller, brothers Bill (June) Flaspeter and Jerome Flaspeter, sister-in-law Marion, as well as many nieces, nephews and her constant companion dog, “Pearl.”
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by one sister, Sr. Lorraine Flaspeter, O.S.B., two brothers Ted and Richard (and his wife Eileen) Flaspeter, brother-in-law Paul Bahnmiller and sister-in-law LuAnn Flaspeter.
Funeral Liturgy for Jeanne Skierka will be Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Leo’s Catholic Church. Vigil Services will be Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in St. Leo’s Church. Interment will be Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Benton, MT. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friends are asked to make memorials to St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Holy Family Catholic Church or the charity of their choice and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home.
I met Jeanne many, many years ago through Sr. Lorraine. I was Sr. Lorraine’s secretary at the diocese for many years and got to know Jeanne and Jewell and their mother also. I’m sending you my condolences to you for your great loss. I will keep your mother in my prayers along with Sr. Lorraine.
~ Loretta St. Germain
Jeanne and her mother were my next door neighbors in Great Falls. Jeanne was always so pleasant and friendly. I missed her greatly when she moved to Lewistown. Unfortunately, we lost touch. It was sad to see her obit in the paper, but it brought back great memories for me especially her wonderful smile. My condolences to the family for your loss.
~ Jane Hashley