Jean Ann Grafenberg, formerly of Winona, Minn., passed away peacefully in her sleep at home at the age of 72 on March 14, 2020.
Jean was born on November 14, 1947, in Postville, Iowa, to Lawrence and Ida Baade. She was raised in Luana, Iowa, and spent her entire childhood in a farmhouse across the street from her original church, St. John’s Lutheran. She graduated from Monona-Farmersburg-Luana (M-F-L) High School in 1966 and received an associate’s degree from Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, in 1968.
She met her future husband, Paul Grafenberg, while he was in Veterinary School at Iowa State University and the two were married in her childhood church in Luana, Iowa, on August 29, 1970. The two lived in Ames, Iowa, while Paul finished veterinary school and moved to Winona, Minn., in 1972 when Paul accepted a job at the Winona Veterinary Clinic. Paul and Jean had two children, Matthew Ryan and Megan Leigh. Jean raised her children in Winona and made many close friends during her time there.
She and Paul divorced in 1998 and Jean started the second phase of her life in Branson, Mo., at that time. Jean has a passion for country music, which was a huge influence on her decision to move to Branson. She worked in several music theaters as well as the visitor’s center in Branson. She loved attending music shows and going out for lunch and dinner with her friends. She even found a partner later in life, Tom Brown, and the two resided in Branson together until her death.
She enjoyed keeping up with her grandkids (Ryan, Maggie, Mollie, Addison and Sydney). Even though her son and his family resided in North Carolina and her daughter and her family in California, she kept up with them on Facebook. She loved to watch videos of Ryan playing the piano and guitar, Maggie dancing, Mollie competing in gymnastics, Addison overcoming unfathomable physical hurdles and Sydney just being a kid. She was able to visit Matt and his family in North Carolina this past year for Thanksgiving and Megan and her family for Christmas.
Jean had a strong Christian faith and we are sure that she is ecstatic to be reunited with her parents in heaven. Our hearts hurt and life will never be like it was, but we take solace in the fact that her broken body has once again been made whole.
Jean is survived by her ex-husband, Paul Grafenberg, of Winona, Minn.; her son, Matt (Gina) Grafenberg, Pinehurst, N.C.; her daughter, Megan (Craig) van Rooyen, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; five grandchildren, Ryan, Maggie and Mollie Grafenberg and Addison and Sydney van Rooyen; along with all her friends and cousins. Special friends include Cindy Pickering and Cindy Kendall.
Memorial services will be planned in the near future for both Branson, Mo., as well as in her hometown. Jean desired that her remains be cremated and she will be laid to rest next to her parents in Luana, Iowa. Arrangements and cremation are under the direction of Cremations of the Ozarks. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.cremationsoftheozarks.com.