She was called Carol Jones, Mrs. Jones, Teacher, Oma, Mom or Jonsie, but when she was born in Luana, Iowa, on April 10 to Pete and Florence Schutte, she was named Carol Ann Schutte.
Carol graduated from Postville (Iowa) High School in 1955. She still kept in touch with her classmates! On July 9 of this year (2021) she attended her 65th class reunion. (The date was off a bit because of COVID). In typical Carol fashion she had her picture taken with many of her friends, and of course, they all wanted to see if she still had nice legs! (The answer was yes.)
After graduation, Carol earned her teaching degree, taught in Iowa a bit, and met Daniel Durnan, who became her husband. They later divorced but not before she had two daughters with Dan: Danette and Floshelle.
This Homecoming Queen kept her old friends but made so many more new ones. She was one of the most well-known and well-liked people in La Crescent, MN. This was evident throughout her 4-year battle of cancer. Her home was warm and friendly — filled with visitors and filled with love. Her family and friends took care of her by sending cards, making phone calls, and bringing her things like asparagus soup, macaroni and cheese, bratwurst, salads, baked goods, fruit and much more.
The house was always decorated for the season. If there wasn’t an official holiday in that particular month, Jonsie found something to make that month special and her teaching talent was put on display… snowmen in January, hearts in February, shamrocks in March ……
Quite often there was a game of Yahtzee, cards, or marbles to be had, a scripture reading, swimming in her pool, or a Hallmark movie on TV accompanied with buttered popcorn. There was always something happening at Jonsie’s house!
She lived her life with “something always happening.” She loved to travel. She went to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Guatemala, Hawaii, cruises, not to mention many places within the US. She always wanted to go to the Grand Ole Opry and was able to do just that in 2018 even though she was going through chemotherapy. She loved life and appreciated life to its fullest. She fought a long and hard battle and didn’t want to give up.
She was a brave lady with a large heart and a great personality. She wasn’t a “chicken” — except for maybe the time she dressed in a chicken costume and stood outside of the Tosa Club to advertise their boasted chicken. She also wore an Easter Bunny outfit and gave treats to the kids.
She loved kids. She loved her daughters, Danette (Mark) Jacob, and Floshelle Brewster. When Danette announced she was pregnant with Heather Ann, Oma was so happy she cried! Oma and Heather spent a lot of time together, and Oma loved every minute of it. Oma often said that Heather kept her young. It wasn’t that long ago that Oma said she might have to turn older than 29 now that Heather has 2 children (soon to be 3) of her own!
She was blessed again when Floshelle (Mike Brewster) had Lydia and Mikey. Oma often stayed with them when Floshelle was working. She was glad that her teaching schedule and Floshelles work schedule meshed well so she could be there for them.
Oma’s great-grandchildren were her special gift. Braxten Johnson (Heathers’ son) was the “apple of her eye” and his brother Lennox was following in his footsteps. Heather and her husband Brett Benson live close to Oma. They enjoyed spending a lot of time with her and helped whenever something was needed.
Her children and grandchildren weren’t the only young lives she touched. She taught kindergarten for 33 years! Teaching was her passion. She had so much fun watching the students grow up and have children of their own. One of her highlights was tending bar at the La Crescent Apple Festival and having her former students say “look… it’s Mrs. Jones my kindergarten teacher!” Of course, many of them wanted to buy her a drink or made a comment of how they remembered their kindergarten days. Jonsie’s smile would light up the whole beer tent! She would remember cute little stories from her students and would share them. She often remembered what they wanted to “be when they grew up.”
Carol not only loved teaching but loved La Crescent. This love is exemplified by the red apple applique in the casket, and wearing of red you see today.
Oma was the kindest woman I have ever met. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was non-judgmental, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and put the wants and needs of others in front of her own. She believed in God and in showed in the way she lived her life. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 it states; “Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love. This might be read at weddings, but the same can be said about Carol. She had faith, she had hope, and she loved. She loved all of us and touched us in a special way. This wonderful woman will be missed by many.
We love and miss you Mom…… Danette
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, August 19, at Prince Of Peace Lutheran Church in La Crescent. Burial will follow in the church cemetery, rural La Crescent. Friends may call on the family Wednesday evening at the funeral home, 111 South Oak St., from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. and again at the church on Thursday from 10:00 A.M. until the time of services. Donations may be directed to either Neighbors in Action or the Pat Fredrickson Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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