N. Jean Jones

N. Jean Jones, 93, passed away quietly with her family on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Falls City, NE. Jean was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on July 6, 1929, to Christian and Marie Sorensen. She grew up in Hamlin, Iowa, where her family owned a trucking company and ran a small restaurant. After graduating from Audubon High School in 1947, she attended sectoral school and went to work for an insurance company in Chicago, Ill. She later moved back home to Audubon and took an office position for Elmer Carlson at Carlson Hybrids & Corn States Breeders. There she met and later married Morris Jones, a plant breeder and salesman at the company.
In 1953 the couple moved to Falls City, Nebraska and they started their own seed company called “Planet Hybrids,” In the early 60s, they moved to the family farm three miles north of Rulo. Latter joined by Morris’s oldest son Lewis, they expanded the business to include not only seed corn but also Grain Sorghum and certified soybean seed.
Jean wasn’t afraid of hard work, and one could often see her on a tractor, detasseling corn or rouging milo and soybeans. She was an avid gardener and canned and put-up most everything you could eat. If you could raise it, can it, or bake it, she didn’t buy it.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the “Cold War” reached new heights, so Jean and Morris were willing to do their part by becoming Civil Defense (CD) Volunteers. They went to classes and became CD organizers equipped with decimators, downwind tracking and message maps, and became skilled in many types of decontamination techniques. They even had a low-tech fallout shelter in the family cellar.
In the mid-’60s, Jean and Morris started a milling company called Winnebago Mills. They featured White and Yellow Cornflower and grits, Wheat flower, and later Grain Sorghum (Milo) products. Jean authored a cookbook featuring recipes of their products. The couple pioneered the use of flowers made from grain sorghum and she again authored a special cookbook for that product. Milo flower was especially useful for gluten-free diets. This idea was spurred into being by two granddaughters suffering from this condition. Jean’s children were often reluctant test subjects for her recipe experiments.
In addition to the Milling products, Jean and Morris developed a fish bait called Carp and Catfish Goodie. It was a dough ball mixture sold with a special soap to clean your hands, masking human sent while you baited your hook. It was sold at local bait and tackle outlets.
Besides raising seed, cattle and hogs, and an occasional pet Raccoon, the couple dabbled in some Truck Farming projects. They commercially sold Tomatoes and Onions delivered to Omaha and later cucumbers to a local processor.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the couple embarked on the rather ambitious endeavor of Aquaculture – raising Channel Catfish. A great deal of effort and expense was put into this project that showed great promise, but it was before its time.
In 1967 Jean acquired an H & R Block franchise. She opened her first office on the third floor of the old 1st National Bank building, later buying a building and moving the business to the corner of 14th and Lane St. During her over 25 years in business, she opened branch offices in Hiawatha and Sabetha, Kansas and in Mound City and Tarkio, Missouri. Over the years, she employed dozens of people and had trained most of the tax preparers in the area through her tax schools offered each year.
In the 70s, Jean and Morris traveled to Ghana, West Africa, to visit Morris’ son Lewis who managed a farm there. Her mission there was to teach the art of canning and food preservation to the employees and locals in the area. Jean collected numerous African items she proudly displayed in her home for the rest of her life.
In later years, Jean returned to Africa, this time to help build a church in Ghana as part of a church mission. She also made a trip to Israel on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Jean was known as an avid walker and exercise buff. Often she would walk uptown and back rather than driving, racking up nearly two miles on each trip. Several times a week, she and her group of like-minded friends would meet early in the mornings at a newly formed fitness center for water aerobics and exercise. Her friends and relatives often credited her long life to these activities and lifestyle choices.
Jean loved to paint and enjoyed attending weekly painting classes. She had a room in her home devoted to this passion. Thus the homes of all of Jean’s relatives are filled with her modest talents.
As the years went by, Jean moved to Jonesbrook Estates, yet keeping as busy as she could, trying to stay there as long as she could. She worked hard all her life and was very independent, ahead of her time by today’s standards. She loved life, the Lord, and her family greatly. In her later years, she devoted much time to her church and its activities.
Jean Jones is survived by her son, Mark (Susie) Jones, Rulo; daughters, Annie (Thomas) Rucker, Granbury, TX, Nancy (Robert) Bermea, Bremerton, WA; 19 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, husband, two stepdaughters, one stepson, one grandson, and one great-granddaughter.
Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 10:30 AM at Dorr and Clark Funeral Home, with Reverend Fay Ann Blaylock officiating.
Interment will be in the Jones Family Cemetery.
The family will receive friends on Monday from 7-8:00 PM at Dorr and Clark Funeral Home.

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