Jean Katherine Oberhelman, 94, passed away peacefully September 8, 2019 at The Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan KS. Jean was born on November 18, 1924 in Waterville, KS, the third of four children born to Frank and Gladys Fitzgerald. Jean was proud to say she was born and raised in Waterville KS and a 1942 graduate of Waterville High School.
Soon after graduation, she enrolled in radio school in Topeka KS, where she learned to grind radio crystals to a frequency making them useful for communication purposes in army airplanes flying during WW ll. Her first job was in Kansas City manufacturing these crystals.
On July 6th, 1946, Jean was united in marriage to Dean L. Oberhelman. They were blessed to spend 56 years together. While Dean pursued his education, they lived in Manhattan, Fort Collins CO, and New York City. She enjoyed these years very much. She attended classes at Emporia State, University of Kansas, and Kansas State which qualified her to teach for a period of time in the rural schools of Keystone and Zeandale. Dean’s teaching, coaching and school administration employment opportunities took them to White City, Chapman, Salina and eventually Clay Center where they lived for over 30 years before moving to Manhattan KS where she lived until her death.
Jean and Dean had two children. Bruce Oberhelman (Patty) Manhattan KS, and Kathy Funk (Doug) Lawrence KS. 5 grandchildren; Andrew and Amy Oberhelman (Eric Hatfield), Jennifer Funk, John Funk, and Haley Funk Petrik (Taylor), and Great Grandchildren Zoé, Rex, and Leo Hatfield.
Jean will always be remembered for her dry wit and sense, of humor which explained her love of I Love Lucy and the Bob Newhart shows. She enjoyed the outdoors, especially the mountains and streams, decorating her home for holidays, cooking and sharing her Christmas red apples and patriotic music. Her dedication to the observance of Memorial Day, was especially important to her, she never missed decorating graves of many relatives with beautiful flowers, while remembering and sharing special stories of each one.
Anyone who knew Jean though, knew her greatest passion of all was sports. Born a tom boy and growing up with 3 brothers she was never happy just being on the sidelines of a game. She studied and understood the game rules, played when allowed to, and always cheered for her favorite teams. She became an avid and intense fan of KSU sports including KSU football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and women’s volleyball. Being a decades long season ticket holder provided her endless fun and excitement. Rain, cold, sleet or snow never kept her away from a Wildcat game.
More than anything else Jean was a loving and devoted daughter, sister, niece to many favorite aunts and uncles, aunt, and of course wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother always showing deep love and concern for them all. Jean enjoyed playing bridge with her friends, golfing, swimming, and socializing. She was a member of PEO Chapter DE in Manhattan.
She was an active member of The First Presbyterian Church serving as a deaconess in Clay Center. In Manhattan she was blessed to also call College Avenue United Methodist Church her church home. She was a member of the Lioness Club, as well as a member of KSU Foundation Presidents Club. She filled the role of volunteer with many different opportunities, but she was most depended upon for years as a recruit chairman for Red Cross blood donors. Jean was preceded in death by her husband Dean, 3 brothers, William, Donald and Edward, a niece and nephew.
She is survived by her 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Respect calls will be September 12, 2019 at 9:30 AM until service time at the First Presbyterian Church in Clay Center, KS.
Funeral Service for Jean will be on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 10:30 AM at the First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Scott Lingle-officiating.
Committal will take place in Greenwood Cemetery, Clay Center, KS
If so desired, memorials may be given to First Presbyterian Church, Clay Center, College Avenue United Methodist Church, Manhattan or the Waterville KS Historical Society C/o Neill- Schwensen-Rook Funeral Home.