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Jean M. Ghelf

February 7, 1942 ~ February 23, 2019 (age 77)

            Jean Ghelf, age 77, died on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. A longtime resident of Genoa, Wisconsin, she had recently moved to Iowa to be cared for by family members in a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease. She was born in 1942 to Robert and Irene (Veglahn) Venner, she spent most of her life in rural Wisconsin. In 1962, she married Loren Ghelf, the former mayor of Genoa. She worked at Bethany Riverside Nursing Home in La Crosse from 1984 until her retirement at the age of 72. Jean lived a life full of activity and generosity. She enjoyed haggling for antiques and refinishing furniture. She spent decades renovating her home at the top of Walnut Street overlooking the Mississippi River in Genoa. The home she shared with Loren was full of family members and friends always coming and going. Everyone had a home at Jean’s house. She was an avid gardener and had a legendary green thumb. She devoutly fed the birds and wildlife even through the harshest days of a Wisconsin winter. She loved feeding her friends and tailoring the clothes always free of charge. She enjoyed country music – especially Johnny Cash – and sharing it with those around her.

She is survived by her daughter Joan (Steve) Kennedy; three grandchildren; Sean Bagniewski, Kristen (Scott) Kennedy Anderson, and Matthew (Katherine) Kennedy; three great-grandchildren; Teddy, Khloe, and Klay; her brother Rocky (Lois) Venner; and many extended family members. She was an unofficial grandmother to countless individuals. She was preceded in death by her husband Loren, parents; sisters Joan and Jan; and brothers Larry and Rich.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, March 2nd at 11 a.m. at St. Charles Catholic Church in Genoa with Father Nate Kuhn officiating. Burial will take place in the spring. Family and friends may call from 10 a.m. until the time of service. Online condolences may be left for the family at 

The Thorson Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Viroqua is proudly assisting the family. 

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