Jean Kamm (Nee Nelson)

Jean Eva Nelson, Our mother went into the loving arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, on September 6, 2018. This is her story as she wrote it. Jean Eva Nelson was born on December 3, 1925. She was the 4th child of Bill and Eva Nelson who lived on a 40 acre farm north of Woodville. She loved going to the barn and helping her dad with the milking and barn chores. They had no electricity or running water! She attended Maple Grove Elementary school which was over one mile from home. She used to walk and run with her cousins to be the first ones to school. She and her cousin Orville were in the same grade and had many happy memories there. After grade school she attended Glenwood City High School. There were 60 students in her freshman class. It was a bit overwhelming for her as Home Ec and Phy Ed were in separate buildings and she had to find her way around.

In 1943 she graduated and went to work at Armours in South St Paul in the refrigeration section all day. Coming out into the intense heat she decided that was not the job for her. Her brother Larry took her sister Marie and her to Montgomery Ward in St Paul and they both got jobs as dictaphone operators where they stayed for 1 1⁄2 years. Next, she went to Northwest Hanna Coal Co. as a typist and she learned to use a machine for bookkeeping. She stayed for 1 1⁄2 years until the company moved to Minneapolis. She went back to Wards, taking a trolley and transferring two times just to get to work.

She met Harold Fern around this time and on July 17, 1948 they were married at First Reformed Church in Baldwin. Their first four children were all baptized at that church. They lived on a farm in the country near Roberts. Harold worked at a creamery, but the company moved to River Falls. He was offered a job at Consolidated Lumber Company in Roberts and moved into town. During this time, three children, Crystal, David and Bill were born. Then Harold was sent to Spring Valley to manage the lumber company there. It was there that they found a home with running water and close to the school. In 1956 Claudia was born. Mom wrote in her memoirs that she had a new baby, a new home with electricity and a washer and dryer! They joined St John’s Lutheran Church. Ten years later James (Jim) was born. He was baptized at St. John’s Church with Crystal and David as his sponsors.

After staying home for seventeen years she wanted to work for a paying job. She began as a secretary for the Spring Valley principal and then for the school administrator. During this time, she was involved with church, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, PTA and the community. Family vacations were spent camping and fishing on various lakes in Wisconsin. She loved to fish! She also wrote that Jim was their good luck charm, so he went on every fishing trip with them.

In 1968 they decided to move to the country, so they purchased 40 acres near Woodville. Every year she planted a beautiful flower garden in the circle drive and she and dad had a huge vegetable garden. In the early 70’s she took a job as a secretary for West CAP in Menomonie for two years, which lead her to work in the Head Start program in Glenwood City. She loved teaching children. Her last job was one she enjoyed very much; she was a clerk for the USPS. She held that position for 17 years including working at the Woodville Post Office and travelling to Dayton’s Bluff, MN to work as a window clerk there. People would wait a long time in her line at that post office because of her dedication to treating the customers well. She truly loved that job!

On October 3, 1987, the Fern family suffered the loss of her husband Harold and son David in a car accident. That tragedy changed all their lives. She prayed for a fisherman and several years later she met Richard Kamm and they were married for seventeen years. They enjoyed fishing, travelling and hosting many card parties and dinner parties at their home near Roberts. Richard passed away in 2008.

She became close friends with Francis Dees of Baldwin and went to Bible study and other activities at the First Reformed Church in Baldwin. She then became a member again of the church where she and Harold had began their life. Jean was a devout Christian who had a heart of gold. She was active within her church and faith circles.

She was a proud member of the Baldwin American Legion Auxiliary volunteering at many functions. She was also active in her school reunions, usually serving as the emcee as she loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. She took pleasure in her 500 card club, Homemaker’s club where she served as president, and going fishing. She made several fishing trips to Canada where she had many stories to share when she came home. Her craft work included doing oil paintings, ceramics, calligraphy, sewing and embroidery work. She cherished her family and friends, and nothing made her happier than entertaining over a meal or a cup of coffee and her delicious baked goods.

Jean is survived by her children Crystal Petresky, William (Rita) Fern, Claudia (Michael) Shepard, James (Jim); grandchildren Daniel Petresky, Angela (Rob) Immerman, Jeremy Fern, Erik (Beth) Fern, Victor (Megan) Fern, Brian Fern, Chad (Jessica) Shepard, Cory Shepard, Christen Shepard; great grandchildren Brady, Karlie, David, Mila, Aaron, Tyler, Blake, Isla, and Max; brother Walter (Carolyn) Nelson, sisters/brothers-in-law Sylvia Eckl, Bob (Arlene) Fern, Adeline Hesselink, Donald “Jim” Busch, Muriel Nelson and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. Special honor is given to Francis Dees, her dear friend, who faithfully visited her regularly at Our House while she was a resident there for six years. Jean is preceded in death by husbands Harold and Richard, son David, sisters Grace Albrecht, Marie Geurkink, Jeanette Busch, brother Lawrence Nelson, brothers-in-law Willard Albrecht, Warren Hesselink, and Bill Eckl.

She will be remembered mostly as one who savored life and helping others. She generously donated toys and clothes to local drives in her community as was always ready with a hug and and a smile. A special thank you to St. Croix Hospice who provided tender loving care to her for the last two years of her life. It gave the family great comfort to know she was receiving the best care. Also, many thanks to the staff of Our House who provided a safe haven for her final chapter of her life.

Funeral service for Jean Kamm will be 2PM, Sunday September 16th at First Reformed Church in Baldwin. Burial will be in the Oakwood Cemetery in Hersey. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service on Sunday. Memorials preferred to the discretion of the family. Funeral services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Baldwin.


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