Jeanne M. Auen, 60, of Missoula, Mont., passed away from multiple myeloma on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Jeanne lived a wonderful and love-filled life. She touched hundreds of lives through her child care center, teaching and volunteer work at the Missoula Food Bank.
Jeanne was born and raised in Iowa City to Edna and Earl Yoder. She was the youngest of three girls and attended Iowa City public schools through junior high. She graduated from Iowa Mennonite High School in Kalona, Iowa. Jeanne began college at Bluffton College in Bluffton, Ohio. She transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in 1979 with a degree in elementary education. She began her teaching career in Nashua, Iowa, teaching fifth grade for two years. In 1981, she returned to Iowa City and founded Kindercampus, a child care facility that served 103 children. She received her master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Iowa in 1992.
Jeanne served as the president of the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City chapter of the National Association of Women's Business Owners, served as chairwoman for Week of the Young Child in 1993, and was a founding board member of the Coralville/Iowa City Safety Village. Jeanne sold Kindercampus in 1995 and returned to teaching kindergarten in the Iowa City Community School District at Grant Wood Elementary and Hoover Elementary.
In 2002, she and her husband, Steve Auen, decided to try "Living in the Woods" near Drakesville, Iowa, on 250 wooded acres next to Lake Wapello State Park. Jeanne landscaped, planted flowers, grew a garden and hunted deer on her "land." Her husband sometimes commented that Jeanne had created an environment better than any park in Iowa. While in southern Iowa, she also served on the Friends of Lake Wapello State Park, helping with beautification projects at the park. In 2010, Steve and Jeanne decided they wanted to be close to their boys and moved to Missoula, Mont. She immediately began volunteer work at the Missoula Food Bank and considered it her second home.
During her younger years, she was a relatively famous bicyclist, participating in the Des Moines Register's Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Her group became famous for their friendliness and late-night shenanigans. She enjoyed skiing, hiking, dirt bike riding, jewelry making, camping, and was a member at the Missoula Clay Studio, taking many creative classes. She also tried elk hunting and fly fishing. She loved Montana for its wonderful scenery and wildlife.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her father, Earl.
She is survived by her mother, Edna Yoder of Iowa City; husband, Stephen; her son, Joshua Tack and his wife, Sarah Raz, of Missoula; her son, Jason and his wife, Kristen Pearson Tack, of Florence, Mont.; and sisters, Deb (Jim) Miller of Iowa City and Barb (Randy) King of Lake Charles, La. Jeanne is also survived by the love of her life, grandson Sawyer Pearson Tack of Florence.
In lieu flowers, cards, etc., donations in memory of Jeanne M. Auen can be made to the Missoula Food Bank, 219 S. Third Street W, Missoula, MT 59801; or at www.missoulafoodbank.org. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.