"I've lived a great life," she would say. And so she did. Until she breathed her last. Early on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, "Grandma Jean" McCoy died at home surrounded by family members at her bedside and wrapped in the love and thoughts of family and friends across the country and across the seas. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St Mary's Church in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 11:30 a.m. Masks and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. Burial will follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery. A Zoom link to view the Mass is located on Jean's obituary page at www.lensingfuneral.com. Later this year, we hope to share stories and memories at an outdoor celebration of her life. Please visit the website for Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service to view a video slide show with pictures of Grandma Jean and some of the important people in her life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Regina Foundation specified for Regina soccer, the Grandma Jean scholarship or the general fund.
Jean Ann Biegelmeier was born into this world on her favorite lucky day, Friday the 13th, June 13, 1930, to Maude Frances McKenna and South Dakota State Supreme Court Justice Frank Biegelmeier in Yankton, S.D. Things did not look good so they wrapped her up, nicknamed her "Weed," nestled her in a shoe box and called the nuns for a hasty baptism.
They knew not who they were dealing with. She was a survivor.
The oldest daughter of three, product of German/Irish heritage, she finished high school at the age of 16, graduated first in her class of three (alphabetical order) at Mount Marty College, and was off to the "big city." She was an adventurer. In Sioux City, she worked, lived in a women's boarding house, and was introduced by friends on a blind date to Dick McCoy. After she was engaged, she set off on a trip to Europe. She was a pioneer. She boarded a train for Boston, took a ship across the Atlantic, and spent the next three months bicycling across Europe - who else do you know that has baked a cake at the top of the Matterhorn?
Jean and Dick were married in October 1954, and she became part of the McCoy family. She often said that meeting Dick and joining the family of Grandma Dorothy McCoy and Dick's eight siblings was the best thing that ever happened to her. Five children (Ann, Jim, Joan, Mary and Nancy) followed and Jean and Dick worked side by side for years painting and remodeling to make an old house a home and Jean kept busy cooking pot roast (with ketchup and Kitchen bouquet gravy), baking cookies and scrubbing floors. She was affectionately known as "Jean, Jean, the cleaning machine." She was a worker. Jean also spent many happy hours as a volunteer (simultaneously being one of their best customers) at Marian Health Center in Sioux City. She was a giver.
One week before their 40th wedding anniversary and the night before daughter Nancy's wedding, Dick died after a difficult struggle with acute leukemia. And Jean soldiered on. She was adaptable. She sold the house and moved to Iowa City, where she made a new life attending to grandchildren, making friends, joining clubs and traveling the world. She made friends on her bowling team and loved "acting" in readers's theatre (ever the drama queen, she was). With her dear friend, Irene, she spent many hours enjoying pinochle games and sharing stories.
Eleven of her 17 grandchildren attended Regina Catholic Education Center and she embraced Regina and the Regina community embraced Grandma Jean. She attended fish fries and prayer services and plays and programs and graduations. Many hours were spent watching grandchildren participate in cross country meets, wrestling, basketball and football and soccer games. She donated to many Regina programs,
paid for uniforms to begin the boys and girls soccer programs, and was a faithful supporter of Regina
Grandma Jean loved theatre and was a huge patron of the arts at Regina, local and regional theaters and Hancher. For many years. she sponsored the Regina musical and attended every performance with front row seats watching her own grandchildren and many other talented performers. With her patient and devoted friend, Anna, she traveled to Amana for every performance of every season (front row seats as well), and to theaters all over Iowa and the world (with occasional side trips to Wilsons Apple Orchard for donuts). A life-long dream was fulfilled in 2012 when she attended the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany (only to find out it was in German - who knew!). She had many good times with Sherrie on HUGS (Helping You Get Smiles) trips to Circa 21 and around the US. She was a lover of the arts.
Reading newspapers (she was particularly fond of interesting obituaries!), doing "puzzles" (word searches), and watching television (days revolved around Judge Judy, Jeopardy, and Dateline episodes) kept her busy. Sharing newspaper clippings at dinner was a favorite pastime.
Grandma Jean loved to travel and she joined groups and travelled all over the US, Europe, Canada, and to China. She was a wanderer. In many photographs, she documented the sights, the meals, and her fellow travelers and was happy to provide lengthy descriptions to any and all upon her return. Grandma Jean accompanied her family on a "plelethora" (her word) of trips and sponsored several trips to Cancun for her entire extended family, including one with her sister Fran and all of her family. She loved to be at the center of all the fun.
Grandma Jean was a woman of faith. She faithfully attended St. Mary's Church, where she listened intently, watched people and counted the statues. She prayed daily (two Hail Marys each) for family and friends and the order of her well known prayer list was carefully considered, top spots reserved for those felt to be most in need of prayer.
Family was the essence of Grandma Jean. She was immensely proud of her four daughters and was heartbroken by the untimely death of her son, Jim, in 2019. Anyone who met her knows every detail of the accomplishments and adventures of her 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and she was eagerly awaiting the arrival of great-grandchild Larew in February 2021. For the past 14 years, she made her home with the family of her daughter, Ann, and son- in-law, Rick, and enjoyed a special connection with her granddaughter, Gracie.
Survivors include daughters, Ann (Rick) Larew, Joan (Tom) DePrenger, Mary (George) Haman and Nancy (Glenn) Yowell; grandchildren, James (Jori), Matthew (Caroline), Katie (Drew), Jean Louise (Trent), Molly (Ned), Teddy, Daniel (Allie), Madeleine (Tyler), Annie (Josh), Hanna, Grace, Andrew, Elizabeth (Noah), Trey, Nicholas, Eleanor and Gabrielle; great-grandchildren, Isla Grace, Kellen James and baby girl Larew; sister, Frances (Joe) Lowenstein; sister-in-law, Judy McCoy Thieme; and numerous devoted nieces and nephews across the world.
She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 40 years, Dick McCoy; son, Jim McCoy; parents, Judge and Mrs. Frank Biegelmeier; and sister, Mary Lee Pfefferle.
The family thanks the numerous health care workers (doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians and social workers) who performed medical miracles and kept her going all of these 90 years, the staff at St Mary's (including Father Ken, Father Steve, Sister Agnes and Patti), and the members of the Regina community for their love and care.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.lensingfuneral.com.