Jeanette Mae (Fox) Madson passed away peacefully at her care facility in Ramsey, Minn., on Dec. 8 2020, with two of her daughters at her side.
Jeanette was born May 9, 1934, in Iowa City, the first born child to David Birt and Myrtle Ann (Hartsock) Fox. Because her father owned two motor courts, one in Iowa and the other in Waycross, Ga., Jeanette spent time in both states as she grew up.
Jeanette graduated valedictorian of her class at Waycross High School and earned a full scholarship to John Stetson University in Deland, Fla. Prior to her junior year, she migrated north and met Robert Peter Madson. They were married June 21, 1958, at Danforth Chapel on the U of I campus. Jeanette graduated from the University of Iowa on Aug. 12, 1959.
Jeanette began her career as an elementary school teacher, stemming from her love of children, but also continued in the job she'd had while attending university for the Department of Transcription, School of Pathology until 1968. She and Bob moved to Cedar Rapids in 1960. Eventually Jeanette enrolled at Kirkwood Community College to earn her certification for medical reimbursement coding and worked in that department at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids for more than 30 years, until she was 70 years old.
In retirement from their rural Lisbon acreage, Jeanette and Bob enjoyed being very active in their church, First Presbyterian of Mount Vernon, extensive world travel, exercise, gardening and being with people. Whether friends, neighbors or family, Jeanette loved people! She was also a lifelong dog lover, known to have treats in her pockets on her many walks for any dogs she may meet. She was an excellent cook and very talented seamstress. She strove to leave heirlooms to her grandchildren, quality pieces to be passed through generations. She kept a photo album for each child and grandchild, with pictures carefully dated and labeled.
Jeanette was a woman ahead of her time. She was a strong proponent of social justice, equality and the environment, long before many were even aware of such issues. She raised her daughters with the clear expectation that they would be college-educated and independent, irrespective of marriage. Though dementia took much from her later in life, her spirit and love of people shone through to the very end.
Preceded in death by Bob and her parents, Jeanette will be missed by her children, Lois Heeringa, David Madson, Melanie (Craig) Bear and Jennifer (Greg) Dey; and by her 10 grandchildren, Kaethe, Chris, Sheri, Karen, Nicole, Robbie, Amy, Rachel, Kelsi and Garrett; eight great-grandchildren, Skyler, Jackqulyn, Tyler, Alexander, Liam, Zoe, Kyli and Easton; two great-great-grandchildren, Dante and Xion; and her brothers, Warren Fox of Waycross Ga. and Rodney Mercer of Cedar Rapids.
Due to COVID-19, a service to commemorate and celebrate Jeanette's life is planned to be held in the future at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Details will be announced in the obituary section of The Gazette once they are able to be finalized.