Former Lexington Resident: Jean King (1928-2016)
Jean Margaret (Eckvall) King was born to Swedish settlers Oscar William Eckvall and Anna Emelia Oline on Sept. 19th, 1928 near Holdrege, Nebraska. She passed away in her daughter’s home surrounded by family on June 21st, 2016.
Jean spent her childhood in Holdrege, Nebraska where she graduated as valedictorian from Holdrege High School. Jean attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln from 1946 to 1950. There she was a member of many musical groups and musical productions. She was president of the Kappa Delta Sorority and was a Mortar Board recipient which recognizes those who excel in scholarship, leadership and service to the community. She graduated with BA in Psychology and Sociology.
Jean married pharmacy graduate Gaylon King after graduation and settled in Crawford, Nebraska where they purchased their first drug store and raised their three children Bruce, Steve and Julie. They became members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church where Jean served as the choir director. She also organized the first children’s Christmas pageant which is still to this day, presented every Christmas Eve. She also worked hard as a Chamber of Commerce member to insure Fort Robinson, a U.S. Calvary fort at Crawford, became a Nebraska State Park. She developed lifelong friendships with her P.E.O. sisters that she cherished throughout her life.
She and Gaylon moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1962 where they raised their family. Jean was choir director at her church in Omaha. Jean and Gaylon were devoted Big Red Cornhusker fans. Even after moving to Colorado they retained their football tickets and drove back to most of the home games. In Omaha, Jean was trained to teach the Bethel Bible Series. She considered it to be the most wonderful contribution to her journey of faith and truly loved the experience.
In 1969 Gaylon and Jean purchased a drug store in Lexington, Nebraska where they lived for the next 25 years. Jean managed the Hallmark and gift departments. She continued serving as choir director on the Lexington Arts Council, the Lexington Foundation and in various musical groups. Gaylon was elected president of the Nebraska Pharmaceutical Association and Jean was the auxiliary president. This was a wonderful time of life for them and were so grateful for the wonderful friendships made during this time.
When two of their children eventually settled in Colorado, Jean and Gaylon retired and moved to Loveland in 1998 where they joined Trinity Lutheran Church. They loved their church and made amazing friends who they loved dearly. Gaylon and Jean worked for their daughter Julie at Kids' Harbor Child Care Center where Gaylon was "Mr. Fix-it" and Jean was "Girl Friday". They loved spending time with the children and enjoyed remaining active during those years. Most importantly, the move to Loveland gave Jean more time with her grandchildren which she happily told anyone and everyone, was the greatest joy of her life.
In 2007, Jean lost both her eldest son Bruce and her husband Gaylon. Life for Jean was never the same without them. Jean’s love and devotion to her faith and her family were her primary motivations in her life. She was a selfless wife, mother, grandmother and friend to all who knew her. She will always be remembered as the “cookie lady”. She will be greatly missed.
Jean is survived by her son Steve King and his wife Norma of Erie, Colorado; Her daughter Julie Shaffer and her husband Bob of Loveland, Colorado; Grandson Evan Shaffer of Loveland, Colorado; Granddaughter Jenna Shaffer of Chicago, Ilinois; and sister Dorothy Ganote of Cameron, Missouri. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Gaylon King and son Bruce King of Lexington, Nebraska.
Memorial services will be held Thursday, June 30th, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Loveland. Pastor Chris Davis will be officiating. Memorials may be made in honor of Jean to Trinity Lutheran Church. Viegut Funeral Home, Loveland, Colorado assisted the family with arrangements.