Norma Jean Coen, age 79 passed away on May 10, 2020 at her home in Elkhart, Kansas. She spent her final days surrounded by her family.
On April 7, 1941 on a farm in Baca County, Colorado, Virgil and Norma Lackey welcomed their first child, a daughter they named Norma Jean. She was called Jeannie as a child and being the oldest and only girl, she helped her mother take care of her five brothers: Jesse, Bob, John, Jay and Joe. As a child, she worked alongside her parents and siblings taking care of farm and household chores which she said helped prepare her for raising her own family.
Jeannie and her brothers grew up in the Baca County area and she was baptized as a child into the RLDS Church which later became the Community of Christ Church, which she remained a member of.
Jeannie met the love of her life, Donald Coen at a RLDS church retreat when she was 13 years old, even though she didn’t realize it until the next year’s retreat in Wilburton, Kansass. The story is told that when she saw Don sitting with his friends she walked up to him and took him by the hand over to sit with her and the rest is history.
They married on June 1, 1958 and begin their life together in Wichita, Kansas. Due to Don’s job, they moved several times, resulting in each of their children being born in a different city. Jean always said that as soon as they settled into a new town, she looked forward to meeting the neighbors and enjoyed visiting with them over coffee.
Don and Jean created a family and gave their children happy childhoods. Family vacations were camping trips and Christmas might be homemade, but there was always a lot of love. Jean was a wonderful mother to Debbie, Donna, Barbara, Douglas, Alan and Christie. She excelled at making each one of us feel special and she was always there for us. The family moved to Morton County in 1976 to take over the family farm.
She loved spending time with her family and enjoyed travelling to see them and hosting large family reunions. Jean’s greatest blessings, 14 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren called her Mugger, because that is the name her first grandchild, Angie, gave her. Some of her friends call her Mugger too.
Each of us has some very special “made with love” creations. She crocheted baby blankets for each family, made beaded doilies as family wedding gifts and enjoyed making handmade Christmas gifts for her 14 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. With that many family members, she usually started in January.
Jean was very compassionate and found her calling by working in healthcare for many years. She also helped out on the family farm and raised dogs. Jean also enjoyed making her yard beautiful with flowers and plants, and was very creative when it came to crafting as she loved to try new ideas.
Friends were an important part of Jean’s life. She was always quick with a hug, a shoulder and yes, a cup of coffee.
Jean was briefly married to Melvin Strothman in 1993.
Jean touched many lives and left impressions on our hearts and memories in our lives that will never be forgotten.
Jean is preceded in death by son Douglas at age 3 months, daughter Christie, her parents Virgil and Norma and two brothers, Jay and Joe and a great-grandson, Colby.
She is survived by her daughters, Debbie Disch and husband Greg of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Donna Renz and husband Steve of Lakin, Kansas, Barbara Luck and husband Jeff of Elkhart, Kansas and son Alan Coen of Elkhart, Kansas, fourteen grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, as well as her brothers and their wives, Jesse and Charla Lackey of Prescott, Arizona, Bob and Sharon Lackey of Elburn, Illinois and John and Colleen Lackey of Hudson, Colorado.
Graveside service will be 2:00 PM Friday, May 15, 2020, at the Rolla Cemetery in Rolla, Kansas, and on Garnand Funeral Homes facebook page with Jess Lee officiating. Visitation will be 2:00 PM until 8:00 PM Thursday, May 14, 2020, at Garnand Funeral Home in Elkhart, Kansas. Memorial contributions may be given to Church at Jake’s Barn in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 854, Elkhart, KS 67950.