Jeanette Joséphine (Madness) Ophaug returned home to her Lord on May 31, 2022.
She was born in Geneva, MN, to Ole and Sena Folie on December 28, 1925, and lived on their 120-acre farm in Freeborn County with siblings Lucille and Stanley. She was baptized into the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Ellendale, MN, and was confirmed into the Geneva Danish Lutheran Church in Geneva. She loved her Danish and Norwegian heritage. She attended grades 1–8 in the one-room school in Lerdahl and graduated from Albert Lea Secondary School in 1943.
Jeanette worked for the office department of Wilson and Company in Albert Lea until her marriage in 1946 to Air Force veteran LeRoy Henry Ophaug, who died in 2006. They were the proud parents of Randy (b. 1947 ), Nancy (born in 1952) and Kari (born in 1965).
On her 21st birthday, Jeanette joined the Salem Lutheran Church where she was an active member of the Ladies’ Circle, Altar Guild and Women’s Bible Study Group and served as a teacher at the School of the sunday.
Other activities she has enjoyed include visiting isolations, delivering meals on wheels, and participating in Christian Women United and YMCA Y Menettes. She was a housewife to her children’s elementary school classes as well as a Cub Scout leader. When her niece, Susan, contracted meningitis as a baby, Jeanette became passionate about the deaf community and became involved with The Arc Minnesota for children with disabilities. She also solicited her neighborhood for donations to the Cancer Society each year.
First and foremost, Jeanette loved Jesus, and it showed in her compassion for others. She once wrote: “I have always loved people, probably more the underprivileged, the poor or the suffering. I always want to go further. It’s who I am. Even with dementia, her gift and caring spirit continued to show until the end. She was loved by many and left a legacy of faith and love.
Jeanette was devoted to her children and grandchildren and to the large “gang” of friends she and Lee had shared for decades. She was silly, friendly, kind, beautiful and welcoming. If you visited mid afternoon, she would be happy to put the coffee pot on and make a casserole or dessert anytime.
Immediate family survivors include her three children: Randy Ophaug (Charlotte), Nancy Beers (William), Kari Johnson (Eric); 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Andrew Ophaug, Aaron and Krista Ophaug (Julia, Cole); Benjamin Beers, Maxwell and Holly Beers (Noah, Moses, Eden), Jenika and John Bohman (Bianca, Bernhard, Henry, Howard); Chloe and Evan Nolander, Gretchen and Zachari Mertes, Genevieve Johnson; brother Stanley Madness; several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, her sister and her husband.
The family would like to thank the staff of Thorne Crest Senior Living Community and St. Croix Hospice for their tender and loving care during Jeanette’s final years.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 29 at the Salem Lutheran Church in Albert Lea with a visitation at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery. Arrangements by Bonnerup Funeral Services.
Memorials may be addressed to The Arc Minnesota, PO Box 64007 St. Paul, MN 55164 or The American Cancer Society, PO Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.