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Jean Mahnke '79 January 22, 2019 8:53 AM updated: January 22, 2019 8:57 AM

Hillier Funeral Home of Bryan obituary
2301 East 29th Street
Bryan, TX 77802

Jean M. Mahnke
JUNE 6, 1932 ~ JANUARY 14, 2019 (AGE 86)

Jean Marie Kangas Mahnke

June 6, 1932 – January 14, 2019

Jean Marie Kangas Mahnke, 86, loving wife, mother, grandma and friend passed away peacefully on Monday, January 14, 2019. Visitation will be Monday, January 21, 2019, from 6-8 p.m. at Hillier Funeral Home 2301 East 29th St in Bryan, Texas. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church 4221 Boonville Road in Bryan, Texas.

Jean was born in Hurley, Wisconsin on June 6, 1932, to Charles and Bertha (Belmas) Kangas. She was the second of six children and was raised in the Finnish culture and traditions, which included family sauna on Saturday nights. Jean and her husband, Don, would later be able to travel to Finland on one of their many adventures. Jean graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, and received her diploma in nursing in 1954, from Milwaukee Hospital, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She became a proud Texas A&M graduate in 1979, with a bachelor’s degree in Health Education. Her biggest hurdle was passing Algebra 1 at the age of 47.

Jean met the love of her life, Donald, at Bethany College. They married on October 16, 1954, in Tyler, Texas, and she became an Air Force wife. After being stationed in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Germany, Texas A&M and California, they settled down to finish raising their three children in Bryan, Texas.

Jean was an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Bryan for over 50 years.
She loved singing in the choir and participating in Vacation Bible School and Bible study. Jean’s career as a Registered Nurse spanned 40 years and she retired from St. Joseph Hospital in 1994. After retirement, Jean and Don bought an RV and traveled extensively. They drove the Alaskan highway on a trip that lasted 140+ days. Other travels included Nova Scotia, Russia, Finland, Hawaii and Mexico. Jean and Don opened their home to family, friends and students hosting an exchange student from Finland and serving as conversation partners with Chinese foreign students from the University Lutheran Chapel. Jean loved to quilt and her family will treasure her creations for years to come.

Jean is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Donald Mahnke, her parents, her sister Elaine Schumacher and brother Robert Kangas. She is survived by her son, Norbert Mahnke and wife Lisa of College Station, Texas; daughter Sandra Clary and husband Dennis of McKinney, Texas; and daughter Patricia Phelps and husband Kenneth of McKinney, Texas; seven grandchildren Christopher Clary, Derek Clary and Ellen Ellis and Aleila; Natalie Phelps Silva and husband Marco; Nicholas Phelps and wife Catherine; Melanie Mahnke Wigley and husband Luke; Brett Mahnke and Mark Mahnke; three great-grandchildren Tatum Silva, Lena Silva and Colson Wigley. Jean is also survived by her aunt, Elsie Langher; brother Dale Kangas and wife Mary Ellen; sister Charlene VanderPoorten and husband Paul; and brother Paul Kangas and wife Donna.

The family would like to thank the staff of Hudson Creek, St Joseph Hospital and Hospice Brazos Valley for their loving care.

January 21, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Hillier Funeral Home - Bryan
2301 E. 29th St.
Bryan, TX 77802

January 22, 2019
11:00 AM
Bethel Lutheran Church
410 Bethel Lane
Bryan, TX 77802

January 22, 2019
12:00 PM
Bryan City Cemetery
1111 North Texas Ave.
Bryan, TX 77802

January 22, 2019
1:00 PM
Bethel Lutheran Church
410 Bethel Lane
Bryan, TX 77802

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