Jeanne Marie (Freeberg) Walch was born December 23, 1937, an early Christmas gift to her parents, Olive (O’Donnell) and Clarence Freeberg, and her older brother, Dave. She was a sweet soul who “sparkled like diamonds.” She returned to them, and to her heavenly Father on January 31, 2021.
Jeanne grew up in South Minneapolis near Minnehaha Creek and attended high school at the Academy of Holy Angels. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in math from the College of St. Theresa in Winona. On St. Patrick’s Day during her senior year, she met a St. Mary’s senior named Bernard “Bernie” Frances Walch in a local pub. Over green beer and pizza, a great love story began. They went on to marry on November 12, 1960.
Jeanne started her career teaching at Bryant Junior High School in Minneapolis. She soon turned her focus to raising her growing family. Jeanne and Bernie were blessed with five children; Anne (Mike) Weber-Smith, Greg (Shauna), Chris (Meg), Mary (Jason) Rauter, and the caboose, Dan (Alisa), and a loving bunch of grandkids.
Jeanne and Bernie’s marriage spanned sixty-plus years, during which Bernie’s career at Cargill took them from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans with moves to Delaware, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas and ultimately to retirement in Red Wing. Her life was a series of great adventures, punctuated by cross country road trips with her family with stops along the way for local landmarks and natural wonders. Her Catholic faith was central to her life, and no matter where the family roamed, she ensured everyone attended Mass on Sundays.
Jeanne had many friends, she enjoyed bridge, dining at “supper clubs” and dancing. Jeanne and Bernie enjoyed their neighborhood bowling league in Beaverton, Oregon, where she was known for her signature style and blue bowling ball. Many times, she quietly walked away from family poker nights with everyone’s money. She loved bird watching, listening to Mario Lanza and the Three Tenors, spending time with Bernie’s expansive family, and everything chocolate. She made excellent chili and cross-stitched gorgeous heirloom Christmas stockings for each of her children and grandchildren. Jeanne is fondly remembered for her love of sports, which encompassed Viking football (SKOL!), Twins baseball, and every sport her children and grandchildren played.
Jeanne was a steady, kind, and fierce advocate for her family and for what is right and honorable. It is a legacy her family strives to emulate. She welcomed all, and had an infectious laugh and quick wit. She was deeply loved and will be missed by many.
A private funeral for immediate family will be held at the Church of St. Joseph in Red Wing with Father Thomas M. Kommers presiding. Jeanne will be interred at Calvary Cemetery. A celebration of Jeanne’s life will be planned for a later date when it’s safe to gather.
In memory of Jeanne, please consider a gift in her name to the Church of St. Joseph or the Mayo Clinic Foundation at https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donateMC
Arrangements with the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com
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