Jeanne Arseneau Spear passed away at Bickford in Champaign at the age of 98. She was born on April 14 in 1922 to Alphe Arseneau and Mae McCarty in Evanston, Illinois. Alphe’s great-grandparents were among the original settlers of Evanston and donated the land for Smith Park at Lyons Street and Ashland Avenue.
Jeanne met her husband Fred M. Spear at Northern Illinois University, and they married on November 11, 1943 in Evanston. She earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees from NIU and taught elementary and middle school in Marengo, Illinois for 26 years. She was active in civic affairs in Marengo, serving on the Planning Commission, the Historical Committee, the Library Board and was president of the Marengo Teachers’ Association. She was the first woman elected to the Marengo City Council and served for eight years. She was a partner in Stakespeares Cottage, a small antique and used paperback bookstore in Marengo’s original surgery. She belonged to Ladies Home Circle and Elsie’s book club, and loved to play bridge. She was also an avid traveler, and visited Ireland several times, as well as European countries, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Canary Islands, New Guinea and Australia. She loved animals and lived in an historic home in Marengo until she needed skilled care.
Jeanne is survived by her children; her daughter Patricia of Chicago and Wild Rose, WI and her son Michael of Champaign; as well as her sister Patricia Wingstrom of Champaign and her nieces Pat Beaird (Mike) and Charlotte of Champaign and nephew Paul (Nancy) Wingstrom of Galveston, Texas.
She was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and arrangements will be made for funeral mass and burial in the Catholic Cemetary. A private celebration of life will be held by her son in Champaign. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jeanne’s name can be made to the Marengo Area Schools Educational Foundation, the Marengo Rescue Squad, ASPCA, and the Nature Conservancy.
Jeanne wrote her own obituary under the heading “Who was this person?” and her daughter added details.
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