Obituary of Jeanette E. Madsen
Jeanette “Jen” Eunice Madsen, 96, of Cedar Rapids, formerly of Iowa City, died July 7, 2021, after a long battle with dementia. Jen Wieman was born April 30, 1925, in Woodford Wisconsin, the first child of Henry and Viola Wieman. Jen later welcomed a sister, June and brothers Henry and Charles. She grew up in Woodford (population 100), participating in everything a smaller town could offer. She was active at home, at school, at church and in sports. Jen was valedictorian at nearby Monroe High School, and then attended St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota. She was the first in her family to attend college and would be followed to St. Olaf by her sister and brothers. After graduating from St. Olaf in 1946, Jen worked in Lutheran ministry in both Chicago and Champaign, Illinois. While in Chicago, she met Don Madsen through a mutual friend, and they married on July 24, 1949. After brief stays in Kansas and South Dakota, Don and Jen moved to Iowa City when Don joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in 1955. Together, they built a house themselves on Whiting Avenue Court in 1956. This would a welcoming home for friends and family until moving to the Meth-Wick Community (Cedar Rapids) in 2009. Jen dedicated her life to serving others, in all shapes and sizes. This included hitting grounders to her boys in the backyard; making raspberry jam for the neighborhood; ice-skating with family into her 70s; baking an unbelievable variety of Christmas cookies; delivering newspapers on days her boys had ballgames (thanks, Mom!); and hosting dinner or bridge parties. If you knew Jen, you experienced first-hand her selfless focus on serving others. Her community activities in Iowa City were also many. She provided free transportation for people who had medical appointments, did substitute teaching, organized Bible study groups, and was a long-time member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. She served on a number of Iowa City boards: Visiting Nurses, Broadband Communications, Board of Social Welfare and the Board of County Supervisors. Jen was heavily involved in the Republican Party of Iowa City. In 1972, she was the first female chair of the Johnson County GOP. That led to her being elected a delegate to the 1976 Republican convention in Kansas City. However, her favorite position in politics was working as a staff assistant in the Iowa City offices of Congressmen Jim Leach and Cooper Evans. Fond of all sports, she particularly liked baseball or any sport involving her boys or the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was not uncommon for Jen to ride her bike over to watch the Hawkeyes play baseball – despite the long uphill climb required on the way home. Her beautiful and positive spirit was always present. She enjoyed nothing more than getting down on the floor to play with her kids – and later her grandkids. On many occasions, she took the grandkids to downtown Iowa City on the bus, just because the kids thought the bus was a big deal. Her sponsorship of backyard “fairs” with the grandkids were beyond compare. And somehow she made every activity feel like a special one, through laughter, lightness and kindness. She is survived by two sons, Nels (Fran) Madsen and Erik (Chris) Madsen. Jen is survived by grandchildren and their families: Lisa (Rob) Madsen, great granddaughter Sydney and great grandson Theo; Luke (Hannah) Madsen and great granddaughter Emma-Gail; Kelsey Madsen and Haley Madsen. She is also survived by sister, June Steffen and brother, Henry Wieman. Jen was preceded in death by her husband Don (2018), her parents and her brother, Charles. The family would like to thank the Meth-Wick Community for their caring support of Jen these last few years. A time celebrating Jen’s life will be held from 11-2pm Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City. Memorial donations can be made in Jen’s memory to the Meth-Wick Community. To share a thought, memory or condolence please go to the funeral home website @ www.gayandciha.com. In her last act of kindness, Jen’s has donated her body to the University of Iowa deeded body program. “To give of oneself so that others may live in health and happiness is a truly noble gesture.” Rest in peace, Jen.