Obituary: Jane K. Gebhart
(August 3, 1954 – March 26, 2017)
JANE KRISTIE HELLER was born on August 3, 1954 in Minot, ND to Joy and Ida (Moen) Heller. Jane started elementary school in Minot. The family moved from Minot to Berthold in 1963 where she completed grade school and graduated from high school in 1972. Jane attended college at Minot State University where she earned a degree in elementary education. She did her student teaching in San Bernardino, CA. Her first teaching job was at the Progress School south of Lemmon. She continued teaching in the Lemmon School District for over 34 years and taught at the country school, Title One, 3rd grade and Junior High. She had an incredible passion for teaching and loved working with kids. While teaching school she also coached numerous OM/DI teams as well as coaching cheerleading for several years. It was not at all uncommon to be in Bismarck, Rapid, or anywhere else and have a former student come up and give her a big hug and tell her that she was their favorite teacher, sometimes the former student would be well into their forties.
Shortly after she began teaching at Progress a young, local 4-H Leader stopped by to get the school keys for a 4-H meeting. That was the first time she met the love of her life, Mike, they were united in marriage the following summer. For nearly four decades Mike and Jane made a life together raising their three children on the ranch, a lifestyle that Jane adored. In recent years Jane’s life absolutely revolved around her grandchildren. She loved them more than anything. She had an honest goal to truly be the very best grandmother ever. She had many future plans involving the grandkids including her plan to take each grandkid (or pair of grandkids) to Washington DC when they were around 11-13 years old to see the history there.
Jane’s hobbies and life ambitions included taking care of and spending time with her family. She enjoyed attending the kids’ sporting events, school and church activities, gardening, sewing, playing cards, cooking, reading and doing crafts. She loved to share these activities with her family and teach these joys to her grandkids. Jane could often be found cheering in the stands at her grandkids’ basketball, volleyball and soccer games; shooting sports; play days; swimming; 4-H events; concerts and programs. She always had fresh homemade buns and cookies and everyone loved the days she would make caramel rolls. Holidays at the Gebhart Ranch always involved grandma doing a craft with the grandkids from painting Easter Eggs to making gingerbread houses to sewing bags. There were also many evenings spent playing spoons, Rummy or Pinochle.
For many years Jane was active in the Indian Creek Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday School, helped with many church activities, and instilled the Love of God in her children. In more recent years she attended Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon.
In 2006 Jane joined the South Dakota Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Team. This gave her an opportunity to continue helping people in another capacity. She was very passionate about working with the women and children’s shelters and spent a lot of time putting together necessity bags for the shelters to give out. It was very important to Jane that children receive accurate agriculture education both in the classroom and the community and she presented in the schools and at community events. Jane treasured the time she spent with her Farm Bureau Family.
After an incredibly brief battle with an extremely aggressive cancer Jane was called to her eternal home in Heaven on Sunday, March 26, 2017 with her family by her side at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck North Dakota.
Keeping her close to their hearts are her husband, Mike, Meadow, SD; their children, Jerrica (Richard) Sauer, Bismarck, ND; Travis (Renae) Gebhart, Dalton (Sara) Gebhart, all of Meadow, SD; grandchildren, Matthew and Mikayla Sauer, Shannon, Katelyn, Kyle, and Ashley Gebhart, Lainee, Briley, Gwen, and Tess Gebhart; a brother, Jordan (Diana) Heller, Fargo, ND; 2 sisters, JoEllen (Jerry) Meade, Cheyenne, WY; Jeanne Brostrom, Los Angeles, CA; Linda and John Wilkens; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Joy and Ida, and a brother, Jerry Heller.
The Funeral Service for Jane will be held at 11:00am MT, Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon with Pastor Carin Bear and Pastor Harold Delbridge, officiating. Per Jane’s wishes, her ashes will be spread over the Gebhart Ranch. A Service for Family and Friends will be held at 6:00pm on Friday evening at the Evanson-Jensen Funeral Home in Lemmon.
Special music will be provided by Marilyn Willey.
Serving as casketbearers are Marvin and Jorge Heller, Lynn and Craig Grabow, Levi Walters, Vanden Gaaskjolen, Tiffanie Kouf, and Karen Ess. All of Jane’s former students are considered Honorary Bearers.
Visitation will be on Friday, March 31 from noon to the time of the family and friends service at 6 p.m.