Janis “Jan” Sieh was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on Nov. 5, 1922, to the parents of Lester and Mildred Shoemaker. She attended North High School in Omaha and Omaha University prior to her employment in the vice president’s office of the Union Pacific Railroad during the war years.
In 1945, Jan married Paul B. Neafus, a major in the United States Air Force. They spent their married years in the South where Paul trained pilots. He was killed in 1949 during a training mission in a B-45 jet bomber in Shreveport, Louisiana.
On Aug. 25, 1951, Jan married Robert “Bob” Sieh, of Spencer, Iowa. They made their home in Spencer raising their children, developing lifelong friendships, and operating their business, Sieh Farm Drainage. As Bob was retiring, they spent their winters in Harlingen, Texas. Bob passed away in November 1982.
While living in Spencer, Jan was a member of Grace United Methodist Church. She was a member of PEO Chapter KF for 50 years and a member of the Spencer Library Board serving as president during the time the current library was built. She co-chaired the University of Iowa Crippled Children’s Clinic for many years, was president of the North School PTA, and served on the Camp Foster board. Jan’s hobbies included reading, being with her grandchildren, cooking, knitting, playing golf and bridge, and watching the Iowa Hawkeye and her beloved Chicago Cubs.
In 1990, Jan built her retirement home on Des Moines Beach, on West Lake Okoboji. She loved to travel and visited most of the countries of Europe and Scandinavia. She traveled by train across Canada and took many cruises including trips to Alaska, Caribbean, Hawaii and around the tip of South America.
Jan passed away Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017.
Jan was preceded in death by her parents, Lester and Mildred; her husbands: Paul and Robert; her brother, Donald Shoemaker; and her sister, Susie Bouley.
Left to cherish her memory are her three children: Paul (Jeanne) Sieh of Okoboji, Jim (Nancy) Sieh of Spencer and Kathy (Tim) Beachem of Okoboji; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Peggy Shoemaker; and close friends.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In leu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Spencer Public Library and the Arnolds Park Library.