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Obituary for Catherine Jean Smies

Catherine Jean Smies
Catherine “Jean” Smies, 96, of Oostburg, entered heaven’s gates on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Pine Haven Christian Home in Oostburg.
Jean was born on January 21, 1921 in Springfield, MO to Arthur and Maude (Parrish) McClellan. Jean had a knack for numbers and ended up working for the Frisco Railroad as a comptometer operator. Jean came from a railroad family with a father who was an engineer and a brother who was a conductor.
During World War II, Jean was introduced to a young soldier from Wisconsin, Danny Smies, who was recovering from polio at a military hospital in Springfield, MO. In spite of some opposition from her family about leaving Springfield, Jean married Danny on June 19, 1944 in Springfield. She eventually weathered the culture shock and adjusted to the move to Wisconsin. Jean brought her southern fried chicken cooking skills, and added that to her well-loved sausage biscuits, pan-fried whitefish, and chocolate pie. Danny preceded her in death on January 24, 2000 following 55 years of marriage.
In addition to caring for her family, Jean worked at H.C. Prange in Sheboygan for 16 years. Jean and Danny also co-owned and operated Smies Fur Farms for many years. She was devoted to her husband and children, and was delighted by each grandchild and great- grandchild, for whom she enjoyed crocheting blankets. When arthritis made crocheting more difficult, she became an avid reader of historical fiction.
Jean enjoyed being a part of the Christian community. She was an active member of Bethel OPC in Oostburg and the Women’s Society. She was also a supportive volunteer of the Oostburg Christian School Circle. In her later years she enjoyed the TV ministries of Charles Stanley.
Jean is survived by her daughter, Betty (David) Wyatt of Pompano Beach, FL; two sons, Tom (Janet) Smies of Green Bay and James (Donna) Smies of Cedar Grove; seven grandchildren, Jonathan (Kristin) Smies, Daniel (Megan) Smies, Katie (Sean) Callahan, Becky (Jack) Dulmes, Sara (Jim) Gerend, Anna Heinen and David (Becky) Smies; 16 great- grandchildren, Monica, Emmelia, Peter, Cecilia, Joseph, Elijah, Hannah, Willem, Caleb, Abigail, Levi, Katrina, Judah, Silas, Lily, and Sterling; and one brother-in-law, Abram (Gwen) Smies of Oostburg. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, one brother, Arthur (Captola) McClellan; a half-sister, Margaret; a sister-in-law, Marian (Wayne) TeGrotenhuis, one grandson-in-law, Matt Heinen, and a daughter-in-law Carol Smies.
A funeral service to celebrate Jean’s life will be held on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 11 am at the Wenig Funeral Home in Oostburg with Rev. David Veldhorst officiating. Burial will be at Oostburg Cemetery in Town Holland.
Relatives and friends may greet the family on Monday, April 17, 2017 from 9 am until the time of service at 11am.
A memorial fund is being established in Jean’s name for Oostburg Christian School.
For online condolences and additional information please visit
The Smies family would like to extend their appreciation to the staffs of the Pine Haven Christian Home in Oostburg and the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for the loving and dedicated care given to Jean and their family.
The staff of the Wenig Funeral Home of Oostburg (920-564-2771) is assisting Jean’s family with arrangements.
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