Beloved wife, mother, Nana, daughter, sister, and friend, Jane C. Cote, 78, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Tavares, Florida, entered eternal life in Heaven on September 17, 2021. Jane passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Born June 7, 1943, to Merlin and Elaine (Henrichs) Sonnentag, in Wausau, Wisconsin, and grew up in Marathon, Wisconsin, graduating from Marathon High School, and proud to say she participated in virtually every activity the school offered.
Jane said that the most important date in her life was June 22, 1963, the day she married her true love, Jeffrey Cote. The two were introduced by Jane’s brother John, who was Jeff’s college roommate, and the rest is history. After the wedding they moved to Eau Claire where Jane would work for a local insurance company and Jeff would finish college at UWEC. In 1965, Jeff was drafted and the two eventually moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Jane worked for the Air Force Academy and Jeff served at Fort Carson. After Jeff’s service ended, they relocated back to Eau Claire, where Jane dedicated herself to raising her children and making a home for their family, returning to work only after they were in school. She started working for Eau Claire County in multiple roles and departments over 25 years, ultimately retiring in 2006 as a benefits specialist from the Department on Aging.
Jane was always proud of the family she came from, including each of her 8 brothers and sisters, and the family she and Jeff had created together, including their two daughters, Kelly in 1968, and Kimberly in 1973, and one son who died at birth on October 4, 1971. And it was her joy in life to love, care for, and grow her children, her grandchildren, and frankly all those whom she cared about.
Jane’s faith was steadfast, and core to who she was, always reminding those around her to “give thanks and praise” for the good and “trust and believe” whenever challenged. She was a guiding force in the faith journeys of her children and grandchildren. She and Jeff were active members of Trinity Lutheran Church, and Jane volunteered and participated in different ways throughout her adult life, including Altar Guild, Ladies Circle, Sunday school, vacation bible school, and various other service; and after retirement also attended First United Methodist Church in Tavares, Florida.
Jane made the most of every day, was quite the conversationalist, and had an elegant sparkle about her; her personality, spirit, and smile were known to light up a room. That, combined with her natural curiosity about people, places, and how things worked, and her adventurous soul always being up for trying new things, resulted in meeting a lot of wonderful and interesting people throughout her journey, many of whom became lifelong friends.
She was grateful for and loved her family and friends; she poured herself into being an amazing Nana, and also enjoyed entertaining, dancing, gardening, traveling, sewing, bowling, making jams and treats to share with everyone, and participating in various social groups including the Red Hats, Diamonds, and Florida Garden Club. Jane seemed to apply her expertise in gardening to life in general, knowing that what you plant and nurture in the near term you will harvest down the road; whether it was the bountiful garden in the back yard or the meaningful connections she grew throughout her life, she proved to have a very green thumb.
Jane is survived by her husband of 58 years, Jeff Cote; two daughters Kelly Hugdahl (husband Kris Hugdahl), and Kimberly Noonan (significant other Tim Larson); grandchildren Riley Hugdahl, Alyssa Hugdahl, Easton Hugdahl, Liam Noonan, and Keller Noonan; siblings John (Carolyn) Sonnentag, Joan (Ric) Zastrow, Jack (Sandy) Sonnentag, Julie (Robert) Seubert, Janet (Gary) Zemski, Joyce (Glen) Hoeppner, Jill Sonnetag (Jerry) Schroeder; Jeff’s brother Robert (Marge) Cote; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Jeff’s parents, brother James Sonnentag, brother in-law James Cote, and baby boy Cote.
The family wishes to thank all of Jane’s medical providers and care givers, especially Mayo Clinic Hospice, and special care givers Rhonda and Toni, for making it possible for her to remain at home for as long as possible, and for the kindness and compassion of the team at The Classic who kept her comfortable in her final few days.
A memorial service will be held 11:00 am Monday, October 4, 2021, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 East Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire, WI, 54701 with Pastor Patrick Patterson officiating. Visitation will take place at the church that morning from 9:00-11:00am. Masks are required to be worn by anyone attending the visitation and the service.
A second memorial service will also be held at First United Methodist in Tavares, Florida, at later date, details forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Mayo Clinic Hospice Eau Claire or Lewy Body Dementia Association (www.lbda.org).
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with arrangements.