Jeanne Marie (Kleckner) Kneer
Jeanne Marie Kneer, age 100, of Eau Claire passed away Wednesday, July 14, 2021. She died peacefully at home.
Marie was born on April 12, 1921, in Beloit, Wisconsin, to Cecil G. and Gladys M. (Neyhard) Kleckner. Marie’s first years were very difficult for her family. They moved to the Chippewa Falls area and then to near Stanley, Wisconsin. When her mother went to the hospital and was unable to care for her, Marie was placed in the Children’s Home on Dodge Street in Eau Claire. She was about five years old at the time. She had some good memories from the Children’s Home: sledding down Dodge Street in winter, concerts in the park next door, swimming in the Eau Claire River.
Marie was living in the Children’s Home in Eau Claire when Walter and Mae L. Nugent took her as their foster daughter. They provided all the love and care she could have hoped for and treated her as their daughter. Marie said that the years spent with “Mom and Dad” Nugent were the happiest of her young life. She graduated in 1939 from St. Patrick’s High School in Eau Claire. Following graduation she took a nine month course at Vocational School for typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping.
Marie worked briefly at Gillette Tire Co. as a secretary. While there she was smitten at first sight by the man she would later marry. Marie married Thomas O. Kneer on August 16, 1941, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Eau Claire: A marriage that lasted 74 years until Tom’s death in 2015.
As with many couples during the war, life was challenging. After the attack on Pearl Harbor Tom enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Marie lived first with “Dad” Nugent and then with her in-laws on Birch Street. During that time her first child, Thomas E. (Tim), was born. After Tom made sergeant, Marie and Tim were able to join him in New Castle, Delaware, where their second son Richard was born. After the war the family returned to Eau Claire and lived in the veterans’ area on the east side of town. While there, William and Michael were born. The family moved to the current home on Marshall Street in 1952, where they had their last child, Barbara.
Marie was a full-time wife, homemaker and mother raising their four children. Marie loved her children and showed it in many ways. She had a nickname of “Sarge” because her kids knew she was in charge. One look could stop any shenanigans or convey love and understanding. Marie taught herself to cook and became very adept at it. She had a love for flower gardening and for taking pictures and keeping perfectly organized photo albums, over 100 of them. Marie kept a daily record on her calendar from 1952 until shortly before her death. She enjoyed reading books and comic books, eating liver, wearing high heels, doing stitchery, enjoying “coffee klatsches” and get-togethers with friends and neighbors. She was a long-time member of St. James the Greater Catholic Church and was active in the women's group for many years. Marie and Tom enjoyed traveling and visited all 50 states and traveled to Europe.
Survivors include children Thomas (Nancy) Kneer of Illinois, Richard (Mary) Kneer of Eau Claire, Michael (Becky) Kneer of Menomonie and Barbara (Alice Holbrow) Kneer of Madison; four grandchildren; Jeffrey (Angela) Kneer and Robert (Nicole) Kneer all of Illinois, Joseph (Lydia) Kneer of Texas and Julie (John) Snell of Florida; great-grandchildren Nicholas, Courtney, Allison, Owen and Max Kneer of Illinois; and Derek, Ryan and Abigail Snell all of Florida; one nephew, Dave (Janice) Kneer, and one niece, Jan (Ron) Nyhus, both of Wisconsin, a special family friend Bill Devendorf, and a special long-time friend and neighbor, Mary Hagens.
She was preceded in death by her husband Tom, son William, parents, loving foster parents, one brother and sister in infancy, foster sister Margaret Nugent Bifulco, her dear friend Shirley McSorley, and many other friends.
Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 am on Friday, July 23, 2021 at St. James the Greater Catholic Church, 2502 11th Street, Eau Claire, WI 54703 with Father Tom Krieg officiating. Visitation will take place at the church Friday morning from 9:30 am until the time of service. Burial will take place immediately following the service in the Lakeview Cemetery in Eau Claire. Immediately following the committal service there will be a celebration picnic at the adjacent Rod and Gun Park. All are welcome to join us at the park. There will be some of Marie's favorite foods, snacks and drinks for refreshments. To view the service please use the link provided https://youtu.be/xTk4aXsux5Y
Marie wanted to thank her family and friends who helped with her struggle with Dementia. Her stay at home would not have been possible without the loving care she received from the wonderful care workers from Visiting Angels.
Memorials may be directed to St. James the Greater Catholic Church, or a charity of the donor's choice. 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 the arrangements.
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