I’ve known Jean since first grade and we were best friends through grade school and high school. Although we never lived in the same city after high school, our friendship lasted a lifetime and whenever we got together or talked on the phone, we picked up where we left off.

There are so many memories over these 65+ years, where does one start. Music played a big part in Jean’s life. When we were young, I loved to visit the Wilting home because there was music and singing in her family – which I missed in my own home. On the other hand, Jean liked coming to my home where there was travel and adventure – which she missed in her home.

In 7th grade Jean was chosen to participate in a city-wide Catholic School choir concert. At the last minute I got to go too as an alternate. That was a special experience to sing with a couple hundred voices!

Jean joined my family for weekend camping trips and a trip to NYC when we were in 8th grade. I remember sitting around the campfire, Jean playing her Ukelele and us singing folk songs.

While I was living in Stuttgart, Germany, Jean and friend Pam made a trip to Europe. I joined them at the end and after we dropped off Pam at the Zurich airport, Jean and I drove into the mountains. As we drove through the spring-green colored valleys and up into the ski areas, we sang along with John Denver to “Rocky Mountain High.”

Years later, the month before Jean entered Manor Care facility, I spent several days with Jean while Henry visited friends in San Francisco. Every day I drove Jean to the Homestead Day Care in Longmont and of course, we sang along to John Denver’s music during the drive.

Music lit up the spirit in Jean to the end.

For me, Jean was an inspirational influence. When I was down or troubled, I just needed to talk with Jean and she would pick me up and share some insight or wisdom.

Jean is gone from this earth but her memories and her spirit will always be with me.

One thought on “Jean Marie Wilting Kroll”

  1. Jean was born in 1945 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Bertha Ripp and Bernard Wilting. She has two brothers and two sisters. Many of Jean’s relatives farmed, ran commercial fishing boats
    on Lake Michigan and operated orchards in the German, Polish and Croatian communities surrounding Green Bay and scenic Door County (Wisconsin).

    Jean’s father died suddenly when Jean was thirteen, and her mother was often ill, so Jean’s older siblings helped raise Jean. She graduated from Milwaukee’s Pius IX High School, summa cum
    laude in 1963, and was one of the first women to attend St. Norbert’s College in Green Bay. One of Jean’s grandest adventures was a European tour sponsored by her college.

    After a brief stint as a graduate teaching assistant at Purdue University, Jean moved to Chicago in the pivotal summer of 1968 where she gained a position in the public relations department
    of Chicago’s Northern Trust Bank. With exacting language skills she produced annual reports and as representative of the bank Jean traveled to London, England and various cities in the
    Mexico and the United States. She was also insrumental in starting a museum dedicated to Northern Trust Bank’s one hundred year history in Chicago.

    Jean met her husband, Henry Kroll, at a hotel swimming pool in Palm Springs, California during the national convention of the Unitarian Universalist church in 1988. They were married
    in Chicago and then relocated to Henry’s home in San Francisco. Jean found her true “calling” working with seniors as an Activities Director at The Sequioas, one of the best regarded
    retirement communities in San Francisco.

    Jean and Henry Kroll moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2007 where they helped form Silver Sage Village, one of the nation’s first co-housing communities designed and managed
    by senior residents They remained active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder and Jean kept close bonds with her dear family and friends from Wisconsin, Chicago
    and California until the end of days.

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