Jeanne (Lieske) Kirkpatrick

Jeanne (Lieske) Kirkpatrick

Jeanne Ellen (Lieske) Kirkpatrick, 83, of Salt Lake City, UT, passed away on January 29, 2024.  She was born on March 21, 1940 in Warsaw, IN, to Marguerite (Jones) Lieske and Rev. Henry Lieske.  As a child she moved from Warsaw, to Elyria, OH, to Portland, OR, following her father’s callings within the Lutheran Church.

Jeanne graduated salutatorian from the Gresham High School class of 1958 in Gresham, OR, and attended Willamette University and Portland State University, graduating from the latter with a BA (Philosophy) in 1984.  She was married to Patrick James Kirkpatrick from 1961 until their divorce in 1973.  During this time they lived in Minneapolis, MN, Nashville, TN, and Chapel Hill, NC, before settling in Vancouver, WA.

She lived mainly in Vancouver from 1969 to 1997, working for various federal agencies while attending night school at PSU and raising two young children.  In 1997, following an early retirement, she moved to Salt Lake City, where she lived until 2023.  From 1998 to 2008 she worked as a substitute teacher in Salt Lake public and parochial schools, a late career shift she found to be among her “callings”.  She loved connecting with kids and seeing them light up with new insights.

Outside of work, she spent most of her time in her nature garden cultivating plants and relationships with neighbors.  She had a green thumb for both, sometimes surreptitiously slipping into neighbors’ yards to pull weeds while they were away at day jobs.  In this way and many others she sowed innumerable seeds of love and kindness, freely and often without acknowledgment.  Her “good works” echoed the words of her esteemed fellow-thinker, Wendell Berry:

These are the pleasures that we take in our own lives, our own wakefulness in the world, and in the company of other people and creatures – pleasures innate in the Creation and in our own good work.  It is in these pleasures that we possess the likeness to God that is spoken of in Genesis.

In late 2023, Jeanne moved to Denver, CO, to be closer to her son and his partner as her health issues compounded.  It was here that she passed from this world, leaving behind a legacy of caring.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her brother Jay, Sr (Sally) Lieske; sister Joy (Rollie) Skelton; and sister Janice Lieske. She is survived by her daughter Robynne; her son Michael (partner Michelle Bahn) Kirkpatrick; sister Jacquelyn (Dick) Copeland; sister Judy (Rich) Wabrek; and much-loved nephews and nieces, Jay, Jr (Jude Schwendenwein) Lieske; Camilla Lieske; Stephan (Laura) Lieske; Dana (Vinay) Reddy; Brett Copeland; Krista (Beau) Johnston; and Lara (Travis) Gran.

A celebration of life will be planned for later this year in Salt Lake City. Interment will take place at The Cremation Gardens, a lovely memorial garden in Denver where she will be forever among flowers.


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5 thoughts on “Jeanne (Lieske) Kirkpatrick”

  1. I loved my oldest sister, Jeannie, and will remember her always❣ Though part of the older three in our family, I got to know Jeanne better when we were both adults. I tried to keep in touch, since all our siblings ended up in different parts of the USA. She had the best memory for dates – of all of us. When I wanted to know information from the past, I would consult my historian, Jeanne. We had a lot in common. We both have white hair, like our Dad, love gardening, enjoy the pets in our lives, talk about current events, reminisce about the past and our large cousin family. We both graduated salutatorian in our respective high schools, and finished our college degrees later than 4 years after high school. In this way, our resumes would show us to be younger than our actual years, so we wouldn’t be discriminated against by prospective employers. Discrimination was a big topic with sister Jeannie; she wanted everyone to be treated equal, as it should be. I loved listening to her PBS recollections of Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion. She was always on the lookout for articles we would enjoy, and mailed them regularly. Every holiday and birthday, I would receive a beautiful card and a very heartwarming message. Jeanne is irreplaceable; there won’t be a better big sister than she. I will miss her greatly and think of her always. At least she didn’t have to change my diapers, like sister Joy had to! I look forward to her celebration of life.
    Sister Jacquie

  2. May your wonderful mother rest in peace. She was a lovely lady and caring member of the community and she left much love in this world. Sorry for your loss, Michael.

  3. Jeanne will be greatly missed! I always enjoyed stopping in to visit her when work or pleasure took me to SLC. She had the BEST memory and remembered everyones birthdays, anniversaries, and zodiac signs. It was nice to talk to her about the latest stories we heard on NPR, recent shows we saw on PBS, and she took great interest in my work in Public Utilities. She and I both had a love for plants and gardening, and could discuss her gardening ventures for hours. I know she’d be glad to have the minimal impact of a natural funeral.

  4. Jeanne was gentle and thoughtful. She continued to want to connect relationally and talk about deeper ideas even as her body and mind were weakening. So grateful to have known Jeanne and Michael and Michelle even for a short time.

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