Geraldine ‘Jeri” Thul
February 28, 1926 - August 26, 2020
Geraldine “Jeri” Thul, age 94 of Algona, passed away Aug. 26, 2020, at her home. Private family services were 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Algona and were livestreamed on Trinity Lutheran Church’s YouTube page. Public graveside services were 11 a.m. Saturday at the St. Michael Catholic Cemetery in Whittemore. Public visitation was 9 a.m. until service time on Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing practices were followed.
Geraldine “Jeri” Marie Thul, the daughter of Harold William Kuecker and Mildred Vera (Walker) Kuecker, was born Feb. 28, 1926, in a small home in Estherville, Iowa. When she was coming to the world, her dad ran barefoot in a snowstorm to get the midwife to help with the excitement as she was born in the home. She attended multiple schools during the Great Depression era as her dad needed to move often to find jobs. She attended 14 different schools in 12 years, including a one-room country schoolhouse near Whittemore, and later Rockwell City, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Springfield, Ill., O.B. Laing in Algona with a Lawrence Welk favorite – Dick Dale, West Bend High School for two years, and graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1943. While at West Bend High School, Jeri was part of the six-on-six Girls State Tournament championship basketball team. When she was only a freshman in high school, Jeri started working by taking shorthand and catering for restaurants and at the café. She was a hard worker all her life, often handling two to three jobs at a time. She was also a survivor over the last 94 years, seeing many changes in society, good and bad.
She was united in marriage to Jack McKean in the late 1940s during the World War II era. Jack was in the U.S. Navy. From this marriage came Jill McKean Seeley and two years later Terry B. McKean. When Jill and Terry were very young, they lost their father. As a result Jeri worked up to three jobs at a time while also being a single mom for roughly 17 years. Things were a lot different then, and with the help of family and friends she made it through.
On Jan. 14, 1967, Jeri was united in marriage with William “Bill” Peter Thul in Tucson, Ariz. John Thul and Jill Simpson were there as witnesses. Bill and Jeri farmed together near Whittemore on the Thul family farm. They enjoyed boating, fishing and traveling together. From this marriage came Brian William Thul.
She was a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Algona and the Whittemore Women’s Club of which she had served as president. Jeri enjoyed quilting in Iowa and in Arizona and creating ceramics for about 10 years in Whittemore. Most recently she enjoyed playing bingo at the Algona Senior Center and had close friends to see each Monday and Friday. O-66 was her favorite number from her bingo card.
Left to cherish Jeri’s memory are her children, Brian Thul and his wife Zona, who reside at the Thul Ranch near Whittemore; Jill Seeley and her husband Mark of Algona, Iowa; and Terri McKean of Tucson, Ariz. She is also survived by her sister, Joyce (Joe) Jenson of Gillette, Wyo., and her children and her brother Jay (Kay) Kuecker and his children of Kansas City; and grandchildren, Jacob E.W. Thul of Des Moines, Iowa, Matthew M. Thul of Brookings, S.D., Emma S. Thul of Indianola, Iowa, Eric J. Thul of Ames, Iowa, and Nicholas B. Thul of Algona, Iowa; Kathy Simpson Cumberland (Devin) of Algona, Christine Simpson Gosch (Jeremy) of Urbandale, Iowa, Sara Seeley of Algona, Laura Seeley Campe (Kyle) of Burt, Iowa; Rochelle Maxam of Tucson, and Aaron McKean (Melissa) of Nebraska. She also has numerous great- and great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins whom she would religiously correspond weekly by writing “good old fashioned” letters – she never had a desire to learn computers! She also had an “adopted” daughter, Cathyleen Hendricks, who cared for her in her final weeks. She was preceded in death by her parents; both husbands; a brother, James Kuecker; and a number of relatives and friends over the last 90-plus years.
If you knew Jeri, you were blessed by her wisdom and grace. Her final wish is that all people in the world will learn to blend together and just get along.
Lentz Funeral Home of Algona is serving the family. Condolences may be left at www.lentzfuneralhome.com.