rmerly of Minot, passed away Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, at Jacobson Memorial Care Center in Elgin.
Jean Mary Whitson was born Jan. 30, 1926, the daughter of Willmer and Gladys (Matzdorf) Whitson, in Burt Township of Ward County, rural Burlington. When she was age 2 her father passed away. She and her family went to live with her mother's parents, J.W. and Thekla Matzdorf. She was raised on the Matzdorf family farm located south of Berthold. She and her family later moved to Silverton, Ore., where they lived for three years, before moving back to North Dakota and residing in Minot. She attended schools in Minot.
As a young adult, Jean worked as a switchboard operator for Northern States Telephone and later for Bell Telephone. Jean married Edward C. Schmidt on Nov. 9, 1957, at Congregational United Church of Christ in Minot. They made their home on a farm located in Afton Township of Ward County, south of Minot. She worked for Northwest Clinic for a time before working as a cook at South Prairie School and later at Dakota Boys Ranch. Following Edward's retirement in 1980, they moved to Minot. Edward passed away in March 1987. She continued working as a cook for Dakota Boys Ranch and later as a cook at Little Flower Catholic School.
She continued to reside in Minot until 1999, when she moved to Bismarck. In 2002, she moved to Carson to be closer to her daughter, Nancy, and her family. During this time, she served as a foster grandmother at Jeanette Myhre School in Bismarck and later at Roosevelt Public in Carson. In 2007, she resided with her brother and sister-in-law, Dale and Jan Whitson, in Mount Vernon, Wash., before moving to Jacobson Memorial Care Center in Elgin in 2008, where she received loving care from their staff.
She was an active member of Congregational United Church of Christ, Minot, where she was in the Plymouth Circle and served on various boards. She also belonged to the Afton Homemakers Club. She enjoyed cooking, baking, crocheting, and gardening. She was very proud of being an identical twin and of the special bond she shared with her sister, Jane. She had a wonderful gift of remembering unique things about people she met. Even with her declining health, she kept her witty personality. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.
Surviving family includes: children, Gordon (Cheryl) Whitson, Pasco, Wash., Mark (Lillian) Schmidt, Sturgis, S.D., and Nancy Bolte, Carson; grandchildren, Carrie Beltz, Marshal and Austin Bolte; great-granddaughters, Jordan and Lauren Beltz; stepgranddaughters, Kelly and Misty Dubray; stepgreat-granddaughters, Winona Werlinger and Lily Rose Sherman; twin sister, Jane (Arnold) Erber, Glenburn; sister-in-law, Jan Whitson, Mount Vernon, Wash.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jean was preceded in death by: her parents; husband, Edward; brother and sister-in-law, Dale and Ione Whitson; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Lena and Harold Arndt; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Andrew and Mabel Schmidt Saugstad; niece, Elaine Whitson; nephews, Darrel and John Erber and Duane Arndt; and a dear cousin, Donna Demaree.
Funeral: Friday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. at Congregational United Church of Christ, Minot.
Interment: Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot.
Visitation: Today, Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).