Helen ‘Jean’ Clem

October 4, 2018

Jean Clem

Dakota Dunes

Helen Jean (Smith) Clem, 79, of Dakota Dunes, passed away Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at her residence after a courageous two-year battle with colon cancer.

Memorial services will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Meyer Brothers Morningside Chapel.

Jean was born on June 21, 1939, in Long Pine, Neb., to William C. and Helen Virginia (Lindberg) Smith Jr. Jean attended Long Pine School through the second grade. Jean’s family then moved to Ainsworth, Neb., where she attended Ainsworth schools. She graduated from Ainsworth High School in 1956. Jean attended Grinnell College from the fall of 1956 until June of 1958, when she transferred to the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa). Jean was active in a number of campus activities at both schools including the YWCA. Jean was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority at the University of Iowa. In June 1960, Jean graduated with a double major in elementary education and sociology from the University of Iowa.

While attending Grinnell College, Jean met Bob Clem on a blind date. On Aug. 23, 1959, Jean and Bob were married at the Congregational Church in Ainsworth. Jean and Bob were blessed with three sons, David Alan, James Robert and Steven Charles. In January 1961, she began her teaching career at Franklin Grade School, and later at McKinley Grade School in Sioux City. Jean took a break from teaching while raising their three boys. Jean later became the director of the preschool at Calvary Episcopal Church in Sioux City for 12 years. She also was a substitute teacher for both the Sioux City Community Schools and Sergeant Bluff Community Schools.

Jean was active in many organizations and clubs throughout her life. She was a member of American Association of University Women (including Book Bandwagon), served on the board of Boys and Girls Home, Sioux City Retired Educators, Sioux City Education Association, den mother for Cub Scouts, PEO (Chapters JG and EY) and Traveler’s Book Club. Jean was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Sioux City for 58 years, where she served on multiple boards and commissions.

Jean loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and friends. Her love of reading began at an early age and was passed down to her children and grandchildren. She loved talking about books and would never pass up an opportunity to share a good book or point one out to a stranger while shopping. She and Bob loved traveling abroad, spending winters in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala. and summer vacations with family and friends at The Villa on West Lake Okoboji and the family cabin in Spearfish Canyon, S.D. Jean was generous and giving and will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.

She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Robert; sons, Dave (Jill) Clem of Sioux City, Jim (Marilyn) Clem of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Steve Clem of West Saint Paul, Minn.; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brother, Robert Smith of Norfolk Neb.; aunt, Donna Lindberg of California; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and father and mother-in-law, A.D. and Wilma Clem.

The family would like to thank the nurses, staff, doctors and chaplains at Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the charity/organization of your choice.

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