Jessie “Jeanie” Emojean (Lell) Nesler, 98, of La Porte, Indiana went home to heaven on Thursday, October 6, 2022. She is survived by her daughter, Clare Nesler Alexander; son-in-law, David Alexander; granddaughter, Elise Alexander Kunkel; grandson-in-law, Raun Kunkel; great-grandchildren, Amelia, Silas, and Harrison Kunkel; and countless cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Jeanie was born on December 21, 1923 in Senath, Missouri to William Henry and Ella (Barns) Lell. She is preceded in death by her husband, Clarence Junior Nesler; son, Robert Earl; mother; father; and siblings. She had six siblings - 2 sisters, Rhoda and Wanda, and 4 brothers, Buster, Hap, Earl and Bill. She often spoke of all the fun she would have with Buster and Hap, who were close in age to her.
After the death of her mother, Jeanie began working full-time as a maid and nanny in order to help contribute to the family’s finances during the Great Depression. Later, Jeanie moved to St. Louis in 1940 where she met her husband, Clarence, on a blind date with another couple. They married just four months later.
Jeanie faced much adversity in her early life. Not only did her mother pass away when she was just 12 years old, but Jeanie gave birth to a stillborn son and then became a widow when she was nine months pregnant with Clare, due to a tragic car accident that killed Clarence and his brother, Harley. Jeanie relied heavily on her faith in Jesus to carry her through these life altering events. She came from great poverty of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s and worked hard to rise above her circumstances to provide a good life for Clare and herself.
No one could argue that Jeanie was always a hard worker. Throughout her life she held a number of jobs including field worker, maid, nanny, WWII factory worker and many other jobs. In 1963. she moved herself and her daughter from St. Louis to Evanston, Illinois. There she found a rewarding career working in life insurance at Washington National, where she worked for 27 years, ultimately to the position of assistant manager. Through this journey from field worker to executive, Jeanie always remained humble and remembered where she came from, and the ways God’s faithfulness had sustained her.
Jeanie moved to La Porte, Indiana in 1990 to be close to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. She was a doting grandmother and lived with Clare and David during Elise‘s childhood, running her to after school activities, baking for every school bake sale, and giving all of her love.
She was a very active member of her church, Calvary Baptist of La Porte. She spent many years serving as church treasurer and helped wherever was needed, from teaching Sunday school and assisting in the nursery to making delicious dishes for church potlucks and special dinners.
Jeanie often said that her later years were her best years, when she really came out of her shell. In her 80’s Jeanie lent her voice to many singing groups, including the local senior singing group the “Fun Follies,” and could often be seen at open mic nights at Temple News Agency, “Jam Nights” throughout the area counties and “Singspiration” gatherings at her church. She found great joy in playing the autoharp, which she taught herself to play at the age of 83.
Second to her faith, family is what Jeanie held most dear. She deeply loved her close family and was generous with hugs and cuddles, often reminding her great grandchildren that a “real” hug means you have to squeeze “real” hard! Even into her 90’s, she was most at home and happy with a baby on her lap.
Jeanie will be remembered for many things, but mostly for her great words of wisdom, her beautiful prayers, her famous fried chicken, rich singing harmonies and her bright spirit. She has been the matriarch of all matriarchs and all who had the honor of knowing her are better for it. She will be remembered as a “Good Ole Girl” for generations to come.
A time of visitation will be held from 11 a.m. (CST) until the start of the Celebration of Life Service at 1p.m. (CST) on October 13, 2022, at Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2900 Monroe St., La Porte. Burial will follow at Pine Lake Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the family c/o Elise Kunkel, 2900 Monroe Street, La Porte, IN 46350 or to the donor’s choice. Condolences may be shared with the family on www.cutlercares.com.
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:29-31 NIV