Jean Ann Prothe


November 11, 2019 - 10:08 AM

Jean Ann (See) Prothe, age 93, passed away Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, at Greystone Residential Care in Iola. 

She was born Oct. 20, 1926, in Osceola, Iowa, to Ross Emerson and Lena Flavilla (Warrington) See. Jean attended Osceola public schools graduating in 1945. She worked as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone. She married Willard (Bill) H. Prothe on Nov. 4, 1950, in Des Moines, Iowa. She died on what would have been their 69th wedding anniversary. 

Jean and Bill lived in Des Moines, Iowa, where their daughter Cydney was born; Hampton, Iowa, where their daughter Connie was born, and Latimer, Iowa. Then Bill was transferred to Emporia, Paola, and Iola. While in Iola, Jean had several different jobs from mom to homemaker to working at Lewis Paint, Montgomery Wards, and Eyler’s Drug. In 1973, they were sent to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jean lived there until 1986. 

Jean and Bill enjoyed golfing with friends, Bob and Betty Sandre, while in South Dakota. In 1986, they traveled to Scotland and played St. Andrews. After Bill’s death in 1986, Jean returned to Iola and took on the full-time job spoiling her daughter and granddaughters. Jean’s way of spoiling her daughter was to make her lunch, which she did for 33 years. She enjoyed traveling. She went on many bus tours with her friends, traveling all over the country. She traveled extensively in Europe and made several family trips to Hawaii. She enjoyed going to Kansas City for dinner theater and shopping. A highlight of the year was the annual girls’ trip to Branson for shopping. Jean was an avid bridge player, playing in three bridge groups. In addition, she enjoyed knitting and reading. Jean was known for her fiery and independent spirit. If you needed to talk to her, you had to call her on Sunday morning before she went to church  because that was the only time you could guarantee she would be home. 

Jean volunteered for many organizations. You could find her most Friday afternoons as a Gray Lady at the Allen County Hospital. She volunteered there for 32 years, retiring in December 2018. She also volunteered at Hospice and delivered food from Grace Lutheran Church for the Iola Community Pantry. 

She was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church as well as their women’s group. She served as treasurer of Beta Sigma Phi sorority for many years before it became Harmony Society. Jean was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. 

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Ross in 1965 and Lena in 1989. Jean was also preceded in death by her husband, Bill Prothe in 1986 and her sister, Betty (See) James in 2009. 

She leaves behind her daughters, Cydney (Prothe) Willis and husband Brian of Manhattan, Connie (Prothe) Rutledge and husband Ron of Iola; granddaughters, Andrea (Rutledge) Works and husband James of Humboldt, Gretchen Rutledge of Overland Park; grandson, Matthew Willis and wife Jessica of Fayetteville, N.C.; great-granddaughters, Britnee, Ashlynn and Kendall Works, all of Humboldt; nephew, William (Bill) Kipper of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and niece, Theresa (Kipper) Hall of Gardner; and beloved cats, Lucky and Dallie. She loved spending time with her family and pets. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Jean’s favorite charities: ACARF and the Iola Community Pantry. You know what she would have said about having flowers. 

A memorial service to honor Jean’s life will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church, Iola. The family will greet friends one hour prior to the service time at the church. 

You may send your condolences to the family at 


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