Jean Shimunek

Alton | Friday, May 27 2022 |

Jean Elizabeth Shimunek (nee Marsh), passed away in the early morning hours on May 27, 2022, with her loving husband, Rick, by her side. Her unexpected and hard-fought battle with cancer took her far too quickly from those who loved her.  Jeanie was born in Alton on June 22, 1948, to Alice (Bartlett) and Royal Marsh.  Apart from her college years, she lived her whole life in Alton and Godfrey. Jeanie and Rick fulfilled a dream of building a home on the ancestral farm of her maternal great-grandparents, Charles and Elizabeth Bartlett.  Living on this beautiful property brought Jeanie great joy as well as a spiritual connection to her heritage. She valued familial history and her research into the genealogy on both her maternal and paternal sides led to a recent induction into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). 

Jeanie had an innate love for the beauty of nature. She lived her life with integrity and simplicity in tune with the earth, much like her father, Roy, and her husband, Rick. Jeanie loved to walk and hike the prairie and woods around her home as well as the local nature preserves. A dedicated steward of the earth, she and Rick turned their farm fields into pollinator fields to encourage this essential ecological function.

 An avid gardener, Jeanie grew from seed a bountiful array of herbs and vegetables.  If you visited her at home during the growing season, you would likely leave with a bouquet of wildflowers or herbs, a variety of vegetables, or even a homegrown loofah.

After earning her master’s degree in library science nearly 20 years ago, Jeanie held the position of Head of Reference at Hayner Public Library.  She loved her job and the creativity it allowed her to express and share with the community.  Her bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from the University of Illinois combined beautifully with this position.  At the library, Jeanie created countless classes for patrons ranging from pizza gardening to seed and plant sharing to the most recent, the Walking Book Club, which sadly she was unable to lead.  Jeanie loved learning and her spirit led her to share with others her knowledge of the beauty of the earth.

Jean leaves behind a family who will treasure her memory and miss her deeply:

Soulmate to her husband, Rick, for nearly 50 years, loving mother to Andrew (Oyumaa) and Thomas Shimunek, grandmother to William Shimunek, dear sister to Winnie (Larry) Streicher, Steve (Lorry) Marsh, Sara (Tim) Waterloo, fond aunt to 11 nieces and nephews, great-aunt to 18 including Lily Jean Waterloo, her newborn namesake.

Elias, Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey is entrusted with professional services.

A memorial service will take place at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Hayner Public Library, Alton, IL, or The Nature Institute, Godfrey, IL.

Online condolences and guestbook can be found at

Obit Provided By:
Elias, Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home

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