James Donald Jessen
Don was born March 18, 1922, to John and Lula (Fisher) Jessen on the family farm near Bouton, Iowa. He was welcomed by sisters, Maxine, Mildred, and Pauline. He attended country schools and Woodward High School. He was baptized in a small country church in southern Iowa. He married Bette Marie Cooper on July 18, 1942, and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Don and Bette raised three children, John, Drue, and Charles, and lived in or around Woodward until Bette’s passing.
Don was a member of the Woodward Christian Church where he served as an elder and chair of the congregation. This past summer he received a certificate recognizing his 70 years of continuous membership in the Woodward American Legion Post. He often served in the color guard for Memorial Day observances. Don was a member of the B.P.O. Elks of Perry and later of West Des Moines, helping with many breakfasts and some youth activities at the state fair. He enjoyed dancing, and playing bridge, cribbage, and other card games. He spent many hours watching the stock market, and speculating on his next purchase.
Preceding Don in death were his wife Bette, his parents, his sisters and their husbands, Bette’s siblings and their spouses, two grandsons, Kevin Menz and Joshua Jessen, nephews, Larry, David, and Les, nieces, Patti and Barbara, and longtime friend, Doris Stamatelos.
Left to mourn his passing are children, John and Martha Jessen of Des Moines, Drue and Don Cavanaugh of Grimes and Charles and Janet Menz of Three Rivers, MI. Also he leaves seven grandchildren: Jeremy (Janel) Jessen, Stephanie (Monty) Knupp, Corby (Zeke) Roberts, Morgan (Jason) Hoover, Jeff (Pat) Menz, Doug (Sarah) Menz, Chris (Shannon) Menz; twenty great-grandchildren: Gibby, Derek, Ethan, Miles, Garin, Alexa, Tyler, Nick, Hannah, Dustan, Jordan, Aaron, Tanner, Griff, Joel, Jace, Rylee, Lindsey, Kristin, Austin; and four great-great grandchildren: Amelia, Ella, Sydney, and Theodore. Don also leaves cousins, Ella, Naomi and Jan, a nephew, Kynard, and a niece, Janet, as well as other extended family and many friends.
The family extends a huge thank you to the VA for the wonderful care and support given to Don through the years. They also want to thank the Bishop Drumm family for their care and friendship, and continuing support.
Funeral services will be held at Covenant Christian Church, 2700 72nd St., Urbandale, on March 17, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. with visitation one hour preceding. The ashes will then be interred at the Woodward Cemetery. Memorial gifts can be directed to the American Legion Post in Woodward or to the family.