January 6, 1926 – Friday, September 23, 2016
St. Michael Catholic Church-St. Michael, MN
Tues., September 27th, 2016
AT THE CHURCH
Tues., September 27th, 2016
9:00 a.m until time of Mass
Genevieve Frankie (Markling) “Jean” Aydt, age 90, of Monticello/St. Michael passed from complications of Alzheimer’s. She was born January 6, 1926 and died September 23, 2016.
At only 5’2” tall, she was a beautiful and formidable force of power. Highly intelligent, creative, resourceful, and hardworking, she was a progressive trailblazer for women born in the 20s and 30s. And she was an inspiration and role model to three generations of women who followed in her footsteps.
Today, we invite you to celebrate with us Jean’s rich life and accomplishments. Like many born in the mid-1920s, leading up to the start of the Great Depression, she had to overcome great hardship. At the age of 10, to help her parents in Monticello Minnesota put food on the table for her 5 younger siblings, Jean scrubbed floors, cooked and did laundry for other families, earning only 25 cents a week. Families commented and appreciated her strong work ethic, and by age 14, she was hired by the local drugstore in Monticello to run counter sales. She balanced her work ethic with a fierce passion for big band music and swing dance.
When not in school or working, you might find Jean tearing up the local dance floors in Monticello, Buffalo, St. Michael, Maple Lake, Rogers or Waverly. She had many male suitors who appreciated her keen sense of humor, feminine curvaceous form, and ability to follow any dance with grace. One man in particular, Austin Aydt — a handsome young farmer from St. Michael — fancied her and won her heart. After several months of dating, Austin realized how strongly he felt about her. Wanting to be sure of his feelings, he told her they needed to “take a break.” Hurt by his request, Jean reacted by applying for a job with the FBI in Washington DC. After taking many aptitude tests and interviews, she was offered a job. Not ready to move alone to the East coast, she instead accepted a job offer working as a “Rosie the Riveter” welder for Kaiser Shipyards in Portland, Oregon. She had an aunt there with whom she lived.
Austin wrote her love letters most every day. Nine months later, while welding high up on scaffolding, Jean fell and broke her ribs. She was sent back to Minnesota on a Greyhound Bus. Austin met her at the bus station with a diamond engagement ring and proposed! Several months later, at age 19, they married.
Deeply in love and sharing their strong Catholic faith, they soon had ten children. While Austin worked several jobs, Jean stayed home to tend to the children. You can imagine the endless cooking, heaps of laundry, and constant cleaning. Jean took pride in having a beautiful and well-maintained home. She planted huge vegetable gardens and had a love for flowers. She taught all the children how to cook, bake, clean, preserve fruits and vegetables, sew – yes, even the boys had to patch their own clothes. Once the older children reached their teen years and could help out with the babies, Jean took a job driving school bus for Barthel Bus Company.
Many St. Michael residents might remember Jean from her many years tending bar, one of the few evening jobs available in a small farming town. She started at Lowell Zachman’s bar and the St. Michael Dance Hall, then at Cletus Barthel’s Corner Bar and finally at Eddie’s for Eddie Weber. She loved working with the public; and customers from all around Wright County appreciated her sharp wit and sense of humor.
Once all their children were in school, Jean took on a day job as the Manager for the Independent Lumber Company in St. Michael. Always ambitious, she then accepted a position at Reserve Supply in Fridley where she
provided administrative support to senior executives. From there, she went to work for FMC, and finally at age 65 she joined Builders Carpet in St. Michael. She worked at Builders where everyone called her “Grandma Jean” until age 81!
Jean wasn’t only about hard work. She had many hobbies, including being an avid fisherman and hunter. Summer evenings you could find her with her family at Beebe Lake, catching bullheads, crappies and sunfish, which she would fry up the next morning for breakfast. Deer hunting was also one of her passions, hunting with Austin and several of her children. She enjoyed arts and crafts, puzzles, cards, and singing with the Riverside Ramblers.
Jean was all about family, always putting their needs first. She was not only a devoted mother, but also a gracious grandmother of 19 grandchildren. She loved hosting holiday celebrations and was always more than generous. For those grandchildren that lived close by, she enjoyed babysitting as well as going to their school concerts and athletic events. She would take some of them to sport practices. As her grandchildren grew and married, she had the joy of holding and loving 39 great-grandchildren! At Christmas time, Jean would rent the Monticello V.F.W. hall to host her family of over 80 members. Those gatherings gave her great pleasure.
Jean was also actively involved in the Catholic Church and community. She sang in the St. Michael church choir for over 65 years and volunteered her services. She also was very active at the Monticello Nursing Home, where she volunteered several days a week calling Bingo for the residents among other tasks.
After her retirement she frequented the Monticello Community Center where she learned Bridge, played weekly and also was a “hotshot” on the pool table.
Jean and Austin celebrated 66 years of marriage. After Austin’s passing in 2011, Jean’s quality of life and happiness began to decline as a result of Alzheimer’s. While it is difficult to witness a loved one going through the stages of this disease, we all appreciate the time we had with this amazing woman.
Jean is survived by 10 children: Jeff (Joyce) Aydt, Linda Aydt, Amy Rogers, Patty (Bob) Lenneman, Terri Weber, Nancy Betts, Bill (Barb) Aydt, Mary (Bob) Randall, Judy (Darius) Stuart and Lois (Steve) Hensel; 19 grandchildren & 38 great grandchildren; a sister: Marium Feather; brothers: Floyd (Pat) Markling, Omer (Judy) Markling, Walt (Pat) Markling and Bob (Dorothy) Markling; sister-in-law: Bernice Aydt; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Austin Aydt, parents Frank & Bessie (Parker) Markling, sons-in-law: Michael Maas & Jerome “Fuzz” Weber and by a daughter-in-law Rena Aydt. The family held a Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, September 27th at the St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, MN. Jean will be deeply missed by her family, friends, neighbors and relatives.