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Jean Hayden

After living a glorious 96 years, Jean Hayden passed away Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, at Bethany Riverside in La Crosse.

She was born June 19, 1922, in Oak Park, Ill., where she grew up loving the outdoors. She attended Northwestern University as a voice major where she met the love of her life, Kenneth Hayden, whom she married Oct. 10, 1947. She embarked on a promising career in opera, but chose to leave the spotlight for her dream of a family. She and Ken built a house in Winnetka, Ill., where they raised two daughters, Holly and Melissa, in a home full of love and music. Jean was the soloist at First Church of Christ Scientist in Evanston, Ill., for many years, and also taught voice. Once the girls were in Junior High, Jean decided to pursue her passion for education, graduating from The National College of Education in Evanston, with a teaching certificate. She taught at Avoca Elementary School for 32 years, before retiring and moving to sunny Santa Barbara, Calif., to explore her next passion, art. While in Santa Barbara, she volunteered as a docent for the Botanical Gardens and was involved in projects supporting various historical buildings and museums.

In 2008, Jean moved back to the Midwest to be closer to family and to continue her dedication to the Arts, whether it be water colors, charcoal, or music. She also continued giving her time to others as a volunteer. Jean served as a source of inspiration to countless people everywhere she went, and she will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her two daughters, Holly (Tom) Marks and Melissa (Tom) Garson; grandchildren, Heather (Patrick) Thommen, Evan Marks, Kenneth (Shaunta) Marks, Kelsey and Tyler (Grace) Marks, also Kenny and Ryan Garson; and many great-grandchildren.

Thank you to Gundersen and Bethany Riverside for making her last days as comfortable as possible. Thank you to her many art friends, especially Pam and Jean, for their never-ending kindness to our Mom.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials or donations can be made to La Crosse Pump House Regional Arts, or the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. Online guestbook is available at

the life of: Jean Hayden
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