Jeanette Rachel (Headington) Rod, 90, died peacefully of age-related causes in the early hours of October 17th at Palouse Hills Assisted Living facility in Moscow. She was surrounded the whole week preceding her death by the love of her family as well as the caregivers at Palouse Hills.
Jeanette was born on the family farm near Decorah, Iowa, on May 28, 1930. Her parents, Julia and Floyd Headington, were happy to welcome their new baby girl, especially because they had only produced boys so far – Lloyd, Hugh, Roger, Wesley, Doug, and Curtis. They continued to live on the farm for five years, but after Jeanette had had a brush with death falling out of the hay mow at 3 years old, and then a terrible fire consumed their large dairy barn, the family moved into Decorah, where many of their extended family lived. Jeanette attended the public schools there, graduating from Decorah High School in 1948. She had a beautiful singing voice and was chosen to sing “Over the Rainbow” at her graduation ceremony.
She then attended Luther College for a semester, but left school to marry Marvin Rod in January of 1949. They had six children and eventually made Waverly, Iowa, their home in 1959. The Lutheran Church there was central to their family and all of the children attended St. Paul’s Christian Day School. Jeanette was the mom who made all the bread for their lunches, copious cookies and cupcakes for school functions, and beautifully decorated cakes for so many birthdays. One of her dessert specialties was the lemon meringue pie that graced the end of every pot roast dinner and holiday celebration. She bestowed cakes and other cooking kindnesses on families new to town and others who just needed help.
When Jeanette and Marvin divorced in the mid-1970s, Jeanette moved to the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area where she took business classes and LPN training. She worked as a caregiver for families, a nursing aid for elders, and then settled into a job which she loved at the University of Northern Iowa -- being a house-mother for a boy’s dorm. The students loved her and she loved them.
Jeanette enjoyed going to antique fairs and thrift shops and sipping soda water in bars with her best friends, Donna and Darlene. She loved gardening in the big backyard of her mobile home, and driving to visit her mother in Decorah or relatives in Wisconsin. As her adult children started migrating to Idaho, Jeanette enjoyed taking Amtrak or the bus out west to visit them.
In 2010, when she was 80, Jeanette moved to Idaho to join her children who had all moved there. She made her home in Moscow, where her two daughters are, and so close to Coeur d’Alene, where all “the boys” live. Over the past 10 years, she and her family have enjoyed countless holidays and celebrations together. She made lasting friends through The Crossing Church, and was also warmly embraced by the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, her daughters’ church.
Jeanette was a memorable personality who had a beaming smile. She was particularly kind to anyone she saw having a hard time. She was funny and had a quick wit and loved to laugh. Family meant everything to her.
She is survived by her two daughters in Moscow, Rebecca Rod (and Theresa), and Jennifer Rod; and her four sons in Coeur d’Alene, Randy Rod (and Sue), Doug Rod (and Reedy), Kevin Rod, and Mike Rod; six grandchildren, and thirteen grandchildren.
All of Jeanette’s family are especially thankful to Palouse Hills Assisted Living and Kindred Hospice for the wonderful care of their mother during the last year of her life.
Her life will be celebrated by her family soon with a pot roast dinner and, of course, lemon pie.
To send flowers to Jeanette's family, please visit our floral store.