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Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary

6464 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, MO

OBITUARY

Jean Lucille Kiger

November 10, 1925July 15, 2020
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Born Jean Lucille Hoffman on November 10, 1925, Jean Kiger went to her heavenly home Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at Treyton Oak Towers in Louisville, KY at the age of 94.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Ray “Chuck” Kiger. She is survived by her daughters Linda Ross (Jeff) of Louisville, KY and Jill Akins of St. Louis, MO, two grandsons, Brian Ross of Folly Beach, SC, Jason Ross (Lauren) and 2 great-grandchildren, Abigail and Jackson, from Louisville.

She graduated from Cleveland High School in St. Louis, Class of January 1943. She was a member of Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, KY and a former long-time member of Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO. She spent almost 60 years caring for babies at both churches.

She retired in 1992 from 25 years of service at Brown Shoe Co. She loved to travel and enjoyed making quilts, crocheting, crafting, card playing, Wii bowling, and reading.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Treyton Oak Towers for their love, compassion and exceptional care. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to: Walnut Street Baptist Church Children’s Ministry, 1143 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40203; Treyton Oak Towers Foundation, 211 W. Oak St., Louisville, KY 40203; Third Baptist Church Women’s Missionary Society OR the Third Baptist Church Sasser Relief Fund at 620 N. Grand, St. Louis, MO 63103.

Visitation will be Monday, August 3 from 9-10am, with a Memorial Service at 10am at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary 6464 Chippewa Street 63109. Interment immediately following the services at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Call for COVID regulations 314-832-7770.

The service will be live streamed on Facebook at Linda Sue Kiger Ross page.

Please leave a favorite memory of Jean for her family to cherish at the "Add a Memory" link below.

Services

  • Memorial Visitation - Monday

    Monday, August 3, 2020

  • Memorial Service - Monday

    Monday, August 3, 2020

  • Inurnment - Monday

    Monday, August 3, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Memories

Jean Lucille Kiger

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Pam Krause

August 3, 2020

Jill and Linda,
Your mom was such a sweet, caring and talented person. She was a large part of my wonderful teenage years at Third Baptist Church. Your mom and dad were responsible for my learning to water ski. Your mom hosted a bridal shower for me and always made beautiful cakes and all kinds of good food. I still use her quiche recipe. Mostly I appreciated her ability to see the humor in everyday life. That was a gift!

Juanita Wallis

August 2, 2020

My deepest sympathy and love to the family. She will dearly be missed . She was a witty, lovely lady and a very special friend to many. We shared so much together . We worked side by side in the Chuch Nursery for 15 years. She taught me how to crochet baby caps and make surgery pillows for the hospital which I am still doing. Our daughters are best friends. They were roommates in college and in each other's wedding, giving us the best kind of memories.

Paul Sandman

July 31, 2020

Sweet, generous, and witty lady. It was always a joy to be in her company. Jean was a wonderful and loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She will be missed. Blessings to all her family at this time.

Chelli Faletti

July 27, 2020

Jean was the best neighbor anyone could ask for in St Louis. We loved her dearly! She was “Grandma Jean” to our daughter and she was so sweet to her. She kept a beautiful yard with lots of gorgeous flowers. She was a hoot to talk to! So much energy and always so nice!
She made her a beautiful quilt that we will always cherish. We know she is in heaven!!

Jack Foristal

July 27, 2020

Jill and Family,
Trina and I are so sorry for your loss. Your mom lived a wonderful long life blessed with a great family! Prayers for all of you. Jack, Trina & Family

Christina Meyer

July 27, 2020

So sorry for the loss of your sweet and dear mother. Prayers love and hugs for your whole family.

Vince McDonough

July 17, 2020

Our prayers for the entire Kiger family. I have fond memories of Jean from our wonderful years at Woerner Elementary School in St. Louis. Our parents played a pivotal role in making our Woerner education and involvement so meaningful, foundational and fun.

Patty Houchin

July 17, 2020

Praying for you in your loss of your Mom, Linda and Jill, and for the rest of the family. I loved your Mom! She was always so sweet, kind and funny!
I have so many great memories of our time at Third together. And our outings in your boat......That is where I learned how to ski! Your Mom took such good care of our children when they were in the nursery. Never a worry with your Mom taking care of them!
Love you so much!

Linda Roos

July 17, 2020

What a wonderful, faithful woman, and a life well lived.

Denise Woodside Murray

July 17, 2020

What a wonderful woman! It was a privilege and a joy to know her as far back as I can remember. Heaven is richer today.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Born Jean Lucille Hoffman on November 10, 1925, Jean Kiger went to her heavenly home Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at Treyton Oak Towers in Louisville, KY at the age of 94.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Ray “Chuck” Kiger. She is survived by her daughters Linda Ross (Jeff) of Louisville, KY and Jill Akins of St. Louis, MO, two grandsons, Brian Ross of Folly Beach, SC, Jason Ross (Lauren) and 2 great-grandchildren, Abigail and Jackson, from Louisville.

She graduated from Cleveland High School in St. Louis, Class of January 1943. She was a member of Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, KY and a former long-time member of Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO. She spent almost 60 years caring for babies at both churches.

She retired in 1992 from 25 years of service at Brown Shoe Co. She loved to travel and enjoyed making quilts, crocheting, crafting, card playing, Wii bowling, and reading.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Treyton Oak Towers for their love, compassion and exceptional care.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to: Walnut Street Baptist Church Children’s Ministry, 1143 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40203; Treyton Oak Towers Foundation, 211 W. Oak St., Louisville, KY 40203; Third Baptist Church Women’s Missionary Society OR the Third Baptist Church Sasser Relief Fund at 620 N. Grand, St. Louis, MO 63103.


Family Greeting and Reflection - Linda Ross

On behalf of my sister and me, we want to welcome you here today, both those who could attend in person and those joining us on Facebook.

As I began processing pictures and memorabilia many memories flooded my brain. I think 1 of the themes that could characterize mom was the little ditty – “Make New Friends But Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other Gold”. She stayed in touch with friends, keeping up with their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Relatives, Christian Endeavor, Berean Mission, Winnebago Presbyterian church that spawned “The Girls’ Club”, Third Baptist Church, BYPU, Triangle Class, Brown Shoe Girls, Woerner Mothers’ Club, Cleveland Alumni, Walnut Streeters, Treyton Oak Tower friends – all were important to her.

Her address files recorded many birthdays and anniversaries. She loved sending and receiving cards. I have spent many hours going through card collections. For her 90th birthday the word was spread “no gifts – send a card and the funnier the better.” She kept them all. Jill, I found a bag that has every mother’s day card either of us gave her. In a recent year we each sent her the same card that was triggered by a Louisville Easter gathering where we all balanced spoons on our noses. It was a great memory.

She was a life-long learner. She loved to read and she loved to teach herself or take a class to learn a new skill – whether that was cake decorating, drawing, quilting, crocheting, needlepoint, or sewing. She worked hard to keep her mind active, regularly working crossword puzzles.

She loved to throw dinner parties. One of the annotations on her address cards included when she last entertained someone, what she served, what they liked or didn’t like. Her goal was never to serve the same thing twice to the same person. She made favors for everyone for just about any party she threw. A lot of those favors were created around Christmas in the form of ornaments. Many of those hang on my tree each Christmas.

Growing up we spent a lot of time at Lake of the Ozarks with family and friends water skiing and enjoying time together. Mom liked to watch, but she never tried to ski. She took pictures - lots of pictures. We’ve learned as we prepared the video tribute and picture boards that she’s not in almost any pictures from our days at the lake or many other childhood/teen year events because she was taking the photos.

Her love of children led her to make many quilts for baby showers. She made needlepoint name labels to hang on the assigned cribs of babies at Third Baptist Church and Walnut Street Baptist. She even made one for her walker so she could easily find hers in the walker ‘parking lot” at Treyton Oak outside the dining room. I found dozens of pictures of her babies and their parents down through the years.

As mom’s COPD got worse, she told me that when she struggled to breathe, she would wake up in the morning, look at pictures of Abby and Jackson that lined her window sill, and will herself up to grab her inhaler. She loved them so much.

She loved to travel. Her first passport was issued in 1976 so she could come visit me in England. When she retired, her doctor said “travel while you can - don’t wait.” She did, taking many trips like a retirement cruise with Dad, Aunt Ginger & Uncle Kenny. She took cruises through the Panama Canal, the Alaskan Wilderness and the fjords of Norway. Her trip to Israel was the highlight of her travels – wading in the Jordan River, visiting the Wailing Wall, wading in the Dead Sea. She took a tour of Europe with a group of her TBC travel buddies and visited Ireland on another trip. She documented her travels, keeping journals of her daily activities. On day 4 of my vigil in mom’s last days, I read to her each of her travel journals so we could enjoy again, together, her many adventures.

Volunteering was important – church, YMCA Book Fair (logging more than 100 volunteer hours), St. Alexius Hospital. Nothing slowed her down, not a shattered arm from a fall, or a bout with breast cancer or recurring blood clots.

After moving to Louisville, she immediately jumped in to take part in life at Treyton Oak. She volunteered in the store, served 2 years as secretary for the Resident council, social committees, weekly Bible studies, Wii bowling, card playing groups, attending programs and special events. She made many new friends along the way.

She loved her grandsons. She referred to her “very handsome” grandsons in notes and letters. Abby and Jackson, nothing gave her as much joy as the 2 of you. She cherished every visit, every card, every picture you made, every birthday, every special event. I’ve sometimes thought that she didn’t move to Louisville to be near me, but to be near the great-grandchildren that hadn’t been born yet.

The last 4 months have been difficult for everyone, not just us. But as the lockdowns and virus took a toll, I was called in April 28th because she was listed as “failure to thrive”. I was permitted 2 days of short visits. The first day she was half in this world and half in the next. The 2nd day I came at dinner to try to get her to eat. She started crying when she saw me “I thought you were an illusion yesterday, but it’s really you”. I fed her dinner. Then I asked if she wanted one of my homemade chocolate chip cookies, which she loved. Her response – “does a monkey have a tail?” I knew at that moment that she wasn’t going to leave us yet. In fact at that point she tested negative for Covid and was on the rebound, she beat back pneumonia and a blood clot. She started walking again; she even appeared in a short video clip about long-term care and Covid on our KET channel. But as the weeks wore on, we knew the end was coming. Jill was able to come visit with her on the Sunday before she passed away.

It was my honor and privilege to be with her as she took her last breath. As she passed, I removed her watch and said, “you’re off the clock now, Mom, you’re off the clock”.

We will miss you, Mom. We love you.


Psalm 23 – annotated – read by Jason Ross

The Lord is my Shepherd – Perfect Salvation
I shall not want – Perfect Satisfaction
He makes me lie down in green pastures – Perfect Rest
He leads me beside the still waters – Perfect Refreshment
He restores my soul – Perfect Restoration
He leads me in paths of righteousnss – Perfect Guidance
I will fear no evil – Perfect Protection
You are with me – Perfect Company
Your rod and your staff comfort me – Perfect Comfort
You prepare a table before me – Perfect Provision
You anoint my head with oil – Perfect Consecration
My cups runs over – Perfect Joy
Goodness and mercy shall follow me – Perfect Care
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever – Perfect Destiny.


Jason shared the following excerpts from letters Jean Kiger “Mawmaw” wrote to Abby and Jackson that will be given to them on their 18th birthdays.

I want to leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses:
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11
I hope this lets you know how much you are loved.

Abby says she is the best big sister sand you are the best little brother ever! One of my favorites is the one where she took your hand and walked you to your Sunday School class room.
I hope you will continue to go to a Bible study. From Proverbs 3:5 and 6 we read “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Love you very much,
Mawmaw

Jan. 14, 2017

Jean Kiger Eulogy – by Jeff Ross, August 3, 2020

I hit the mother-in-law jackpot when I married Linda over 41 years ago and got Jean in the deal for free. I have to admit that I was at first a little intimidated by Jean. Linda and I had gotten engaged during my junior and her senior year at William Jewell College and we went to St. Louis for a “meet the in-laws-to-be” weekend and to inform them of our engagement.

They were, of course, very gracious and welcoming, but I was still intimidated by them both. Chuck could have beaten skinny little me to a pulp with his wooden leg if he wanted, and Jean seemed so strait-laced, so prim and proper. I figured I could outrun Chuck, but I wasn’t at all sure I could outsmart Jean if push came to shove. 42 years later I now know beyond all doubt I could never outsmart Jean. The lady was sharp!

As the years passed and we had so many wonderful times together, my original intimidation gave way long ago to admiration, appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving for who she was as a person, as Mom, Grandma, Mawmaw, friend, and as a fellow believer in Christ. There are so many positive things I could say about Jean, but I’m going to focus on 3 that jump foremost to mind as the qualities I will always remember with a smile.

One is that Jean had a wonderful sense of humor. She was just flat-out funny! She enjoyed laughing and I cherish the memories of her burying her head in her hand, closing her eyes and bouncing a little as she silently laughed at whatever struck her funny. She would tell us stories of things happening at her retirement home, Treyton Oak Towers. Some of the things she’d share would just be the fun times and goofiness of fellow retirees enjoying one another. Some of what she laughed at was driven by the realities of growing old. And if someone was beginning to act and talk more than a little crazy as they got up there in years, she would just say, “She’s as looney as she can be.” She didn’t mince words.

For years, Jean would regularly send us humorous emails. I kept them all and went back a few years in preparation for this eulogy and laughed at a several things she sent, like the photos of signs on restaurants and funny memes that said things like:

•No senior citizen discounts: You’ve had twice as long to get the money.
•Push. If that doesn’t work, pull. If that doesn’t work, we must be closed.
•This business guarded by shotgun 3 days a week. You guess which 3.
•Teach your kids about taxes. Eat 30% of their ice cream.
•My daughter wants a Cinderella-themed party, so I invited all her friends over and made them clean my house.
•I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may update your Facebook status.

Jean’s humor came through cards she would send on birthdays and other occasions. She sometimes used her creativity to write a short poem to include with the card. Many times the card itself was funny. Linda found one she sent to her friend Norma in 2000 that has a caricature of an old lady on the front and it says, “Once a sex symbol, always a sex symbol.” On the inside, it says, “What a relief it is to know we have nothing to worry about! Happy birthday.” It was signed, “Jean 2000.” Then her friend Norma sent it back to her in 2001 on Jean’s birthday, crossing out Jean’s name and signing her own and adding “2001.” And so the tradition began and every year the card went through the mail twice as they added their name and the year until its final trip from Norma to Jean in 2014. They would occasionally add a post-it note on the inside. The top one says, “Aren’t you glad wrinkles don’t hurt!”
So I appreciate Jean’s humor that she carried with her throughout all of her days.

In addition to her humor, I am thankful for Jean’s extreme love and devotion to her family. She loved her daughters, Linda and Jill, and really would do anything that she thought was needed and good for them. When her grandsons, Brian and Jason, came along, she cherished the role of Grandma. Linda and I perhaps faded a little in importance after that because, after all, grandchildren are far more fun than children. The things she made for Brian and Jason, the time she spent with them, the photos of them she cherished the rest of her life – all these point to her love of family that never wavered.

Then if we fast forward to another generation, the addition of having Abby and Jackson as great grandchildren was a joy beyond description to Jean. She marveled at both the beauty and behaviors and fun times she enjoyed with Abby and Jack. She took great pleasure in seeing things she made for Brian and Jason like a card table tent and the blue alphabet book we have with us today enjoyed by Abby and Jackson a generation later.

It was always a pleasure to have Jean with us at my family’s gatherings at my parents’ farm in Winchester, KY or at my daughter-in-law, Lauren’s, family gatherings in Louisville whether for a random dinner together or one of our annual traditions like Polar Express Night where we all wore pajamas and drank hot chocolate and watched the movie.

I don’t think there is anything Jean would have said “no” to if asked for the good of her family. She loved us. She was extremely generous toward us. We are indebted forever to her and eternally thankful to God for that example of what it means to be a wonderful Mom, Grandma, Mawmaw and mother-in-law.
The third and final quality I want to call out and praise Jean for is the most significant because it is eternal in nature, and that is Jean’s faith in Jesus Christ. Jean knew the Lord and lived her life in faithful service to him. She was not a Christian in name only, but as a deep matter of the heart.

Jean joined Third Baptist Church in St. Louis in 1952 at the age of 26. She was a faithful member until moving to Louisville in 2007 where she joined Walnut Street Baptist Church. In both churches, she loved serving in the children’s ministry, continuing to sit in the nursery to care for her great-grandchildren until she was 90. The photo inside your program today is of her with Abby and Jackson in the nursery at Walnut Street. Anyone who works with children in church for over 60 years is surely a saint of the highest order.

What really impresses me about Jean’s faith is that she was so incredibly consistent in all the 42 years I knew her. She didn’t waffle and have good days and bad days as a follower of Christ. She knew what she believed and why she believed it. She loved the Lord. She loved his Word. She loved his church. She lived in accordance with what the Word of God teaches day in and day out with a consistency that I can only envy but never duplicate.

Jean loved reading inspirational and educational Christian books. She loved great preaching and couldn’t tolerate mediocre Bible study or worship. She faithfully tithed to the church through her final Social Security check and would not remotely consider failing to give less than that 10% tithe back to the Lord from whom all blessings flow.

Her faith and love compelled her to serve others through the church and elsewhere. She made hundreds of crocheted baby hats that were distributed through Missouri Baptist Hospital. She made quilts for the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of friends and family. She served for 8 years volunteering at St. Alexius Hospital in the chaplain’s office. At Treyton Oak she loved volunteering in the general store. She assisted with the Infant Resource Project at Walnut Street helping to supply baby clothes, diapers, and needed items to new moms. All of these were in addition to her 60+ years of children’s ministry in her two beloved churches. Jean was a giver, especially to children.

Jean’s faith was incorporated into her love of travel, including the Holy Land among her many journeys with church family and friends. The olive wood nativity set that graces our mantel each Christmas was a gift that Jean brought back to us from that trip. The photos of her riding the camel in the slide show was one of her great memories from the trip.

Jean was an excellent student of the Bible. To her, the Bible wasn’t just something to sit on a shelf at home. It was to be read and understood and cherished and hidden in one’s heart that we might not sin against God. In fact, she passed along to us a few months ago this set of Bible study notes she made while she was still Jean Hoffman. She hadn’t yet married Chuck when she wrote this. I don’t know who graded it, but she got an A+ on it. It’s on “Bible Numerics” and looks at numeric structures in the Bible – things like uses of various numbers throughout the Bible and what they mean.

For example, in the section of her notes about the number one in the Bible, she writes that it is a symbol of divine unity and then she wrote: “one God, one Bible, one way to be saved, one human race, one church, one Spirit, one hope, one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one chosen nation, one Satan, one mediator.” She notes the oneness of God’s promises from Joshua 23 and the one thing most needful – knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ – from Luke 10.
Jean’s faith was real. It is eternal. And because of that, her faith has now become sight. What she saw through a glass dimly this side of heaven has become crystal clear and she now sees perfectly. What was until July 15 a confident assurance of one day seeing her Lord face to face is now a precious reality.
In one of Jean’s notebooks, she wrote out Psalm 73:26 – “My health may fail and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart. He is mine forever.”

Jean was ready to be with her Lord. She was ready to put behind her the days of failing health, COPD, poor hearing and eyesight. She was ready to say goodbye to occasional falls and painful woes that come with old age.

I love the description that Randy Alcorn uses in his book The Treasure Principle where he tells people this: Imagine that your time on this earth in all its entirety is one tiny little dot up on a wall. All of your years fit within that dot. Even Jean’s 94.5 years fit within that dot. Then stretching out from that dot and going all the way around the room and then looping over and over again and never ending – that is eternity. Our time on this earth is but a tiny dot at the start of a never-ending line. Alcorn tells us to live for the line, not the dot. Jean lived for the line of eternity and not just for the dot of the present. All who turn from their sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ will live with him in joy throughout that never-ending line.

When Jean retired after 25 years of work at Brown Shoe Company, she wrote a poem. Most of the verses would only be meaningful to those at Brown Shoe because they dealt with daily work specifics and inside jokes that only her work colleagues would understand. But the first and last verses of that poem apply to our time here today, so I close with Jean’s own words from 1992:

I’ll miss you all more than you’ll know
But I feel that it is time to go.
I’ll miss the parties and the fun
And celebrating birthdays with everyone.

“Must have tomorrow sure”
Will be a thing of the past.
The rat race for me
Is over at last!

Indeed, the trials of this life have passed for Jean. Those of us left behind for now mourn because we’d rather have her with us than to be separated. But if our focus is on that long line of eternity and not just the tiny dot of time we now experience, we realize that it won’t be long at all before all of God’s children are gathered to him in a new heaven and a new earth and there we shall be forever and ever, time without end, amen.

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