Tuesday, June 05, 2018


Joe Felin and Caitlin Jankowsky (neé Felin)

Christopher Spreitler

Brothers John (Pete) and Joe

Siblings Rose (Holt), John and Joe

Sunday, June 03, 2018


Saturday evening after Janet's funeral mass, family members gathered at a restaurant in Idaho Falls for dinner.  It was a sad yet joyous occasion, part of the celebration of the life of a wonderful woman.
Pete (in red, wearing a cap) is in the center of the photo with daughter Nancy to his left and daughter Merri (wearing white) in front of him.  Son Kelly is directly behind Pete, partially blocked in this photo.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I am very sad to post the obituary for my brother John's (aka Pete) wife who passed away peacefully on May 26, 2018.  Below the obituary I have posted a photograph of the very young and very beautiful Janet at about age 21.  Rose F. Holt


Janet Felin neé Jensen
DECEMBER 4, 1935 – MAY 26, 2018

Obituary of Janet Felin
Janet Jensen Felin, 82, passed away on May 26, 2018, due to complications of post-polio syndrome. She died peacefully at her home in Idaho Falls, Idaho, while surrounded by her close family.
Janet was born to Roy and Gladys Jensen on Dec. 4, 1935 in Idaho Falls.

She attended Idaho Falls High School and graduated from Colorado Women's College. She earned double degrees in music and voice. During her 60-year career as a music educator she shared her passion with countless students.

In 1957, she married John (Pete) Felin at St. Mary Catholic Church in Walsenburg, Colorado. They would have celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on May 31 of this year.

Janet is survived by her husband; brother Gene (Cheryl) Jensen; and three children; Kelly Felin, Nancy (Rick) Hafla, and Merri (Albert) Johnson.

She also leaves behind five cherished grandchildren and their spouses; five great grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Throughout her life, Janet enjoyed serving her community. She spent years accompanying musical events at schools and churches, volunteering with hospice, and right up until her final days, organizing the Idaho Falls Community Garden at Rollandet.

Among her many talents, she was an accomplished pianist, gardener, cook, artist, seamstress and writer. She was also a voracious reader and passed her love of books down to her family. In their retirement, Janet and Pete traveled extensively.

Above all, Janet will be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, mentor, teacher and friend. Her heart, wisdom, humor and wit will be missed by all who knew her.

She was a woman of deep faith and a member of St. John Paul II Catholic Parish.

A rosary service will be held at 5 p.m. on June 1 followed by visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. at Buck Miller Hann Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be held June 2 at 11 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church. Interment will be at New Sweden Cemetery followed by a luncheon at Christ the King parish hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Hospice of Eastern Idaho in Janet's name.

Online condolences can be sent to www.buckmillerhann.com.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Obituary for Virginia Madden 

Virginia Madden
Virginia Lee Highfill Madden
Today Virginia Highfill Madden takes her rightful place among heaven’s angels. Her years of self-sacrifice, caring for her husband and raising 3 boys has qualified her for her new role.
Virginia was born February 26th, 1926 to Ernie and Georgia Highfill in Olive, Missouri. Times were tough even for her father’s mercantile business. She attended Draughon Business School before working at Beiderman’s Furniture Store in Springfield. She met and married Curtis Madden shortly after his return from the Marines where he was stationed in the Pacific and in China. They first made their home in Olive, Missouri then on a farm near Elkland, Missouri. Her husband used to say that farming was not profitable, “you could make more money selling $2 axe handles for $1”. She relished the farming life including maintaining the farm and keeping an acre and a half garden. Virginia was self-sufficient in ways rare in today’s world. Her work on the farm was never ending.
Her faith was resolute and unshakeable. She attended and was a member at the Fair Grove Methodist Church where she had many friends. Through the years she took great pleasure in the progress her 3 sons made in the world. Her patience for delivering them to practice, games and school was remarkable. She was able to guide them to a great work ethic and set of values. That guidance was at once gentle in the way it was delivered, but firm in her resolve that her boys understand right from wrong.
Later in life Virginia took over the formidable task of caring for Curt. She took classes in nursing and delivered his care superbly. Curt was able to live comfortably thanks to Virginia’s self-sacrifice.
Virginia loved to prepare enormous meals for family and friends. She expected family and visitors to eat heartily and we seldom disappointed her. Many of those meals put expensive restaurants to shame.
She was also a master at quilting. Concept, design, materials and production were tools of an art form to Virginia. Those of us blessed enough to possess an example are fortunate. She gave most of these away as gifts ever eager to start a new one.
Even in her late years, through her memory loss, her sense of humor was exceptional. Her boys and her sister spent many afternoons laughing with her as family stories were told and retold.
It is difficult to imagine how complete and well-rounded were Virginia’s skills and capabilities. Outstanding mother, remarkable friend, caretaker, chef, nurse, farmer, gardener – the list is quite long. Mostly she was our mom and we were incredibly lucky to have her.
Virginia is survived by a sister, Mary Bratcher, a brother Hunter Highfill, 3 sons, Brian Madden, Sean Madden and Mike Madden and three grandchildren: Lauren Dwight, Jeremy Madden and Cory Madden..
Please join us in celebrating the life of a wonderful, kind woman who will be sorely missed.
Funeral services will be at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at Greenlawn Funeral Home North with burial to follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
Visitation will be Tuesday evening, December 6th from 5pm to 7pm at the funeral home.
Virginia Lee Highfill Madden

I took this very complete and spot-on obituary about Virginia Madden from Facebook.  To place Virginia Lee Highfill Madden in the larger context of the Madden-Felin family, I offer the following.  My mother, Margaret Marie Madden Felin was the oldest in the Madden family of six--parents Harve and Margaret (Maggie) Stone Madden; children Margaret Marie, Mildred (Long), Curtis, and Kent.  Aunt Virginia, widow of Curtis, was the last of that generation of aunts and uncles for the children, grandchildren, and grandchildren of Margaret Marie Madden and James Louis Felin.  [I am Rose, child number six of Margaret and James Felin.  The others:  Bernie (deceased), Robert (deceased), Joseph, John, Margaret (deceased), Martha Sue (deceased), and Donald.]

Seeing Aunt Virginia's brother, Hunter's name in the obituary brought up some happy memories for me.  When my sister Sue and I were kids, we would occasionally stay with Aunt Virginia and Uncle Curt for a few days at their home/farm in the tiny town of Olive, MO.  Hunter, about the most handsome and kindest man Sue or I had ever known, would take us fishing.  He taught us how to bait hooks with grasshoppers and worms, how to know when to reel in the catch, how to recognize what we had caught.  We were extremely grateful that he would also clean the fish!  He also took us frogging.  I well remember Aunt Virginia preparing frog legs caught in our nocturnal hunts.  The legs jumping in the skillet were too much for us, so I don't believe we ate them.  Seems dumb now, but, hey, we were kids!

Uncle Curt and Aunt Virginia had a farm with dairy cows.  Watching the milking machines extract milk from all those cows lined up in the barn was quite a wondrous sight.

One memory about Aunt Virginia stands out.  Sue and I were in the kitchen.  Aunt Virginia called from the other room, "There is candy for you two in the crisper."  The crisper?  Sue and I looked at each other.  We had no idea what a crisper was and did not want to reveal our ignorance.  I no longer remember how we coped, but somehow we did.  To this day, the word "crisper" is a mystery to me.  Why that name?

My niece, Sabrina (Smith), daughter of Margaret, and I considered traveling to Springfield for Aunt Virginia's funeral but could not work it out.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike, Brian, and Sean as they bid farewell to this wonderful mother.  May she go from strength to strength.

A footnote:  It was during our pilgrimage to Stephanie's parents' graves on Sunday that we learned of Aunt Virginia's passing.  Somehow, the time was fitting.

Sunday, December 04, 2016


December 4, 2016

It was both a somber and an enjoyable morning for me. Sabrina, my niece, and her husband Dave (Smiths, they are) invited me to breakfast and to their annual Christmas visit to Sabrina's parents' graves.  (Sabrina's mother and father are my sister and brother-in-law, Margaret and Norman Abbott.)  Sabrina every year orders a Christmas wreath for the plot in the veteran's cemetery in south St. Louis County.

This national cemetery is a beautiful place overlooking the Mississippi River.  Below are two photos Sabrina took, one of the gravesite with the wreath, another of seven deer we saw grazing unperturbed by the road nearby.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Chris completed the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2016, in 5 hrs and 18 minutes.  Congratulations, Christopher!  He and his friend Eric Nichols raised $5000 for the ALS Foundation in honor of Chris' mother who died last year

Quite an achievement for anyone.  I asked Chris when he is running another marathon.  His answer, "Never!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Chris Spreitler and the New York Marathon

Chris sent me this photo with his caption, "I thought this place went away."  Many years ago Chris and I spent a week in New York City.  I was on a business trip, and he was a high school student.  The move "Tootsie" had featured The Russian Tea Room in a prominent scene, so Chris and I went there for a wonderful dinner.

Chris has been training for months to run the New York City Marathon next Sunday, (November 6).  He took this ordeal on as a fund-raising effort for ALS and to honor his mother who died of an ALS-related illness in 2015.  During the "Ice Bucket Challenge" that raised so much for ALS research, many members of our far-flung family, including Chris and his brother, took the challenge.  (It was a chilling thing!)  Chris' current challenge is a much bigger deal.

Good luck, Chris.  Godspeed!  Or, I believe your prayer is "God, let me finish the thing!"

Here is Chris' race info.  I believe there is an marathon app you can download to follow a runner in real time.  More info when I get it from Chris.

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Hall 3B
11th Avenue at 36th Street
New York, New York

Customer ID Number:

13607350       Chris Spreitler

Sunday, October 09, 2016


Pete and Janet Felin's daughter, Merri Felin Johnson, and her husband Albert were in New York City this week for a celebration of powerful women in banking.  Merri is President of a region of Zion Bank.

Congratulations, Merri!

Thursday, October 06, 2016


Sue's son, Christopher, has been training for the November 6, 2017, New York Marathon.  He is still short of the targeted fund-raising for ALS research and could use a boost to his goal.  For updates on his progress or to donate, go to www.crowdrise.com/chrisspreitler.  A better link is:  https://www.crowdrise.com/alsnyc2016/fundraiser/chrisspreitler

I'll post a new photo of Chris soon.  His training has him in tiptop shape.