Cover photo for Lois Jean Sanner's Obituary
Lois Jean Sanner Profile Photo

Lois Jean Sanner

May 7, 1931 — December 5, 2023

Austin, Minnesota

Lois Jean Sanner

Lois Jean Sanner, was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 7, 1931 and passed away peacefully surrounded by family on December 5, 2023 at the age of 92.  She is survived by her two daughters, Susan Martin and Beth Sanner, son-in-law Glenn Martin, and grandsons Jacob Martin and Jack Porter.  She is predeceased by her husband, Don Sanner, who served as Bethany Homes’ chaplain and died too young in 1990, and her beloved parents, Evelyn and Roy Schweikert of Baltimore.

Jean, as she was called by family and friends, was always a Maryland girl with a love for crab cakes, the sound of the ocean, and a view of Baltimore’s harbor.  But she fell in love with Fargo and made many friends there over the decades, including many at One Oak Retirement Community, where she was blessed with puzzle room and mealtime friends, at Trinity Lutheran Church, and in the Fargo Public School system. 

With a bachelor’s degree from Towson Teachers College, Jean began a life-long passion for teaching young children, which began in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods.  She loved it, and the parents and children loved her.  She took a break from teaching to raise her two daughters and shepherded family moves to Nebraska, Michigan and North Dakota, where the family put down roots in 1972.  In Fargo, Jean quickly rekindled her passion for teaching, joining the Head Start program, which promotes school readiness for help children with social and cognitive difficulties.  In mid-1980s, she attended graduate school in the evenings, proudly earning a Master’s degree in early childhood special education. 

Jean retired from teaching in 1993, but she continued volunteering as a reading coach.  In this, she found great joy and reward, particularly in helping many of Fargo’s youngest immigrants to perfect their English and to love reading, putting them on a path to success.  As a devoted Christian, Jean believed strongly in charity, focusing on children and families in need both in the U.S. and abroad.  Openminded and adventuresome, she appreciated other cultures and their traditions and felt fortunate to travel overseas in her retirement.  She also enjoyed volunteering at the Sons of Norway, where she loved the dancing and camaraderie (despite her 100% German heritage).  

Throughout her entire life, Jean shared her gratitude for those who helped her through challenging times, especially in the last year when she moved from Fargo to The Cedars in Austin, MN.  There, she always offered a kind word, a smile, and a touch of her hand, which was generously reciprocated by The Cedars’ staff and the Mayo Clinic hospice team.  Jean remained impeccably dressed and coiffed as she always has, grateful for the help of aides in her last days, who carefully selected favorite outfits down to the perfect necklace.  She and her bright smile will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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