On August 23, 2020 Jeri Naven-McGinnis died peacefully at her home doing what she loved: Sitting on her back porch, reading a good book.
It is a daunting task to write Jeri's obituary, because she herself had such a command of the English language and a beautiful way with the written word. She could cut to the chase, represent small-town charm with world view intellect, and had a way of effortlessly translating her extraordinary sense of humor and unparalleled wit into writing. Aiding in this was probably her knack for taking on the daily New York Times Crossword puzzle - with a pen!
Jeri was born in Des Moines, Iowa on November 19, 1952 to Dean H. and Claudine E. (Maurer) Naven. Thanks to her father's career in the news business, the family moved often and Jeri grew up in Shenandoah, Fremont (NE), Sioux City, and finally Fort Dodge. She truly hated moving!
After graduating from Fort Dodge High School in 1971, she ignored the advice of her father and enrolled in the University of Iowa's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she went to write for the Pocahontas Newspaper in Pocahontas, Iowa. She then pursued her lifelong love of politics with a stint as field representative for US Representative Berkley Bedell and (then) Representative Tom Harkin.
Jeri eventually returned to Shenandoah in the late 80's to write for the Sentinel and Valley News Today. Shenandoah had always held a special place in her heart and she showed her gratitude by becoming an active member of the community, with involvement in the Southwest Iowa Theater Group (as director, actor, and board member), Shenandoah High School speech program, American Field Service (AFS), the Everly Family Scholarship fund, Tanenbaum Tea (which she helped to found), and countless other organizations.
She leaves behind her two children, Katharine (Kate) McGinnis of Berlin, Germany and Connor McGinnis of Shenandoah. They are left with many happy memories of laughing around the kitchen table discussing politics, books, and Hawkeye football - all with NPR forever on in the background.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Art McGinnis, niece Elizabeth Lyman and other relatives.
Left to tell a few funny stories about life with Jeri are her children, sisters Tammy Murray (Todd) Sacramento, CA, Kim Naven Gee (Gil) Farragut, Iowa and brother Jeff W. Naven (Michon) Harrison, ID. Nieces and nephews: AJ Lyman, Jason Lyman, Allison Lyman, Brian Murray (Sarah), Scott Murray, and Matthew Murray. Her beloved Maurer Cousins: Nancy (Jim) Schoeben, Lainer Urbik, Judy (Bill) Haller and JJ Whitaker.
She truly hated funerals, so her family will respect her wishes by not having one for her. A private memorial will be held at a later date. Memorials can be made to her great loves: Shenandoah Public Library and National Public Radio (NPR).
(If Jeri were to read this, her 'copywriter's' marks would be all over it...)
So sorry to hear of your loss! Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Kim Sweetser and family
I was saddened to hear of Jeri's passing. My sympathy goes out to her family. I was privileged to work with her at the Evening Sentinel in the 80's. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was a gifted writer. We shared many good times together over the years. She will be missed.
I am so sorry for the loss of Jerri. We used to get together so much years ago. We had a lot of great times. I will remember the great fun we had❤️
Dear Tammy (& Family), - I'm very sorry to hear of your sister Jeri's passing.
While you & I were in the same class together, I'd see Jeri often, with your family living around the corner from our house on Crescent St.
I knew she was involved in SWITG, like your dad Dean, and my own Mother at the Rose garden. Jeri was the red head who always had a smile and a greet when I'd stop back into town and had many talents.
My sincere condolences, Tammy. Thinking of you!
While time and distance may fade our childhood memories in my heart Jeri will always remain my cousin with the long flowing beautiful red hair and the witty young girl with a twinkle in her eyes Wishing you family comfort, peace and strength during this time. May your memories remain forever bright. With greatest sympathy.
I was so sorry to hear of Jeri's passing. I had the honor of sharing the stage at SWITG with Jeri multiple times and those memories will always be special to me. Sending my condolences to her family. Her smile could light up a room. Prayers!
Kim and family,
Sorry for your loss. Always enjoyed working with Jeri as she always had a smile and something funny to say. She will be missed by all who knew her but she has gone home to a better place where the pain and suffering are gone. May God bless you all..
Jeri and I were MILES APART politically...but our hearts were one on everything else. She has earned her forever peace...I will miss her smiles and laugher...may she be remembered as a positive and giving bright light. Dave Peterson
Oh Kids, I am so Sorry to read of Jeri's passing. I always enjoyed the conversations I had with her. Our Thoughts and Prayers are with The Entire Family. Love, Bob and Robin Lynn
My heartfelt sympathy and prayers to the family, May the God of all comfort strengthen you through this difficult time of mourning. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
I met Jeri through the Imogene Community Playhouse. We had so much fun with that and many, many laughs. My prayers are with your family.
Tammy and family, I am so sorry to learn of Jeri's passing. I have so many memories of her from when we were kids. May the grace and blessing of the Lord be with you and all of Jeri's family and friends.
So Very Very Sorry 😐
Prayers Prayers Prayers To All The Family.
Patty (DOYLE). Niedermyer. & Husband Tom.
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