Jeanette Marie Reiter Pirkl, 81, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 17th at Birchwood Cottages in Owatonna, Minnesota, with her daughter and son-in-law at her side.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Owatonna at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019. Interment will follow at St. John Cemetery. A celebration of her life will take place after the funeral at the Owatonna Arts Center. Friends are welcome to greet the family from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, September 23rd at the Brick-Meger Funeral Home in Owatonna and one hour prior to the mass at Sacred Heart.
Jeanette was born December 14th, 1937 to August W. and Marie (Schuldt) Reiter in Minneapolis, MN. She was raised on the family farm just west of Owatonna, attended District 43 rural school in Steele County through 8thgrade, and then graduated from Owatonna High School in 1955. She attended Johnson’s Academy of Beauty School in Mankato, MN, graduating in May of 1956. The day after graduation, Jeanette started working for Raone Perry in the salon (and home) that she would eventually purchase in 1961 and operate as “Jeanette’s Beaute Salon”. She worked until suffering a stroke in April of 2017, one-month shy of 61 years in her profession.
On November 6th, 1965, she married Sebastian (“Sam”) Pirkl at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Owatonna, MN. They were blessed with a daughter, Samona, on June 18th(Father’s Day) of 1967. Her daughter and two grandsons, Patrick and Sean, were her pride and joy. She was a devoted grandmother and attended everything she could that the boys were involved in. From Wee Pals and elementary school programs, to high school music and sports events, to visiting them at college, “Grandma Pirkl” was a strong presence in their lives.
Jeanette was a loving, supportive and dedicated wife of her best friend, Sebastian. They enjoyed camping in the warmer months and winter vacations where they could spend time in the sun, on a beach, and playing tennis. They often visited the Gulf Coast of Florida and travelled to many areas of the Caribbean and Mexico. In addition to travelling, Jeanette enjoyed reading, listening to music, feeding the birds, and gardening; passing on a love of nature and the outdoors to her daughter.
Sebastian and Jeanette eventually purchased property in Florida with plans to build a house and spend their retirement years there during the winter. These plans never came to fruition as Sebastian suffered a stroke two weeks prior to retirement at age 62 in 1994. For the next 12 years, until his death in April of 2006, Jeanette cared for Sebastian in their home. She was a strong woman who set a beautiful example of, “…in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Jeanette’s leadership skills and volunteer time positively impacted many organizations. She was an active member of her trade association at the local, state, and national levels. She was elected president of the Minnesota State Hairdresser’s and Cosmetologists’ Association from 1965-1967. Her love of her profession was evident in the friendships she developed over the years and the services she continued to provide to her customers in care facilities or in their homes when they were no longer able to come to the salon.
In Owatonna, Jeanette was involved in Little Theatre, where she was in charge of hair and makeup for numerous productions, served on the LTO Board, and was inducted into the LTO Hall of Fame. She was an active member of Friends of the Arts at the Owatonna Arts Center, Friends of Rice Lake State Park, and of the Woman’s Club of Owatonna, where she also served as Club President. Jeanette was a member of the Owatonna chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and was recognized as the Woman of the Year for 1971-72. She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, serving as a CCD teacher and on the Parish Council, and was a volunteer and past president of the Steele County Historical Society. When her grandchildren were in school, she enjoyed volunteering at Wilson Elementary, focusing her time on working with young readers.
Jeanette is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Samona and Steve Grubish of Owatonna, and their two sons, Patrick (Philadelphia, PA) and Sean (Minneapolis, MN). She is also survived by her sisters Berniece Schroht and Joanie (Chuck) Mosher of Owatonna, and 12 nieces and nephews. Jeanette was preceded in death by her husband, parents, sister and brother-in-law Jean and Tom Lambert, brother and sister-in-law Norman and Emily Reiter, sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth and Fred Becker, and brother-in-law Jerry Schroht.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Owatonna Arts Center, Steele County Historical Society, or Homestead Hospice, Inc.
Jeanette’s family would like to thank the staff at “The Lodge” cottage at Birchwood and the entire Allina Hospice care team. We were truly blessed to be supported by compassionate individuals during the last days of Mom’s journey on this earth and will be forever grateful.
To send flowers to Jeanette's family, please visit our floral section.