August 2, 1925 to October 17, 2015
Jean Nelson Kiskadden, 90, passed away peacefully in her home on October 17, 2015. Jean was born to Carl Nelson and Alice Dobbins Nelson on August 2, 1925 at the family’s farm in Blair, NE. Jean, along with her siblings Kenneth, Marjorie and Mary, attended Blair’s two-room schoolhouse located on a corner of the farm until Jean was in the 9th grade. After the family moved to Fremont, NE, she graduated from Fremont High School in 1941 at the age of 15.
In early 1944, Jean traveled to Washington, DC where she contributed to the U.S. war effort as a code breaker, interpreting enemy correspondence for the Military Intelligence Division. After this service, Jean completed her BA and earned a teaching credential from Midland College in 1945. Jean taught high school for three years in Nebraska before accepting a posting to the Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, where she taught business education and physical education.
While in Honolulu, Jean met her first husband, James Lamberth, a young Navy serviceman, whom she married in 1949. Together, Jean and Jim raised three daughters, Lani, Hollie and Laurie while moving around the country following Jim’s postings as Pastor to Methodist churches in Texas, Minnesota and California. Jean and Jim Lamberth divorced in 1972. Jean subsequently married Robert Kiskadden, of Downey, CA, with whom she shared many happy years before Bob’s 1994 death.
A dedicated educator for over 50 years, Jean taught high school not only in Nebraska and Honolulu, but also in Newport Beach, Downey and Placentia, CA. After earning a Masters’ in Education from Chapman University in 1976, she also taught at the community college level. In addition to teaching business education and English, Jean worked with developmentally disabled young adults. The last 15 years of her career, Jean taught continuation high school, deeply touching the lives of at risk teenagers. While in this position, she also served as the state President for the California Continuation Education Association.
A woman of deep and abiding faith, Jean remained an active leader in the Methodist Church her entire life. From choir director to Pastor’s wife, she was committed to serving others as an example of God’s love. Jean was also very involved with the United Methodist Women (UMW) serving as both the President of the UMW in Downey, CA as well as regional President. She also served on the Board of the Santa Clara Methodist Retirement Foundation in Campbell, CA in addition to teaching adult church classes and serving on various volunteer committees. As a community volunteer, Jean was very engaged with the Downey Women’s Club and served as its treasurer and president for many years.
Jean is survived by her two sisters, three daughters, step son, three granddaughters and two great grandsons as well as a close circle of community and church friends.
Memorial Service: December 10, 2015, 2:00 PM. Campbell United Methodist Church, 1675 Winchester Blvd. Campbell, CA 95008.