Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Community loses committed citizen

December 12, 2001

Tonganoxie suffered a loss Monday night with the death of N. Jean Lenahan.
Jean, as everyone called her, was a true believer in fighting for what she believed was right. One minute, she would be culling city hall records to find inaccuracies. The next minute, she would be soliciting funds to help needy people have a little happier Christmas.

Jean was a complex person.

She was well-known for putting her thoughts on paper She would write - both publicly and privately - expressing her views oil city government or on what she believed to be personal failings of others. Sometimes, she simply copied a favorite fudge recipe, dropping it by, along with a tin filled with samples.

Jean was a hard worker.

She toiled in gardens throughout the community, beautifying both her own yard and numerous public spaces in Tonganoxie. She and her husband, John, spent many dollars and many hours working on those gardens, which community members have enjoyed for years.

Jean was a tireless volunteer.

Most recently, she raised her hand at a board meeting of the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Pantry. She said she'd talk with downtown business owners about donating to the adopt a family program at the local social service agency And so, with an ear-warmer providing protection from the chill of the day, Jean went door to-door on Fourth Street collecting funds, meticulously marking down the amount donated and by whom.

Jean was a stickler for details.

Because she believed so strongly in her causes, she spent hours at city hall, seeking public documents to verify her thoughts. She sat through innumerable Tonganoxie City Council meetings. She and John, and other downtown business owners, took on the city over assessments for the Fourth Street renovation project. And, sometimes, she upset people with her passion and persistence.

Whether you agreed with Jean Lenahan, she set a high standard for civic involvement and volunteerism. Her dedication to Tonganoxie long will be remembered.

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