Jeanie Fay Menke, 89, of Rockdale and Austin, Texas, passed away Oct. 4, 2020, after a courageous 16-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
She was born Jan. 14, 1931, in rural Calhoun County, Texas, to Melvin Rosenbaum Sr. and Alma Jaster Rosenbaum.
Jeanie was a warm and loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend who faced Parkinson’s with grace, and did not let the disease keep her from living a rich and varied life. Under a soft exterior, Jeanie was intelligent and determined, qualities appreciated by those who knew her. Her faith was a strength and comfort to her always.
Jeanie grew up on a farm outside of Port Lavaca, Texas, where she was Port Lavaca High School Valedictorian in 1948. After attending Southwestern Business School in Houston, Jeanie returned to Port Lavaca and became one of the early employees at Alcoa’s Point Comfort Works, where she worked as a secretary starting in 1950.
At Point Comfort Works, Jeanie met Allen Menke of Victoria, Texas, and the two were married in 1952. The Menkes transferred to Rockdale, Texas, with the 1952 opening of the Rockdale Alcoa plant. There, Allen began a 37-year career as a human resources manager, while Jeanie worked as a secretary until the birth of their first child in 1954.
Jeanie and Allen had four children: Mark, James, Mary and Laura.
Jeanie was a loving mother and homemaker who raised four successful children and nurtured a strong family culture that continues to this day. As her children married, Jeanie embraced her children’s spouses and became a loving grandmother and great-grandmother to successive generations.
Together, Jeanie and Allen invested countless hours of labor and love to build their Rockdale farm, home and gardens from native Texas woodlands. The farm has become a living legacy and family gathering space for their children and grandchildren to this day.
After Allen passed away in 1995, Jeanie held down the family farm until her Parkinson’s Disease required her to move into assisted living in 2014. She lived her last five years in Brookdale Northwest Hills in Austin. There she made friends with other residents and staff, and was always looking for a bridge game. She even kept up her secretarial skills, using her computer to follow friends and family on email and Facebook. The family thanks the staff at Brookdale Northwest Hills for their many years of loving care.
Jeanie was an active member of Peace Lutheran Church in Rockdale for over 60 years, serving as church secretary for 23 years, assisting Pastors Waldemar Wendell and Herbert Lammert.
She was an avid bridge player and a member of several bridge groups, including a couples’ bridge group with Allen.
Jeanie had a close-knit group of friends in Rockdale who loved taking day trips around Central Texas, as well as extended travel and cruises around the U.S. Jeanie also traveled regularly to California to visit her son and his family, and to Europe to visit grandchildren studying abroad. Recognizing her love of travel, Jeanie’s 80th birthday was celebrated with an “Around the World in 80 Days” theme including live music and dancing.
Jeanie is survived by her son, Mark Menke and wife Anne-Marie Lamarche of Piedmont, California, and their three children, Elise (Evan Stuller), Claire (Daniel Priestley) and Alexander, and a great-granddaughter, Emilie-Marie Faye Stuller; her son, James Menke and wife Beth of Austin, Texas, and their four children Andrew (Nicole), Bryan (Rachel), Audrey and Joseph (Emma) and two great-grandsons, Cameron and Lucas Menke (Andrew); her daughter, Mary Strickland and husband Gary of Coleman, Texas, and their two children, Matt and Erin (Isla Cameron); and her daughter, Laura Arroyo and husband Charles of Round Rock, Texas, and their three sons Brandon (Maureen Naval), Wesley (Natalie) and Connor.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Allen Menke, and brother Melvin Rosenbaum.
A memorial service will be held at Peace Lutheran Church in Rockdale, Texas, on Nov. 28 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Peace Lutheran Church, P. O. Box 308, Rockdale, TX 76567 or The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, www.michaeljfox.org.