Jean M. LemMon
Jean Lem Mon
Jean M. LemMon

November 11, 1932 - January 6, 2018
Born in Minnesota
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Jean Marie LemMon (née Holmstrand), adoring mother and grandmother; accomplished artist, designer, pianist, clarinetist, composer, and figure skater; avid mystery reader and gardener; and firebrand journalist who became the first female editor in chief of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, died Saturday, January 6, in Des Moines. Born November 11, 1932, in Duluth, Minnesota, to Marie (née Gunderson) and Lawrence Holmstrand, Jean grew up on a small farm outside town. She earned a BA in art with a minor in English from the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus. The long-time Des Moines resident nurtured her roots with a second home on Duluth’s Lake Superior and a fierce loyalty to Vikings football. Friends knew better than to call during game-time.

The winner of four national awards for outstanding journalism in interior design and, as a member of Mensa International, a certifiable genius, Jean expected the best and didn’t suffer fools—or, worse, mediocrity. When Pope John Paul II visited Des Moines, Jean, a Norwegian-stock Lutheran, was hired by the local Catholic diocese to author the commemorative book for his tour.

Her love for her only child, daughter Rebecca Jean LemMon Matykowski Klisares, was inspirational. For Becky’s 21st birthday, Jean celebrated at the Duluth cottage, blindfolding Becky and leading her towards the lake, just shy of the dunes, where she had planted a tree, placed a bench, and flown in lobster from Maine. Her generosity and thoughtfulness continued with the birth of her only grandchild, Noah John Matykowski. Upon her retirement from Meredith as vice president, she said: “I always knew I would retire when I met my Prince Charming. I just didn’t know he would be two years old.”

Jean was a loyal member of St. Johns Lutheran Church, where she served tirelessly and rejoiced in the baptisms and confirmations of daughter Becky and grandson Noah. She was a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; the Sons of Norway; and the American Society of Interior Designers. She served on the Board of Trustees of Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents and brother Allan Holmstrand. She is survived by daughter Becky and husband Jeff Klisares; grandson Noah Matykowski; former son-in-law Bill Matykowski; her sister-in-law and nieces. Her memorial service will be Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Johns Lutheran with lunch following at the church. Interment will be at Glendale Cemetery. Family visitation will be Thursday from 4-6 p.m. at Iles Funeral Home’s Dunn’s Chapel, 2121 Grand Avenue. Memorials are welcome to St. Johns Lutheran Church in Des Moines and the Des Moines Public Library, where Jean volunteered.


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Dunn's Funeral Home
2121 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Thursday, January 11, 2018
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
St. John's Lutheran Church
600 Sixth Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50309
Friday, January 12, 2018
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


St. John's Lutheran Church Foundation
600 Sixth Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
Des Moines Public Library
100 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309