Sara Jane Treinen
Sara Jane Treinen
Sara Jane Treinen

March 15, 1937 - May 17, 2019
Born in Marietta, PA
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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It is with great sadness that the family of Sara Jane Treinen, of Des Moines, announces her passing. She died from cancer on May 17, 2019, at Ramsey Village in Des Moines. She will be remembered as a loving wife, an extraordinary mother, a doting grandmother, and loyal friend to many.

Sara Jane had a passion for creating beautiful things. A master with string craft, she had an artistic gift and quick mind that allowed her to tackle any knitting or crochet project. Create a knitting pattern from existing work? No Problem! Organize a knitting club? No problem! Visit a yarn shop? When do we leave! She filled her home with beautiful folk crafts and antique treasures that she collected. Her garden was treated as an extension of the home, decorated on a large scale, filled with colorful plants. She was a loyal patron of the Des Moines Symphony, Des Moines Playhouse and Des Moines Art Center.

Sara Jane was born March 15, 1937, to Paul and Mary (Paules) Portner in Marietta, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Donegal High School (National Honor Society & All-State Band), attended Westminster College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After college she began a civil service career, first for the U.S. Navy in Philadelphia, and then for the U.S. Army in France and Germany. During her time abroad, she met her husband of 51 years, Michael (then a young army officer), on a blind date in Orleans, France. They were married at Fort Lee, Virginia, on January 20, 1968, one month before Michael’s deployment to Vietnam. In 1969, they moved to Iowa City, where she worked at Measurement Research, and in 1974 they moved to Des Moines, Iowa. Sara Jane eventually became a longtime and successful Craft and Book Editor at Meredith Corporation, with many titles to her credit still for sale on

Sara Jane is survived by her husband of 51 years, Michael, daughter Suzanne (Chris Lowery) Treinen of Brooklyn, New York, and son Thomas (Kerri) Treinen of Boise, Idaho. Her four grandchildren are Ruby and Stella Lowery; and Charlotte and William Treinen. Also surviving: sisters Annette Knepper of York, PA, and Marcie Mower of Greenbackville, VA; and brother Joe Portner of Mount Joy, PA. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers David Jean Portner and Edwin Portner; and brother-in-law Dale Knepper.

The family would like to thank the dedicated staff at Ramsey Village who provided compassionate and professional care to Sara Jane over the last 18 months. The caring hospice services provided by Suncrest Home Health and Hospice are also appreciated.

Visitation will be from 4:00 to 6:00 pm., Thursday, May 23, 2019, at Iles Westover Funeral Home, 6337 Hickman Road, Des Moines. Services will also be at the funeral home at 11:00 am, Friday, May 24, 2019. Interment at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter, Iowa will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made in Sara Jane’s memory to the Des Moines Art Center, the Iowa Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Association, or the American Cancer Society. Online condolences are welcome at





Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, May 23, 2019
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Order flowers for Sara

Guaranteed delivery before Sara's visitation begins.

Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Friday, May 24, 2019
11:00 AM
Order flowers for Sara

Guaranteed delivery before Sara's service begins.


Des Moines Art Center
4700 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
American Cancer Society of Iowa
1717 Ingersoll Ave, Ste 111
Des Moines, IA United States 50309
Iowa Chapter of American Parkinson Disease Association
1200 Pleasant Street E-524
Des Moines, IA 50309