Jennie Decker

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Jennie Mae Decker Jennie Mae Decker, 99, of Tecumseh, KS passed away on Friday, September 20, 2013 at Midland Hospice House in Topeka. Jennie was born on May 5, 1914 in Muscotah, KS to Clarence and Eva Jane Alban Smith. She grew up near Waverly, KS and in 1934, she married George Wayne Jeffery. They drove to California in a Model T Ford and lived there while Wayne served in the Navy during WWII. Jennie soon found work with wealthy families in the Santa Maria area, cooking. At one of these fine homes, a repeat guest was Old Gam Mr. Gamble of Proctor & Gamble, who always came into the kitchen to see What is Jennie cooking tonight? After the War, Jennie and Wayne moved back to farm near Burlington, KS, but in 1946, Wayne passed away from polio. Jennie married Dayton Lewis Decker of Tecumseh, KS in 1949, and they came to work the family farm, founded in 1866 at SE 29th & Tecumseh Road. In 1952, Dayton and Jennie began the Decker 4-H Club. Recently she was awarded the Kansas Farm Bureau Century Farm Award. She was a member of Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church and was active with the United Methodist Women. She received The Special Mission Recognition given by the United Methodist Women in 1994. Jennie was a legendary cook, feeding harvest crews on the farm and baking for Shawnee Heights High School students who may remember her cinnamon rolls. Her baked contributions to Bake Sales at her home church, Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church, brought fierce bidding and record donation prices. She showed her love to people by cooking for them. In 2010, at the age of 96, she won Topeka's Grandma's American Pie Baking Contest with her well-known Coconut Cream Pie and was a featured cook in the summer issue of the Midwest Historical and Genealogical Register this year. Jennie was well loved and will be greatly missed by her three children: Jeanette (Steve) Johnson of Topeka, Larry (Judi) Jeffery of Parker, CO, Norma (Joe) Hoagland of Leavenworth. Her grandchildren include: Jeff (Penny) Johnson of Fort Worth, TX; Jennifer (Justin) Kliewer of Castle Rock, CO; Tyler (Michelle) Johnson of Topeka; Justin (Andrea) Jeffery of Francis, UT; Anne (Brandon) Bauer of Piper, KS; Dirck (Natalie) Hoagland of Leavenworth, KS; Emma Hoagland of Kansas City, MO, Lisa (Toby) King of Rye, NY and Lara Schneider of Freeport, ME and thirteen great-grandchildren. Jennie was preceded in death by her husband, Dayton on October 9, 1991 and her two sisters, Inez Hughes and Lola Sumner. The family will receive friends from 4:30 pm to 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 27 at Penwell-Gabel Southeast Chapel. A celebration of Jennie's life will be held Saturday, Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church with burial to follow in Bethel Cemetery southeast of Topeka. Memorial contributions may be made to Shawnee Heights United Methodist Church, 6020 SE 44th St., Tecumseh, KS 66542 or Midland Care, 200 SW Frazier Circle, Topeka, KS 66606. To leave the family a special message online, please visit Jennie Mae Decker

Funeral Home
Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home & Crematory
2843 SE Minnesota Ave
Topeka, KS 66605
(785) 266-6700
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Sept. 22, 2013
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