Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One for over 100 years.

Billie Jean Strom

Billie Jean (Miller) Strom died peacefully at home and surrounded by family on July 30, 2020. She was called Billie by her childhood friends, Jellybean by those who teased, Jeamie by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mrs. Strom by her students, and Jean by everyone else. She was serious reader, a journaler extraordinaire, an average bridge player, brilliant at blackjack. She loved trailering, late-night campfires and tomato beer. She delighted in the challenges of the classroom. She was a dedicated fan of Nebraska football and was fascinated by the financial and political worlds. She was a tender, loving caregiver for her husband and for her parents.

Jean was born on April 19, 1928 to Dr. William Timothy and Esther Elizabeth (Monroe) Miller in Columbia, Missouri. She married Arthur Lee Strom in Martin, South Dakota in 1946 and they had one son, Bruce Lynn.

Jean grew up in the small college town of Peru, Nebraska, where everyone knew everyone. She attended Chadron Prep School, Chadron, Nebraska graduating valedictorian in 1946. She was graduated, magna cum laude, from Nebraska State Teachers College, Chadron, Nebraska in 1950 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in Vocal Music and English. She did graduate work at the University of Nebraska and the University of Iowa.

Jean’s teaching career spanned 43 years, first teaching in Unadilla and Eagle while her husband completed his degree at the University of Nebraska. The two of them taught in Lewiston, David City and Madison, Nebraska and in Des Plains, Illinois. They moved to Glenwood in 1961 where Lee served as high school principal and Jean taught sophomore English until her retirement in 1993.

She held memberships, past and present, in a number of clubs and organizations: Cardinal Key National Honor Society, Zeta Alpha Sorority, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, Delta Kappa Gamma (vice president), P.E.O. Chapter FF, United Methodist Women, Glenwood Educational Association (president 1962-1963), Iowa State Educational Association, National Education Association (life member), North Central Association Steering Committee, Friends of the Library, Brown Bag Book Club, Heritage Club and WIGS and MONI Investment Clubs (chairman). Jean was awarded a Regents Scholarship and Tuition Fellowship at the University of Nebraska. She attended the Grace United Methodist Church in Glenwood.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lee, in 1991, her parents, Bill and Esther, in 1992, and her special friend, Pete Boughn in 2006. She is survived by her son, Dr. Bruce Strom and wife Kirstin, Waukesha, Wisconsin; grandson, William (Bill) Strom and wife Sarah Weiss, great granddaughter Hazel Evva Weiss Strom and great grandson Henry Malcolm Weiss Strom, Chicago, Illinois; granddaughter Sharon Claire Strom and partner James Arnall, London, England; sister Lois Crane, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; nephews Mark Zanger and special friend Julianne Frederickson, Fairfield, Iowa; Reed Zanger, Iowa City, Iowa; Rob Zanger and wife Joan and their sons Thomas Zanger and Matthew Zanger, Vienna, Virginia; niece Susan Crane, Iowa City, Iowa; step-niece Betsy Crane, Newburgh, New York and a number of Strom family members throughout the United States.

At a later date, all of Jean’s friends, neighbors, former students, former colleagues, bridge partners and traveling companions are invited to a memorial visitation and celebration of life with her family. Jean’s family looks forward to a time when we can all safely come together, visit, laugh, remember and be joyful!

Memorials may be directed to the Open Door Mission in Omaha, Nebraska, the Bloom Senior Center in Glenwood, Iowa or to the charity of your choice.

Interment, Glenwood Cemetery, Glenwood, Iowa.

41 Condolences

  • Matt Tackett Posted July 31, 2020 7:36 pm

    I will miss this great teacher. She really inspired me to always keep reading and to improve myself.

  • Nancy Schoening Posted July 31, 2020 7:37 pm

    i had her as my teacher, kind lady. Prayers for family.

  • Vicki Godfroy Posted July 31, 2020 7:45 pm

    She was one of my favorite teachers.

  • Leslie Speck Posted July 31, 2020 7:55 pm

    Such a beautiful soul! She touched so many lives including my family! She will be sorely missed.

  • Joe Messinger Posted July 31, 2020 8:22 pm

    Sorry for your loss Bruce, she had a lot of spunk

  • Kim O’Connor Posted July 31, 2020 8:28 pm

    Mrs. Strom will be sorely missed! As one of her many students, I profited from her dedication as a teacher and enjoyed socializing with her at events for the past (many) years. Her love of life and general sauciness made her such an entertaining member of our community! I wish her well at the end of a long and gracious journey.

  • Candy McCain Posted July 31, 2020 8:49 pm

    You will truly be missed “Sweetie”. She loved her students and they loved her. She taught me, my sister, and all three of my children. She was a special lady

  • Amy( Batten ) Runyon Posted July 31, 2020 11:00 pm

    She was one of my favorites. Tough, but fun. R.I.P. Mrs Strom….”my sweet baboo”.

  • Darla Pedersen Sell Posted July 31, 2020 11:42 pm

    A lovely, classy lady. One of my favorite teachers. She never forgot a student.

  • Shelly Yoing Lewis Posted August 1, 2020 1:39 am

    Godspeed my wonderful birthday twin! I’m so glad we got to chat just a couple months ago. You were always a joy and a smile in my heart.
    One of my favorite memories of you was when you were our Junior class sponsor for homecoming and you had the idea to use our golf cart to create a beehive and have classmates as bees around it. I think we were going for Sting the Mustangs (or whomever we were playing). We built this sturdy frame around the cart and used chicken wire and napkins (of course) to form the hive. It turned out super cool…until the sprinkles started coming down during the parade and the napkins got soaked and the hive got so heavy that it sagged over the exhaust. I swear Tami Ross and I just about died from carbon monoxide poisoning finishing the square and getting the hive back home.
    To my one and only birthday twin, wonderful teacher and friend, I say THANK YOU Mrs. Strom and GO RAMS!

  • Shelly Young Lewis Posted August 1, 2020 1:43 am

    And, of course, I can’t catch the spelling error in my own name. Pretty sure you got a giggle out of that one

  • Marrianne Driml Posted August 1, 2020 6:49 am

    What a role model I had! She taught me sooo much about teaching! Strong, classy,,intelligent, up beat!! My mentor and my friend!!!

  • Pat McManigal Posted August 1, 2020 7:02 am

    Sincerest Sympathy to those who loved this great lady who was beautiful both inside and out. May she Rest In Peace..
    hugs to you , Bruce.

  • Nancy Hopp Vanags Posted August 1, 2020 8:22 am

    Mrs. Strom was one of my favorite teachers and a true gem for GCHS. My sincere sympathy to the family.

  • Joe Messinger Posted August 1, 2020 8:24 am

    Sorry for your loss Bruce, I enjoyed your mom immensely—she had a lot of spunk, and in a good way

  • Daniel Crowl Posted August 1, 2020 8:45 am

    Mrs Strom taught me the most important skill I learned in high school; how to write well and communicate professionally. As a senior I even tried to re-take her English 10 class because I really felt like she understood me. She wouldn’t let me back into her class, but she did allow me to be her “senior reader” and help to correct the many paper assignments her students would turn in. So I got to see her pretty regularly during my senior year. I’ve thought of her often over the years with fondness and gratitude. I’m a small part of her amazing legacy as an educator. Rest In Peace Mrs Strom and thank you for making such a difference in my life.

  • Nancy Wright Posted August 1, 2020 9:03 am

    I enjoyed conversations with Jean when joining the group at the YMCA pool for the OWLS class. She was well-versed in many topics. She will be missed greatly!

  • Sybil Finken Posted August 1, 2020 9:16 am

    You have always been admired and you will be greatly missed. Pin a rose on you, dearest Jean.

  • Ann Oliphant (Parr) Posted August 1, 2020 9:26 am

    I have fond memories of my former neighbor. Jean will be missed by so many.

  • Cheryl Crisler Glidewell Posted August 1, 2020 9:31 am

    My deepest condolences to the family. Mrs. Strom was a wonderful teacher, demonstrating not only knowledge and experience but also with patience and wisdom. I remember her classes vividly as well as her smile. In recent years when I’d see her she was always cheerful and complimentary, appreciative of her life and many blessings. The Crisler family all thank her for her commitment to teaching us so that we learned and remembered and for her grace in leadership and community service.

  • Janet Torrez Posted August 1, 2020 10:21 am

    you were a great teacher and I will remember some of your sayings forever. my deepest condolences to your family. you were loved by all your students. heaven will be brighter with that beautiful smile.

  • Becky Fasnacht Pugsley Posted August 1, 2020 10:25 am

    So sad to read this. She was a wonderful teacher and such a joy to be in book discussions with. She was loved and she will be missed. Bruce you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Frank Truhlicka Posted August 1, 2020 11:43 am

    Sympathy to you and your family, your mother was a great teacher and wonderful person. She will be missed by all that knew her.

  • Anne (Tackett) Collingwood Posted August 1, 2020 1:18 pm

    Condolences to the family. Rest In Peace Mrs. Strom.

  • Bruce Hamilton Posted August 1, 2020 2:26 pm

    Condolences to Bruce and the entire Strom family. Jean, “Mrs. Strom” at the time, was a great teacher who influenced a lot of students. She will be sorely misses. Prayers to the entire family.

  • Merrilee Deitchler Posted August 1, 2020 2:43 pm

    I didn’t know her well but always respected her work as a teacher. My sympathies to the family

  • Dan and Kelly Houser Posted August 1, 2020 4:00 pm

    Mrs. Strom was a wonderful teacher she taught both of us in high-school. Pin a rose on you was something I remember s
    He would say often. She will be missed. Condolences to her family and friends.

  • Polly Jand Andy Young Posted August 1, 2020 4:37 pm

    So very sorry for our loss.. Mrs. Strom was the epitome of class, always kind and caring . We know she gave her all and enjoyed life to the fullest. She will be missed and fondly many.
    Prayers of comfort.

    Polly and Andy Young

  • michael mcmullen class of ’82 Posted August 1, 2020 5:01 pm

    What a truly wonderful person and teacher. Yes, her English class was difficult and her expectations of all of us were higher than that of most ordinary teachers we had. But equally, I truly believe she held herself to those high standards of excellence not just for us but for her herself. I’d like to think we all left her English class a little bit better than when we entered.

  • Kare N. Reeves Posted August 1, 2020 9:59 pm

    Bruce and all other family members, your Mom was definitely a one of a kind!! Sometimes I didnt like very much being the 4th child in my family when I got to Mrs. Strom’s English class. When I would raise my hand, she would point at me and sometimes she would call me Kathie, Sherri, then Gregg, and finally she would get the name right: Karen!! I often wonder if my younger brother Ron got called every name in our family, too!! I will miss seeing Mrs. Jean Strom’s cheerful smile. Rest in peace.

  • Elizabeth Colpitts Posted August 2, 2020 12:39 am

    My sincerest condolences to family & friends… Mrs. Strom was a firm & focused teacher who commanded discipline & respect. As her student, I truly appreciated & benefited from her structured environment. Of course, her kindness was the pinned rose.

  • Michael A Hudson Posted August 2, 2020 10:21 am

    Without a doubt the best teacher I had at GCHS. Anyone who could convince a 15 year old me to read (and enjoy!) Shakespeare had to be on top of her game. As an educator myself, I have developed a belated respect for the work and dedication of teachers like Ms. Strom.

  • Dianna Mellor Posted August 2, 2020 11:20 am

    I will miss your beautiful smile.
    You have always helped so many friends and will be missed.

  • Dorothy Wagner Brandt Posted August 2, 2020 7:57 pm

    I was a junior high student of Mrs Stromboli’s in Lewiston Nebr. She was an outstanding teacher. We live in Guthrie Center Iowa always wanted to go visit but never did. regret not doing so. Our sympathy to the family.

  • Neal Osler Posted August 3, 2020 9:23 am

    What a grand lady! She will be missed by the Class of ’73. My fondest memory: at the end of class she would always say, “c’est la vie!”.

  • Dan Nutting Class of 76 Posted August 3, 2020 3:38 pm

    I remember her well and always liked her, even when she made me sit in the hall for a semester. My condolences to the family.

  • DeAnna Deitchler Johnson Posted August 3, 2020 4:10 pm

    Oh, Bruce😞 What a shock to learn of her passing…I hope she didn’t suffer.
    She was an amazing teacher who was respected by all. Such a pretty lady, and
    she dressed professionally!
    So sorry for your loss,

  • Tim Gillispie Posted August 3, 2020 5:27 pm

    Oh Mrs. Strom – what an incredible teacher. Her class impacted me more than probably any other class I took at Glenwood and I hated English classes. It’s telling that I can still picture the classroom. How she always looked so classy, which was pretty easy for her to pull off. I was the deserving and somewhat proud recipient of several of her “well, pin a rose on you” comments. And the vocab words have served me well over the years! For all you did for your Glenwood kids, Thanks Mrs. Strom!

  • Nancy Middaugh Posted August 4, 2020 2:38 pm

    My sympathy to the Strom family. I taught in Hamburg for many years and enjoyed knowing Jean through our membership in Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

  • Bill Sargent Posted August 5, 2020 9:19 pm

    Everyone has described Mrs. Strom so well. A telltale sign of a great teacher is if a student like me still remembers what she taught. Words like; MAGNANIMOUS, ENNUI, EXTRICATE and SUPERFLOUS! Well done Mrs.Strom!

  • Joanna Osler Posted August 6, 2020 7:37 am

    Mrs. Strom was one of my favorite teachers. She had so much class and never forgot a student. I will miss our random encounters and her big, bright smile.

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