Jennie B. Kappes, 85, died Wednesday, March 21, 2007, of natural causes at Northern Montana Care Center.
Cremation has taken place, and her memorial service will be held at 11a. m. Wednesday at the Holland & Bonine Funeral Chapel. The Rev. Gail Wheatley will officiate. Burial is to follow at Highland Cemetery. Jennie was born on Sept. 13, 1921, in Hibbing, Minn., to Greek immigrants Steven and Mary Bitsianes. Like many first-generation Americans of her time struggling through the Great Depression, she and her siblings embraced higher education and professional achievement. Her brother Gust, for instance, became a respected professor at the University of Minnesota. After graduating from Hibbing High School in 1938, Jennie attended Hibbing Junior College and Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education with honors in 1943. She then taught elementary school mostly fourth- through sixth-grade in Minneapolis, Denver and Great Falls. There, she met Howard A. Kappes, a Navy veteran employed by the U. S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service). The couple moved to Boise, Idaho, where they were married in 1951, and raised two sons. Howard’s job took the family to Havre in 1969. After her children were grown, Jennie returned to teaching in the city schools’ Title I tutoring program. She particularly enjoyed meeting former students and learning about their lives and accomplishments. Jennie was a longtime member of the Delta Kappa Gamma professional honor society for women educators and a parishioner of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. After her retirement from teaching in 1983, she did volunteer work at the Havre Public Library. She enjoyed knitting, creating a variety of colorful sweaters and afghans for friends and family through the years, and was an avid reader. She had recently become fond of Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series of novels about the life and times of a fictional Episcopal parish. Jennie was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Gust; and husband, Howard, who died in 1986. Survivors include her sons, David of Havre and John of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; sisters, Mary of Hibbing and Evangeline (Lou) Murdock of Delta, Utah; two nephews; and a niece. Memorial contributions in Jennie’s name may be made to the Mayo Clinic Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in Rochester, Minn. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland & Bonine Funeral Home in Havre.