Jeanette Naley, 97, of Decorah, died Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Memorial services are at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at Decorah Lutheran Church, with Rev. David Sorensen and Rev. Bryan Robertson officiating. Private family inurnment is in Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah. Visitation begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, one hour before the service, at Decorah Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

Cora Jeanette Mikelson Naley was born March 21, 1917, to Knut and Anna (Gullikson) Mikelson in Pleasant Township rural Decorah, and spent her entire life in the Decorah area. She was the third daughter born to Knut and Anna and always enjoyed the comfort of being the baby in the family. She was baptized at home by Rev. Peterson, who was pastor for a short time at Big Canoe Lutheran Church. Jeanette was a member of Big Canoe and was confirmed there June 15, 1931, by Rev. T. O. Tolo. She received her early education in the rural schools of Winneshiek County. Jeanette attended Pleasant No. 2 rural school for all eight grades. She stayed home a year and then started high school in Decorah. She graduated from Decorah High School in the class of 1935 in Normal Training. She attended summer school at Iowa State Teachers College (U.N.I.) and also took classes at Luther College. She started teaching the fall of 1935 in Pleasant No. 1 and then taught at Locust school, Pleasant No. 3. She taught at Red Oak School in Springfield Township and also at the Bakke School in Springfield Township. She then went to Kjome School in Highland Township, Springwater School and North Winneshiek Community School District. Jeanette was married to Merlin O. Naley Dec. 22, 1948, at Big Canoe by Pastor William T. Hexom during Christmas vacation while she taught at Bakke School. Jeanette and Merlin were parents to three children: Vernon, Duane and Muriel. Her main interests in life were her family and her church. She taught for 26 years in the country schools of Winneshiek County. Later she worked for 29 years at the Luther College Book Shop. She loved her work there and made several lifetime friends. She enjoyed 23 years of retirement, living only the last three and a half years at Aase Haugen Home. In the fall of 1991 she went on a trip to Norway with her son Vernon and niece Linda (Forde) Ott. She visited Oslo and took the train to Voss and Bergen area and met with relatives at the Farm where her grandfather lived as a young man before immigrating to America.  She also enjoyed visiting sites in Cologne, Germany, Amsterdam, Holland and London, England on the trip. Jeanette loved to bake cookies, buns and sweet rolls. She often shared them with her family and close neighbors. For family dinners her favorite was meatballs, gravy and mashed potatoes and lemon pie. In the early 1960’s she became a member of Decorah Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday school, was a member of the Church Council and was active in church circles. She had been a member of Luther College Woman’s Club and President of WELCA. Her life centered on prayer, every day praying and thanking God for her family, friends and America as well as God’s help and protection.

Jeanette is survived by her son, Vernon of Decorah; her daughter, Muriel (Orville) Holland of Minneapolis; two granddaughters, Joanna Holland (special friend, Ryan Willemsen) of Minneapolis and Kelsey (Daniel) Hishon of Hamilton, New Zealand; two sisters-in-law, Marcella Amundson and Charlotte Naley of Decorah; and many nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Merlin, Sept. 29, 1965; her son, Duane, Feb. 3, 1990; sisters, Myrtle (Lewis) Forde and Nora (Levi) Guttebo; sisters-in law, Jan (Kenneth) Baran and Ellen Naley; brothers-in-law: Lester Amundson, Elwood Naley and Leland (Edith) Naley; and nephews, William Naley and Kenneth Forde.

Memorials may be given to Decorah Lutheran Church, 309 Winnebago St., Decorah, IA 52101, Aase Haugen Home, 4 Ohio St., Decorah, IA 52101, Big Canoe Lutheran Church, 1381 Big Canoe Road, Decorah, IA 52101 or Lutheran Cemetery, c/o Decorah Memorial Co., 213 Washington St., Decorah, IA 52101.