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Jean Ylitalo

1953 – 2021

Jean Marie Ylitalo, age 69, of rural Sebeka, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on January 12, 2022, following a long journey with Pick’s disease. Jean was born on January 8, 1953, in Minneapolis, MN to John and Viola Waaraniemi, the fifth of thirteen children.

When Jean was 12 years of age, her mother was called to her heavenly home. At that young age, Jean willingly took on the role of mother, helping her father with household chores and caring for the young children. Her siblings have often spoken of the love and care she provided to them. Jean graduated from North High School in Minneapolis in 1971. She spent her early years after high school in the Minneapolis area, living in Finland, and in a joint bakery venture in Wolf Lake, MN.

On August 12, 1978, Jean was united in marriage to Kermit Ylitalo. This union was blessed with twelve children: daughters, Amanda (Phil) Hoium, and Krista, and sons: Nicholas (Pearl), Kirk (Liisa), Isaac, Anthony (Kristen), Ashley, Carl (Ashley), Daniel (Kara), Joshua, Jacob and Micah.

Jean had a gift with people. Her warm manner made those who interacted with her feel welcomed and loved. She opened her home to many – especially during the holidays – family, friends, and those without a place to go. She loved to sing, especially Songs and Hymns of Zion. Time was always made for singing at gatherings she hosted. She loved to visit and was a trusted confidant who freely gave advice and counsel.

Jean led a full and busy life. In addition to providing a stable and love-filled home for her children, she was an active member of her local Laestadian Lutheran congregation and served a number of years as the Camp Hostess at Stony Lake Camp. Becoming a Grandmother was a joy; she showered her grandchildren with love and attention. In later years, her illness changed how she served her family yet she remained a precious wife, mother and grandmother who loved them dearly until the end.

Throughout her time with Pick’s Disease, Jean received loving care at home from her husband and family, along with dear friends. In the early stages, there were many challenges and those who knew her felt a strong sense of loss. As time progressed, blessings from this new phase blossomed and Jean experienced peace and contentedness. She settled into a new routine – car rides through the countryside, daily walks, and enjoying companionship of her family and friends. She often communicated with a smile and nod, replacing words she could no longer speak. During these years, she provided a warm and calming presence. She will be greatly missed. With the support of Hospice of the Red River Valley, Jean was comfortably cared for at home through her final days.
Jean was preceded in death by son Micah, infant grandson Gabriel, her parents, step-mother Esther, brother John, sister Lisa, mother and father-in-law Edna and Jack, four sisters-in-law and six brothers-in-law.

Left to mourn are her husband of 43 years, her dear children, 41 dear grandchildren, siblings Kathryn Helmke, Duane (Carol), Neil (Ruth), Paul (Diane), Mark (Kathy), Ray (Leanda), Keith (Kathy), Ann, Daniel (Marjo), and Ruth Potter, and a host of relatives and friends in faith.

Jean’s faith was dear and precious to her. She left a precious testimony and has gained the victory which has been promised to all who remain faithful to the end.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, January 20, 2022 at Laestadian Lutheran Church in Menahga, MN and continue one hour prior to the funeral service at the church. A Prayer Service will be held at 7 p.m.

Funeral Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022 at Laestadian Lutheran Church of Menahga, MN. Interment will be at Balmi Cemetery.

Arrangements are entrusted to Wevley Funeral Home of Sebeka. Online condolences may be left at

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