Lois Jean Meneley, better known as "Jeanne," was the first child of John Nixon Meneley and Henrietta Viola Butschek Meneley. She was born mid-afternoon on May 16, 1938, at her grandparents' home in Moulton, Texas. At the age of 12, Jeanne was the oldest of five children, when her father was tragically killed in an automobile accident only two weeks before her youngest sister was born. She was forced to grow up and take on important responsibilities as the oldest child. From this tragic event, her protective and nurturing motherly instincts were formed.
Jeanne was involved in many activities and received many honors during her high school years. She was on the Student Council all four years and was selected Class President her Senior year. She played flute in the band starting in the 5th grade and was a majorette her senior year. She also played piano and served as organist for St. James Catholic Church for many years, beginning when she was 15 years old. She was a member of the Gonzales High School Class of 1956.
Jeanne had always hoped she would go to college and had enrolled at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio. During the summer of 1956, she competed in and won the district pageant sponsored by the Texas Dairy Association and subsequently won the state-wide pageant to become Texas’ first Dairy Princess. With the responsibility and the time commitment of this role (i.e., making newspaper, magazine, and TV ads for dairy products, special appearances at various meetings, and preparing for the national competition), she made the decision to put college on hold to honor her commitments. The national competition in Chicago was quite an experience for her, but she was ready to get on with her life!
Just before the Chicago trip, she had been on one date with David Walshak, and she knew he was “The One”. They dated for several months and on her birthday in 1957, he asked her to marry him. She was in quite a quandary, though, because this meant putting college on hold - again. She thought about it overnight, made a trip to San Antonio the next day to get her thoughts together. That night, she told him, "Yes."
They were married on August 10, 1957, and it was such a happy marriage. They were especially blessed with the birth of their first child, a daughter named Ronette Elaine, born June 2, 1958. Their happiness was increased when their son, David Bernard Walshak, Jr., was born on May 31, 1960, followed by Michelle D'Aun, born on April 7, 1962, and their last child, Valerie Elizabeth on July 12, 1964.
Every Friday night, David was the "Voice of the Apaches" as he announced the high school football games, and afterward they would gather with friends at someone’s home for refreshments and to rehash the game. Jeanne and David belonged to a monthly Supper Club, had many friends, and did a lot of entertaining! In line with the entertaining was the cooking and baking for which she was known, and friends so looked forward to seeing their white station wagon pull up at Christmastime with the Walshak kids bringing a gift platter filled with homemade kolaches, cinnamon rolls and pigs-in-the-blankets!
Jeanne was active in the Music Study Club, the Girl Scouts (serving as Neighborhood Chairman), the Spade and Trowel Garden Club, and even took art lessons for a time. She played Bridge with a special group of friends and continued to play the organ at St. James Catholic Church.
On her 31st birthday the family spent the first night in their ‘new’ home. They built a beautiful brick patio under a spreading elm tree, and David had a huge garden which produced vegetables for family, neighbors, and friends. The yard was big enough for baseball and other sports. The family enjoyed working in the yard and entertaining out on our large patio.
As in every life, there are happy times and sad times, and one of the most devastating took place on April 1, 1976, when David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had three months to live. Jeanne had lost her dad (he was only 38) when she was not yet twelve, and now she would ultimately lose her husband at the age of 45 on November 30, 1976, when she was only 38 years old. With the loving support of family and friends and time, somehow, they all survived.
In 1980, four years after David's death, Jeanne went to work for Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative and served as Member Services Secretary, a position she held for almost 23 years, before retiring in July 2003.
During those years, she became an avid duplicate Bridge player and had an opportunity to compete against some professional bridge players in international competitions, including Mexico and Bermuda. Many close friendships were formed over these card games.
It was also during these years that Jeanne discovered her passion for genealogy and was fortunate to meet newly found family members and get to know others (and their histories) better. From distant grandfather, Giles Cory, (the only man to have been stoned to death in the Salem Witch Trials) to her great, great grandfather, Sion Record
Bostick (the young man who was one of three Texians who captured General Santa Anna after the battle of San Jacinto) – these are just some of the family stories she helped to uncover and made sure that her family was aware of as part of their history.
Her children all graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, so there were opportunities to cheer for the Longhorns and get aggravated when the games didn’t go the right way!
Jeanne was blessed with another great love when she married Robert Ragsdale Boothe, Jr. in 2004. Bob had lost his wife, Martha, to cancer 3 1/2 years prior to this time, and Bob and Jeanne had known each other since they were kids in Gonzales Junior High School, when Bobby was playing the trumpet/bass in the band. Bobby was the person with the funny sense of humor who kept everyone in stitches and got into trouble for causing so much commotion. Just for the record, Bob was instrumental in setting up David and Jeanne together for that first date back in 1957. Bob had even served as a groomsman in their wedding!
David and Bob had served together in the National Guard for many years and were such good friends. They shared many memorable events and stories, so when the Boothes came to Gonzales to check on Bob’s mother throughout the years, Bob and Martha and David and Jeanne would get together for a visit and go out to eat. They knew each other's families, and, as couples, they were the best of friends, especially when it came to football games between David’s Longhorns and Martha’s Crimson Tide!?!? It turned “ironic” when all Bob & Martha’s children (and grandsons!) went to Auburn!!!
Bob and Jeanne were married on April 4, 2004, and the family believes that the marriage was a “God-wink,” and something they were both grateful for! To have known each other for so long and to have traveled such different paths to bring them to this common destination was amazing! With Bob’s children and families living in Alabama, three of Jeanne’s kids in Texas, and her daughter, Michelle, living in Indiana, Bob and Jeanne equally divided their time between their two homes. They have referred to this approach as “the quarter system”, spending three months in Gonzales and then three months in Huntsville.
For the past 17 years, the Boothes’ life together was a laid-back lifestyle, one they both thoroughly enjoyed, whether they were in Texas or Alabama. As Bob has said, “Just as long as we can keep the mail and the medicines going to the right place, we’ve got it made!” For a long time, they’ve enjoyed a morning card game of Five Crowns together, and when in Texas, they play “Hand and Foot” with their regular Tuesday evening group!
They looked forward to having coffee on the patio and sharing conversations with the friendly neighborhood chickens and kitty cat, and in Alabama, coffee was enjoyed while watching the birds and looking at the creek from their sunroom.
As long as Jeanne had her genealogy and her computer, and the occasional cemetery stop, she was happy! Jeanne served as the Historian for the Butschek and Meneley families and gained a deeper appreciation for her ancestors and the hardships they endured. She was also a proud member of the Descendants of San Jacinto and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Lois Jean Boothe was preceded in death by her parents: John Nixon Meneley and Henrietta Viola Butschek Meneley, her husband: David Bernard Walshak, Sr, two brothers: Richard Henry Meneley and Michael Andrew Meneley, and her son-in-law: Robert Page Remschel, Jr.
Survivors include her husband: Robert (Bob) Ragsdale Boothe; daughters: Ronette Walshak (Fredericksburg), Michelle Braden and husband, Jeff (New Albany, IN), Valerie Remschel (Fredericksburg), and Kimberly Collette and husband, Joe (Huntsville, AL); and sons: David Walshak, Jr. (Fairport, NY), Scott Boothe and wife, Susan (Huntsville, AL), and Michael Boothe and wife, Melissa (Huntsville, AL).
She is also survived by sisters, Susan Ainsworth and Karen Hoffman; brother, John Meneley and wife, Theresa; and sisters-in-law, Lorraine Walshak, Joan Walshak, Murlene Walshak Enke, Patricia Walshak Bianchi and husband, Vincent, and Carolyn Boothe Cox.
Surviving grandchildren include: Grandsons: David Walshak, III; Jim Braden; Jeffrey Braden; David Remschel and wife, Tasha; Richard Remschel and wife, Megan; Robert Boothe; William Boothe; Jordan Boothe; Austin Boothe; Parker Boothe; and Carter Boothe. Granddaughters: Kendall Walshak; Katie Ketchem and husband, Greg; Mary Braden; Robyn Remschel and fiancé, Gatlin Grosch; and Cory Patteson and husband, Kyle. Great-grandchildren include Jackson and Lucas Ketchem and Nicholas Remschel. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Jeanne also leaves behind many dear friends who have been touched by her grace, grit, sense of humor, and her loving ways. She blessed many lives and lived life well…
The family would like to extend a note of sincere thanks to the entire staff at Gonzales Memorial Hospital for the excellent care given to Jeanne during her recent hospital stay. Subsequent in-home care provided by The Care Team Hospice was also notable. The care and guidance provided was exceptional and so truly appreciated.
Visitation was held on Monday, December 20, at Seydler-Hill Funeral Home from 5:00pm until 7:00pm. Rosary services will be held immediately following visitation. A celebration of Jeanne’s life will be held at St. James Catholic Church at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 with Bishop Michael Boulette celebrating, Fr. Jason Martini and Fr. Paul Raaz concelebrants. Burial will follow at St. James Catholic Cemetery. On-line condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorials be made in Jeanne’s name to Gonzales Healthcare Foundation, Norma’s House, Huntsville Baptist Missionary, or a charity of one’s choice. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.