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Paul G. Jantzen

d. August 12, 2018

Hillsboro – Paul G. Jantzen, 91, died August 12, 2018 at Parkside Home in Hillsboro.  He was born April 1, 1927 in Beatrice, Nebraska to Jacob and Helen (Jantzen) Jantzen.  He taught Natural Science for many years at Hillsboro public schools.  He married Elaine Goering August 9, 1951 in Moundridge.  Survivors include: wife, Elaine Jantzen of Hillsboro; daughters, Lisa (Tim) Donahue of Lincolnville, Kristine (Lars) Meyerson of Kemah, Texas; brother, Carl Jantzen of Seven Mile, Ohio; sister, Helen Ruth Unruh of North Newton; grandchildren, Ashley (Robert) Donahue Olmstead of Goddard, Andrew (Krista) Donahue of Lincolnville, Madison Meyerson of Kemah, Texas, Jacob Meyerson of Kemah, Texas; great grandchild, Nessa Donahue.  Celebration of Life Service 11:00 a.m. Friday, August 17, 2018 at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro.  Committal service 10:00 a.m. Friday at Haven of Rest Cemetery rural Hillsboro.  Family will receive guests from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro.  Memorials to Offender Victim Ministries or First Mennonite Church in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063.  Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com

Taken from the Funeral Bulletin

Paul G Jantzen, PJ, (91) of Hillsboro passed away Sunday, August 12, 2018 at Parkside Home in Hillsboro.

Paul was the middle child of Jacob & Helen Jantzen and was born April 1st, 1927 in Beatrice NB. He was baptized at the Beatrice Mennonite Church as a young man. He attended & graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, KS, where he met his wife Elaine (Goering) Jantzen, with whom he celebrated 67 years on August 9, 2018.

After teaching in Radium & Buhler Kansas, he accepted a position in Hillsboro where he taught high school Biology, Chemistry & Physics until his retirement in 1992. He often expressed that “My biggest priority is to teach thinking”.

Early on in his career he would often take on summer jobs to support his family. You might have seen him managing the local swimming pool, at Hillsboro Industries painting or up on a roof with fellow teacher, Harvey Foyle, roofing or house painting.


Paul & Elaine also started their family in Hillsboro with the adoption of Lisa (Tim) Donahue, Lincolnville and 3 years later Kristine (Lars) Meyerson, Kemah, TX. Later they were excited to enjoy being involved in the lives of their 4 grandchildren, Ashley (Robert) Donahue Olmstead, Goddard, Andrew (Krista) Donahue, Lincolnville, Madison Meyerson, Jacob Meyerson, Kemah, TX and, in 2017, the addition of a great-granddaughter, Nessa Donahue.

During his early years of teaching he continued his education and completed his Masters Of Science Degree from Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia. He was actively involved with First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro, MCC, Hillsboro Tree Board for 30 years, Kansas Association of Biology Teachers, Hillsboro Recycling Center, Offender Victim Ministries, Newton, Marion County Democratic Party and many more volunteer organizations that he felt strongly about. PJ enjoyed people (he was often the last person to leave after church) and always found someone he knew to share his dry sense of humor, and visit with. He truly believed that people could change, forgive and grow through caring and education. Throughout his life he lived his faith and convictions.

PJ loved the Kansas Prairie and its creator. He spent much of his free time roaming the prairie and reflecting on the relationship of nature and Christianity. As an environmentalist he felt strongly about conserving the earth’s energy and resources. He also shared his love of the prairie with his family, friends and students. Many Sunday afternoons you could find him roaming the countryside. Summers he spent time at Camp Mennoscah as the camp Nature Leader, sharing with the campers the relationship between God and nature He enjoyed writing about his “prairie wonderings” and after many years of compiling stories, he was asked to write a column in the Hillsboro Star Journal and later published his book titled Prairie Wanderings. He also was a part of team hired by Macmillan Publishing Company in New York to write 2 biology text books. He wrote many other articles revolving around nature. One of his final publications was a book, Clover Cliff Ranch the Land and its People which chronicled the history of Clover Cliff Ranch in Chase County.

Not only did he enjoy writing about nature but also taking photos of the plants he studied. After his retirement he turned many of his photos into slide shows that he shared with groups and organizations. Paul and Elaine also shared the joy of music and he participated in Mennonite Men’s Choir, church choir and occasionally in other small vocal music groups.

He is survived by the love of his life, wife Elaine, their children, grandchildren and great granddaughter, sister Helen Ruth Unruh of North Newton, brother Carl (Anne) Jantzen, Seven Mile OH, brother-in-law Vern (Ruth) Goering, Moundridge, sister-in-law Judy Goering, Hesston and their families, as well as many students, friends, and his church and Parkside Home family.


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8 thoughts on “Paul G. Jantzen

  1. I have many memories of PJ…. as annoying as it was, my favorite was that he kept calling me Pam (my aunt)…. he finally gave up and just called me Miss Delk. I love the fact that generations, in a family, can share memories of the same teacher… you just don’t see that anymore. You are one of a kind, PJ, and will be missed!! Prayers of peace for your family!

  2. My thoughts & prayers are with you and my heart goes out to you as you mourn Uncle Paul’s passing.

    I remember Uncle Paul’s sense of humor well and also the day his book “Prairie Wonderings” arrived in the mail. My Dad was very excited.

    I also remember the summer of 1973 like it was yesterday…when we all met in Beatrice at the farm. I remember in particular, how hot it was and going swimming at the city pool with Lisa and our Mom’s.

    I’ve always been proud to be a Jantzen….primarily because of those who have gone before me including Uncle Paul.

    With deep sympathy,

    Daniel (Paul) Jantzen

    • Thank you Dan

      I hope one of these days we can all connect in person again! It has been a long time, I think the last time was at your Dad’s memorial service in Beatrice.

      Lisa Jantzen Donahue

  3. I am a former student and friend of Dr. Paul Jantzen and his wife, Elaine. Dr. Paul had a brilliant and totally unique view of the natural world and the talent to express his views through his writing. I have passed many happy hours reading and rereading his short stories in “Prairie Wanderings” over many years. When I am homesick for Kansas and the prairie I just pick up his “wanderings” and select a story at random and immerse myself completely. We should all be grateful that he was willing to share his emotions, intellect and immense knowledge about the natural world. His life and writing enhanced and enriched us all. He will be missed by so many people and my sympathy and heart go out to his family.

    • Thank you Rosemary, Having Dad share his love of the outdoors will always be part of our special memories.
      Also the flowers were beautiful, thank you!

      Lisa Jantzen Donahue

  4. Having Dr. Jantzen as a teacher was a gift I’ve grown to appreciate more in the many years since high school. I took every class he taught and that guided every educational choice thereafter. His quiet passion for nature still moves me to get outdoors and experience the prairie as food for my soul. May every child be so lucky as to someday have a teacher like PJ.

  5. PJ was my Biology Teacher at Hillsboro High School in 1967-68. I wasn’t a good student and didn’t particularly like sciences and math at the time. Funny though, after enlisting in the Marine Corps, I was trained as a Meteorological and Oceanography Officer. I often thought about PJ, thinking he would have a good laugh if he knew that my career revolved around sciences and math. I ended up teaching Meteorology for many years, and often related to my students about PJ having me do an environmental assessment of Vogt’s Pond. He was a good man, and I am sure he is in Heaven watching the environment he left behind.

  6. When I think of my Mennonite roots and church at First Mennonite Church, Mr. Jantzen comes to mind as an interesting favorite. I remember his regular announcements on Sunday mornings about one social justice issue or other, current MCC campaigns or keeping us current on things we should know outside of our Hillsboro existence. He was a teacher outside of the classroom too.

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