Verona, Wisconsin - Jean O’Brien Elefson, age 67, passed away on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at Noel Manor. Born on August 9, 1953 in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, the daughter of Leo O’Brien and Mary O’Brien (née Dunn). She grew up on her family farm and graduated from Edgewood High School in 1971. She continued her studies at UW Madison and ultimately earned a PhD in Agriculture Journalism in 1989. Jean married Vern Elefson on August 6, 1988 at Springdale Lutheran Church in Mount Horeb. Together they resided in River Falls, Wisconsin where they raised their two sons, Eric and Ryan. Jean devoted her career to helping form young people. She worked as a 4H agent and moved on to serve as professor of Ag Journalism at UW River Falls where she also directed the internship program. In her retirement, Jean enthusiastically followed her passions. She was a faithful wife and mother. She compiled a tremendous family history of the O’Briens in southern Wisconsin. And she employed quilting and story-telling to host feature events for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days in Pepin, Wisconsin. From 2017 until her passing, Jean resided in Verona at Noel Manor. Her smile and the Irish spark in her eyes spoke volumes of her warmth and tenacity despite a multitude of medical challenges which she faced with unparalleled determination.
Jean is survived by her two sons Eric Elefson (Kayla) and Ryan Elefson and by her siblings Catherine Schneider (Bill) and Charles O’Brien (Roxi).
Preceded in death by her husband Vern Elefson, by her parents Leo and Mary O’Brien, and by her brother James O’Brien.
A special thanks to Barbara Butler and to the devoted staff of Noel Manor and Heartland Hospice who served both Jean and Vern in their final years.
Due to Covid-19, a private service for family will be held at St. Christopher Parish in Verona. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the following:
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, Wisconsin. https://www.lauraingallspepin.com/donate/
Noel Manor, Verona. (608) 620-6010
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com. Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services Verona Chapel 220 Enterprise Drive 608-845-6625