Colleen Jolly, 71

Colleen Jolly

Colleen Kay Drackley Jolly, 71, passed away on Sunday, January 21 at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Colleen was born on April 8, 1946 in Tracy, Minnesota.  She grew up on a small dairy farm with her sister and two brothers.  Her parents Arthur and Charlotte (Shannon) farmed and taught in public schools.  Their household was filled with quiet faith, a love of literature and the natural world surrounding them.  Colleen carried these values throughout her life and passed them on to her children.

In 1964 Colleen graduated from Tracy High School and began her studies at the University of Minnesota. She majored in Home Economics Education and graduated with honors in 1968.  While attending the U, she met her future husband Robert Jolly.  Colleen and Bob were married on March 17, 1968 in Tracy Methodist Church in Tracy, MN.

Bob left for Officer Candidate School three weeks after they were married.  Colleen joined him after graduation and for the next 3 years lived the life of a Navy wife in Norfolk Va.  During the Norfolk years, Colleen began her teaching career – teaching home economics at Jaycox Junior High School

After leaving the Navy, Colleen and Bob began their graduate studies at the University of Minnesota.  Colleen received her MA in Family Social Science in 1974.

In 1975, after Bob completed his degree, Colleen and her family moved to Alberta, Canada where Bob began his work with Agriculture Canada.  Colleen started working for Lacombe Family Social Services as an adult educator

Family ties drew Colleen and her family back to Ames, IA and Iowa State University in 1979.  For the first 8 years, Colleen was fully engaged in parenting, community organizations and all the other activities of a young mother.  She began working for Iowa State University Extension in 1987 as the Story County Home Economist.  In 1993, she accepted a position on campus as an Extension Specialist in Family Development.  Her work focused on the educational and support needs of families confronting the demands of aging and frail parents.  She put this knowledge to use in her own life as she cared for both her parents and parents-in-law in Minnesota for well over 20 years.

Colleen retired from ISU in 2007.  She continued her involvement with First United Methodist Church, AAUW and served on the Board of Iowa Caregivers in Des Moines.  For over 10 years, she volunteered at Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance.

Colleen’s greatest joy in life was spending time with her family.  She also treasured her quiet time when she could work on her many writing projects.  Colleen loved reading good mysteries, music, traveling and exploring nature.  To her family, friends and co-workers, Colleen was a gentle, kind, trustworthy soul who was fiercely committed to the things she believed in.   

Colleen is survived by her husband, Bob of Ames, daughter Shannon Jolly, Beloit WI, son Dan Jolly, daughter-in-law Stacy, and grandchildren Conor and Clare of Andover, MN. Colleen’s mother-in-law Marguerite Jolly is still living in Onalaska, WI.  Her surviving siblings are Barb and Fred Volkmann, Tucson, AZ, Richard and Linda Drackley, Decorah, Iowa and Jim and Tonya Moore Drackley, Urbana, IL.  She is also survived by sister-in-law, Janis Jolly, LaCrosse, WI and her partner Mark Stahlhut as well as Janelle Keltgen and her husband, John Lauridsen of Ames, IA.

Colleen loved her nieces and nephews and their families – Jennifer and Tim McDonough, Rockville, MD, Rebecca Volkmann, Washington DC, Chris Volkmann, St. Louis, MO, Kris and Don Heidemann, Forest City, IA, Jordan and Blake Hansen, Hudson, IA, Patrick Drackley, Champaign, IL, Michael Drackley, Chicago, IL, Andy Drackley, Chicago, IL, Meredith Thomsen and Josh Miner, LaCrosse, WI and Colin Thomsen and Ellen Peterson of Oslo, Norway.

Colleen was preceded in death by her infant son Michael, her parents, Art and Charlotte Drackley and her father-in-law William Jolly.

Colleen’s family and friends will celebrate her life at a memorial service at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at First United Methodist Church in Ames. A visitation will be held 5:00 – 7:00 pm on Friday, March 9, also at the church.  The Reverend Fred Lewis will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Colleen’s memory would be directed toward the missions programs of the UMW at First United Methodist Church in Ames, the AAUW Foundation, Iowa Caregivers of Des Moines, IA or Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance of Ames.

Colleen’s family would like to thank the nurses and doctors in the Neuro/Trauma ICU at Mercy Hospital for their skill, compassion and honesty during a very difficult week. We are also grateful for the love and support of Colleen’s many friends and neighbors.