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Jeanette R Durchslag

March 7, 1919 June 26, 2014
Jeanette R Durchslag
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Obituary for Jeanette R Durchslag

Jeanette Robin Durchslag Obituary Rhinelander, Wisconsin, June 26, 2014 Jeanette Robin Durchslag, age 95, died on June 26, 2014, in her apartment at Grace Lodge, Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Jeanette was born on March 7, 1919, in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago, to Rose Kaplan Robin and Albert Robin. Jeanette grew up living above her father’s Chicago pharmacy. In 1937 she graduated from Roosevelt High School. Jeanette had wanted to be a lawyer, but with the passing of her father, her mother wanted her to marry and have a family. So she attended Moser Business College, graduating at the top of her class while acquiring excellent secretarial and typing skills. To get a job, however, she learned she could not admit she was Jewish, and started putting Protestant on her applications. After that, she quickly landed jobs as a secretary, but soon grew frustrated by the sexism rampant in the office environment and decided it was now time to attend college. She attended Chicago Teachers College, graduating in 1943 with an intermediate and upper grades teaching certificate. In 1942, Jeanette married Irving Phillip Durchslag. She taught in the public schools until 1950, at which point she and Irv began a family. They had three children: Donald, Debra and Robert. Jeanette and Irv divorced in 1980. Jeanette resumed her teaching career in 1964, first working with unwed mothers in downtown Chicago, and then teaching reading at the Michelle Clark Middle School. In 1973 she transferred to the Joan F. Arai Middle School, retiring from there in 1990. Missing teaching she returned a year later to help the students who fell between the cracks when the policy of social promotion was discontinued. “I took on the underachieving kids and taught them how to read,” she explained. She was much loved by the students of Joan Arai, and by their parents, who understood how important it was for a child to learn to read. She stuck with her students, encouraging and cajoling them to care enough about themselves to finish school. She said the key to success in teaching is when the students know that you really care about them, and the kids can always tell if you care about them or not. Many of her former middle school students remembered her lovingly for years afterward. One student, later working at Jeanette’s favorite movie theater, never let her pay for her movie ticket. Another student she tutored went on to become a Rhodes Scholar and a U.S. Congressman. Jeanette finally retired at age 79 in 1994. The friends Jeanette made while living thirty-one years in East Rogers Park remember her as a wise and generous neighbor whom they greatly respected. Many remember how dedicated she was to her job of teaching reading. One remarked, “Jeanette could teach even a desk to read.” Others remembered her as a great teacher with a courtesy and energy that was infectious, and as a friend full of wisdom and fun. Jeanette was very politically active throughout her life and was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights, and gay and lesbian rights. She attended the 1963 March on Washington and protested the Viet Nam War at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. As a young woman, she supported the Lincoln Brigade of young Chicago men and women who went to fight the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. She was a lifelong reader of good literature and never lost her love for learning. She also loved going to the movies and dining out with dear friends. She stayed fit by taking exercise classes, standing on her head and enjoying long, daily walks along the shore of her dear Lake Michigan. In 2012 Jeanette moved to Rhinelander to be near her daughter, Debra. Jeanette was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Milton and Albert; and former husband, Irving. She is survived by her three children: Debra Durchslag (Craig Zarley) of Rhinelander, Donald Durchslag (Sarah Renberg) of Chicago, and Robert Durchslag of Chicago; and by her seven grandchildren: Jesse Zarley (Katie Schultz) of Washington, D.C.; Alexander Zarley of Raleigh, N.C.; Lisa Durchslag of Bridgeview, Ill.; Benjamin Durchslag (Ashley) of Chicago; Daniel Durchslag of Schaumburg, Ill.; William Durchslag of Michigan; and Rudolph, and Janika Durchslag of Chicago; and several nieces and nephews. The family held a private celebration of Jeanette’s life. In lieu of flowers, people may make a donation in Jeanette’s name to ArtStart, PO Box 896 Rhinelander, WI 54501. Online condolences may be shared at NIMSGERN FUNERAL & CREMATION SERVICES OF WOODRUFF, WI IS SERVING THE FAMILY.

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