Official Obituary of

Jean Marie Effken

August 29, 1929 ~ February 28, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Jean Effken Obituary

Jean Marie Effken

Jean M. Effken, 94, of Cook, Nebraska passed away on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, in Lincoln. 

Jean was born on August 29, 1929, in Omaha, Nebraska to Joseph and Marie (Vorel) Satrapa.  She graduated from Omaha Technical High School in 1946.  She received her B.A. in Government and History on June 5, 1950, from the Municipal University of Omaha (now University of Nebraska at Omaha), where she was a member of the Student Council, worked in the campus bookstore and was active in other campus organizations.

In the summer of 1950, she moved to Cook, Nebraska to begin her career as a high school teacher at the Cook Community Schools.  Almost immediately, she met her husband-to-be, William A. Effken.  Jean and Bill were married in Cook on May 25, 1951.  They had three sons, Chris, Matt and Kurt, who provided Jean with numerous headaches and occasional joys over the years.

During her decades-long teaching career, Jean taught English and literature to hundreds of high school students at Cook Community and Nemaha Valley High Schools.  At the beginning of her career, she served as coach of the Cook girls softball team.  Never having played the game herself, she learned the rules from reading a book.  She also directed numerous school plays, founded the Apollos literary club, served as pep club sponsor and guided Nemaha Valley speech teams to great success at state competitions.  Even late in life, she enjoyed corresponding with former students and often reviewed a scrapbook she had filled with photos and other mementos of her pupils.

Jean was a resident of Cook for 71 years, until she relocated to assisted living in Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 92.  A child of the Great Depression, Jean saved buttons, re-used aluminum foil and knew how to make spectacular cinnamon rolls out of leftover mashed potatoes.  In her college yearbook, she had expressed her desire to visit the European capitals she learned about as a student.  She finally made it in her late 70s, when she visited the Czech Republic, including the city of Plzen, her mother’s birthplace.  Jean returned to the Czech Republic several times, bringing along grandchildren and one of her sons.  She liked to grow flowers, enjoyed feeding the birds and loved dogs.

She is survived by her son Chris, his wife Gail and their children Ashley Prothro (James) and Chris R. Effken (Stephanie); son Matt and his wife Liane; son Kurt, his wife Julie and their children Travis Effken and Kali McGinnis (Kasey); and nine great-grandchildren: Samantha Jean Effken (Travis); Sophia, Heidi, Elizabeth, Charles and James Prothro (Ashley and James); and Gracie, Benjamin and Judah Effken (Chris R. and Stephanie).

She was preceded in death by her husband William Effken, her parents and her brother Joseph Satrapa, Jr. 

Memorial Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2024 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Cook, Nebraska with Rev. Jim Helgren officiating.  A link to the livestream of the funeral is also now available on the bottom of Jean's webpage.    

Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 5-6 p.m. Friday, March 8, 2024 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska.

Memorials may go to the Grace Lutheran Church, Cook, Nebraska.

Inurnment will be in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery, rural Cook, Nebraska.

Online condolences may be left @

Arrangements are entrusted to Wherry Mortuary, Tecumseh, Nebraska.

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March 8, 2024

9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Wherry Mortuary, Tecumseh
202 N. 3rd Street
Tecumseh, NE 68450

Family Greeting Friends
March 8, 2024

5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Wherry Mortuary, Tecumseh
202 N. 3rd Street
Tecumseh, NE 68450

Memorial Service
March 9, 2024

10:30 AM
Grace Lutheran Church

Cook, NE 68329

Video is available for this event


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