Janis Maxine Goetzinger passed away peacefully on February 8, 2024. Jan was born on March 23, 1936, in Alliance, Nebraska to Samuel J. Sr. and Clara O. (Leu) Kline. She had one younger brother, Sam Kline. Jr. Sam and Jan were raised and nurtured among a swell of aunts, uncles and cousins who all resided on Potash Avenue in Alliance.
Jan was a "City Girl" who met her future husband, a former “Country Boy” from Hemmingford, NE, after he returned from the Korean War, while she was a telephone operator using the old switchboard to connect calls. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1957, she married her sweetheart Gerald Goetzinger in Alliance. Jerry and Jan then moved to Martin where they raised their four children: Mike, Pat, Cathy and Tom.
Jerry & Jan owned and operated a farm implement and salvage business known as Goetzinger Enterprises, Ltd., with its divisions GE Farm Supply, GE Sales & Salvage and GE Manufacturing. Jan & Jerry operated GE for 45 years, retiring in 2002.
The American Legion & Auxiliary were a huge part of both Jerry and Jan's lives. Jan joined the Post 24o Legion Auxiliary in 1962 and was a proud member for 62 years. Jan held many local, state and national positions. Locally, Jan was the gatekeeper for access to the Legion Hall when it was located in the basement of the old Legion Auditorium. If you wanted to use the Legion Hall, you first had to talk to Jan.
Jan was elected SD Legion Auxiliary State President in 1988-1989, which complimented Jerry’s position as State Commander in 1976-77, one of only a few couples to hold the top state office in both the Legion and Auxiliary. Jan was also elected American Legion Auxiliary National Vice President in 1998-1999, again mirroring Jerry’s term as National Vice Commander of the American Legion. Some of their best times were spent traveling the country with their Legion Family. Jan’s Auxiliary leadership teams were referred to as “Jan’s Jewels.” Jan’s tenure in Legion leadership was notable for her gifts of bejeweled bling to members. Even today, Jan’s bling still delights grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 1984, the Martin Beta Iota Chapter presented Jan with the DIANA Award, the Distinguished International Academy of Notable Achievement. Jan was very appreciative that her Martin friends honored her with the local DIANA Award.
For as long as Jerry and Jan lived in Martin, they were active parishioners of the local Catholic church, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Jan was a voracious reader of books about the Panhandle of Nebraska, the Sand Hills, Native Americans, the South Dakota prairie and the Black Hills. She left a well-stocked library of such books at the Family Cabin in the Black Hills for family and visitors to enjoy.
Her grandchildren will remember her for always spoiling them with sweet treats: bear claw donuts, cinnamon gum and whatever was stashed in her candy drawer, as well as providing the side dishes and desserts to accompany whatever manner of main course Jerry whipped up for family and friends.
Janis is preceded in death by her parents, Sam, Sr. and Clara Kline, her brother Sam Kline, Jr., his wife Mary Lou, Jan’s granddaughter Brooke Goetzinger, and her husband Gerald Goetzinger who passed away in June 2023.
She is survived by her children, Mike and his wife Karen, Pat and his wife Erin, Cathy and her husband Pete Bolzer, Tom and his wife Kim. Janis leaves 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, each and every one, Jan’s Jewels.
Funeral services will be held Monday February 19, 2024, 10:00 am, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Martin, SD. Burial will be held at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 11:00 am. Bennett County Funeral Service was in charge of arrangements.