PROBITUARY – A NOTICE OF LIFE!
Jannan Malanaphy Interviewed by granddaughter Deirdre Christopher
Jannan Malanaphy turned 91 in May. She still lives on her own and drives herself to church, Fareway, Walmart, and around town. She has always been an avid walker. We put a pedometer on her one week and she averaged around 13,000 steps a day! She usually walks about 3-4 miles a day. Those of you that have walked with Jannan, you know it is hard to keep up with her! Even at 91. She walks fast, and she times herself every day. She likes to say, “move it or lose it!” If she can’t walk outside, she walks around her apartment. She’s a firm believer that her walking, for most of her adult life, and her vitamins, is what has kept her going for all these years! She was also attending weekly exercise classes up until COVID. Jannan thanks God every day for her good health. Her oldest son, John, recalls mom always saying, “I know that we all have to die sometime, but I’m going kicking and screaming the whole way!” She’s been a loyal parishioner at St. Benedict Catholic Church, and was the sacristan there until COVID. Her strong faith has gotten her through many a hard time. She lost her oldest daughter, Deirdre, in 1981. Deirdre was only 24 at the time. Her youngest daughter, Bridget, recalls hearing her mom tell numerous people that, “We had Deirdre for a whole 24 years!” Now, that’s faith! Then she lost her husband, John, in 1985. John was only 59 at the time. Jannan is a mother of seven, grandmother to 18, and great grandmother to 22. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? To go and attend high school in Dubuque, with the nuns. I met my best friend, Donna, there. The nuns were my saving grace. What did you want to be when you grew up? I didn’t even think about those things. I was just trying to get through life. We lived through the Great Depression. My dad was in the Navy and WW2. My mother was not the best role model growing up. I took care of my younger brother, Robert, most of the time. I only weighed 2+ lbs. at birth, and they could fit me in a shoebox! And I was full term. What do/did you do? After graduation, I worked at the Farm Bureau Office, then the Winneshiek County courthouse in the auditor’s office, then I got married to John, and became a stay-at-homemom on the farm. We raised seven children together. We did not have any running water with the first five children. John would come home in the evening after work, and before he took his shoes off he would holler in the door “J, do you need me to dump the pot?” We started Malanaphy Riding Stables in the late 60s, as a way for our kids to make some money. I remember Rick Fromm and his buddies from Luther coming out to ride horses often. Rick became a good family friend to us. Still to this day.
Top: Jannan at the top of Pulpit rock, on a walk with one of her granddaughters, Tiffany, earlier this summer. Above: Jannan, center, with most of her kids, grand & great grandchildren, 2019.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? Water, Milky Way candy bars, and company Try to describe yourself in one sentence. Very Independent! (I’ve been a widow since I was 54.)
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If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Plain vanilla yogurt. Name one thing you could not live without. Good health... and word puzzles. I would think I am an expert at word puzzles by now! Tell us about your wedding day. Tom and Delores Lynch were best man and maid-of-honor. We got married first and they were married the very next day. We were each other’s maid-of-honor and best man. We took one car to Iowa City, and stayed overnight in a hotel. I remember walking down the aisle when I was married at St. Bens. Can still picture it!
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