Janece Elorine Simerson, 84

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

Janece Elorine (“Bunny”) Simerson, 84, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Janece Elorine Simerson, 84

She was born on Aug. 19, 1935, in Winona, Minnesota, as Ethel Janice Fruetel to Sheldon and Esther Fruetel. Esther passed away and Sheldon, a traveling salesman, asked his dear friends, Harry and Amelia Eaton, to take her as their own. Ethel Janice Fruetel became Janece Elorine Eaton. She was raised with an enormous amount of love by her new parents, her older brothers, sister, their spouses and families. Bunny was smart and funny – terrible in math but great in debate and forensics. She attended Menasha High School, was the only freshman there to qualify for the state forensics/debate tournament, and loved life.

Bunny left home to attend Wartburg College and Deaconess Nursing School, then returned to work in the local hospital, where she became charge nurse on her floor. There, she met a young med school student named Tom Simerson. The two dated, married, and moved with Tom’s school and job requirements. They lived in a garage apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Bunny worked at the V.A. hospital to put Tom through med school at Marquette University. There, their daughter, Lisa, was born. Bunny loved those years. While Tom was in the U.S. Army, they moved to Maine, where their daughter, Diane, was born. When they returned to Wisconsin, they settled in Elm Grove and had their son, David.

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They were divorced thereafter, but remained close; Bunny raised the kids. She returned to work as an R.N. She also returned to faith; she always said that it was God who raised her children. She had them at church every time the doors were open, grounded them in faith, prayed constantly, sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, volunteered at prison and telephone prayer ministries, and became a youth group leader, where she served until she was 78 years old, when she moved to Austin, Minnesota.

Bunny was fiercely strong in her faith, in prayer, in her love for her family, and in her determination to raise them well. She was “Grandma Bunny” to her grandchildren, Rebekah, Samuel, Caleb, and Elisha Simerson, Grace Peterson, Lacey Peterson Ogden, and every child she met, and loved by daughter-and-son-in-law, Sarah Simerson and Scott Peterson. Her love and prayers shaped our lives, and she often said that she may not have anything in this world, but she was blessed because all her children and grandchildren serve the Lord. In Bunny’s final words, she awoke briefly and spoke this simple truth: “I’m deeply loved by God!” Rest in Glory, Bunny Simerson. You have received your reward.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at Cornerstone Church in Austin with her dear friend, Pastor David Ruud, officiating. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, at the church and will continue for one hour before the service on Monday. Clasen-Jordan Mortuary is handling the arrangements. Memorials may be sent directly to Wounded Warriors. Thank you to The Cedars and St. Marys Hospital for providing wonderful care.