Jennie Elizabeth Foote-Thoms, born December 7, 1934, to Lauren and Bernice (Foote) Thoms, died in Golden Valley, Minnesota, on December 12, 2020, of COVID. Jennie had suffered from dementia in her last years, prior to contracting COVID. Jennie was the fifth of Lauren and Bernice’s 12 children and grew up in a large family that loved music and dancing, where she developed a strong work ethic and a life-long love of holding babies. She also enjoyed playing cards with her dad and siblings. She was a voracious reader and passed her love of music and reading on to her children and grandchildren. Jennie married Gary Holmvig in June of 1952, shortly after graduating from Crosby-Ironton High School. They moved their family from Eveleth, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, in 1960, where Jennie served on her children’s school’s PTA and worked at Boeing. Jennie and Gary divorced in 1968, and Jennie moved with her children to her hometown, to be with family. She worked at Scorpion Incorporated and was proud to be the first woman to hold a salaried position in that company. She married Edwin Hamilton in June of 1969. They moved to the Seattle area in November 1981, where Jennie was employed by Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) and developed the Accounts Payable Department. She and Edwin were divorced in 1995. Following their divorce, Jennie proudly took her own maiden name and her mother’s maiden name and hyphenated them as her own last name. Jennie enjoyed worship and fellowship at First Baptist Church, in Kent, Washington, and was a member there until she retired and moved to Deerwood, Minnesota, to spend time with family.
Jennie loved her Boston Terriers, baseball, flowers, and antiques. During her time as a single mother, Jennie always made sure her children had money for Scholastic Book orders. She was an ardent supporter of civil rights for persons of color, women’s rights, and the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons to be legally married and ordained in the Church. She demonstrated at the Minnesota State Capitol in 2003, carrying a sign that read, “Christian Grandma FOR Same-Sex Marriage”. She volunteered at PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians, and Gays) and had strong political opinions involving fairness and equity and was one of President Barack Obama’s biggest fans. Jennie was a much beloved grandmother and was proud of her grandchildren’s accomplishments and a great support to all 17 grandchildren.
Jennie was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters and five brothers, and her beloved sons-in-law, George (Buster) Jensen Jr and Greg Wassen. She is survived by her sisters, Dorthy LaVictoire, of Seattle, Washington, Bonnie Misner of Washington, Suzanne Tscheu of Binford, North Dakota, and Clarice James of Seattle, Washington, her children, Greg Holmvig (Maria) of Middle River, Pamela Jensen-Hoy (Mike Hoy) of Pillager, Janelle Holmvig (Gust Johnson) of Minneapolis, Melissa Holmvig-Wassen (Greg Wassen) of Enumclaw, Washington, Jake Hamilton of Seattle, and former daughter-in-law, Sara Girard, of Seattle, her grandchildren who dearly loved her, 9 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. A private internment was held. Due to COVID, a memorial service will be held when it is safe for her family and friends to gather. Memorials are preferred to Women’s Center of Mid Minnesota, 1414 Maple St, Brainerd, MN 56401.
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