Jeanette Fintel (Kosbau)
Jeanette Esther “Jo” (Kosbau) Fintel, age 93, of Greer, SC, and formerly of Roanoke, Va. passed away on Thursday, August 30, 2018. She was born on Saturday, May 9, 1925, in Waukon, IA, as the sixth child of Charles and Alma Johnson Kosbau. Born to a family full of teachers, she also earned a degree in elementary education at Luther College, magna cum laude Class of 1947. Her mother taught in a one-room school house until she was 72. Like most families of that era Jo was shaped and influenced by the Great Depression, the second World War, the church, and wasting nothing.
Her teaching career began in Keister, MN and moved to Waverly, IA, where at age 28, she and Norman Dale Fintel were introduced through a blind date. They were married in 1953, six months after they met, and she continued to teach her favorite age, fourth grade. The children started soon thereafter and practically didn’t stop. Mary Jo (still born) ’55, Peggy ’56, William Allen ’57, and Barbara Jo ’58. After Norm earned his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1960, a door of opportunity opened for him to work for the American Lutheran Church headquarters, and they moved to Golden Valley, a quiet, idyllic suburb of Minneapolis, MN.
In 1966, when the children were 10, 9 and 8, Jo and Norm made a bold move to leave “paradise” for the INNER city of Minneapolis where they taught their children the importance of marriage, and family, and the church, and community, and how we are to treat our fellow man/woman/child. They summered on Sand Lake in Northern Minnesota. While Norm traveled extensively, Jo shouldered the parenting, building a home life, and returned to teach learning disabled students to help support the family while Norm pursued his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. Their move to Minneapolis brought the first daughter-in-law Connie to the family when she and Bill married.
Jo was a few credits shy of her master’s degree when they moved to the Roanoke Valley in 1975, where she and Norm began a team approach as President and First Lady of Roanoke College. Jo graciously opened the doors of the president’s home to thousands, and enriched the lives of students, alumni, faculty and staff with her enduring friendship. This move brought untold blessings, and not the least the second in-law, Mr. Doug Horn. Peggy and Douglas, both Roanoke College ’78 alumni, were wed that same year. And a final brother-in-law, Greg Collins discovered the youngest daughter, Barbara, and the family unit was set.
Until, the grandchildren started to arrive. Julie, Leslie and Robert Horn were born to Peg and Doug. Andrew, Stephen, Michael and David came to Bill and Connie. While Nora and Jeanette are the daughters of Barb and Greg. The family grew again with grandchildren marriages and another generation of great-grandchildren. They include Julie (Horn) and Chris Stokes and Emma and Luke; Dr.’s Andrew and Amy Fintel/Vizcarra and Silas, Viviana and Lila; Dr. Leslie (Horn) and Brad Clark and William; Stephen Fintel and Jessica (Selph) and William Fintel, born just a week before Jo went to glory; Jeanette (Collins) and Gabriel McDaniel with a great grandchild on the way; and two weddings planned for 2019; granddaughter Nora (Collins) who will marry Dan King in April; and grandson Robert Horn who will marry Hannah Bridges in June. Jo and Norm were able to love and teach and inspire all nine grandchildren, and now continue to inspire 7 great-grandchildren and one on the way.
Jo and Norm both were teachers. And inspirers. And visionaries. And faithful. She had a low tolerance of snobbery, but at the same time was able to move elegantly amongst any setting of people. She was Norm’s “secret weapon” as he led Roanoke College in the 1970s and 80s. Perhaps her finest trait was that of friendship with nearly everyone whose life intersected with her own. Their number is legion, and a listing of all her special friends would be both impossible and insulting to those many who always assumed that THEY were her most special friend.
Jo was endowed with compassion for the less fortunate and was a fierce advocate for the “underdog.” She was known for her quick wit, sense of humor, and always dressing to the nines. Her credits include those already listed, but not to mention an honorary Doctor of Education from St. Thomas University, First Lady of Roanoke College, positions held at The Achievement Center, Good Samaritan Hospice, Roanoke Valley Arts Council, the Red Cross Blood Bank, the church alter guild of College Lutheran Church in Salem Virginia and the Fortnightly Club of Roanoke College.
In their retirement years there were stints as interim president/first lady in Illinois, California, Texas, and North Carolina. They journeyed three times to Tanzania to assist the endeavors of Bishop of the Lutheran Northern Diocese, where they witnessed the depth of the spirit of African Lutherans. There were five wonderful years in Upstate South Carolina, and finally an amazing curtain call at Brandon Oaks back in Roanoke. Even in their 90’s, they found new friends, connected to old friends, and inspired many to live extravagantly, faithfully and lovingly.
She is preceded in death by her husband Norman Dale Fintel, and all five of her siblings, but thankfully not by any of her children, her children’s’ spouses, her children’s children, nor her children’s children’s children.
A Celebration of Life is planned for October 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in Roanoke College's Atrium Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Fintel Scholarship Fund, at Roanoke College, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA, 24153. An online guest book is available for family and friends by visiting www.johnmoakey.com.