Jean Stahlin Lacher, 79, fought a short but courageous battle against pancreatic cancer and died at home, surrounded by her family, on July 18, 2020.
Jean was born on April 10, 1941, the daughter of Irene (Lacey) and John Stahlin. She grew up in Scarsdale, New York, and as a teenager, her first part-time job (25 cents an hour) was shelving books at the local public library, indicative of her life-long love of reading.
She attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, earning her undergraduate degree in history, and she went on to earn a Master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, she met Bob Lacher at a local Episcopal church. They discovered they both lived in the same dorm, so their first “dates” were Bob driving her to church. They married in Scarsdale in 1966 and moved to Bob’s hometown in Minnesota where they both worked at St. Cloud State University – she as a university librarian and he as a math instructor.
Two years later, they moved to Greeley, Colorado, and while Bob pursued his doctorate in mathematics, Jean worked at the University of Northern Colorado library. They settled in Brookings, South Dakota, in 1970 when Bob accepted a position in the math department at South Dakota State University.
They quickly became active members at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the beginning of Jean’s five decades of service to the local, state, and national church. She served on the altar guild and vestry (including many years as church treasurer), sang in and directed the choir, participated in the women’s guild, and went on to hold appointed and elected offices on many diocesan committees, including serving three times as delegate to the national convention.
In 2019, Jean was selected as the Honored Woman of the Year by the S.D. Episcopal Church Women. Jean was also a life-long seamstress, learning how to sew her own clothing as a young girl. After stepping out of the role of librarian to raise her two daughters, she took a job with Fergen’s Menswear, doing alterations out of her home from 1981 until the store’s closing in 2019. Beginning in the spring of 2010, she made 8 overseas trips, visiting northern Africa, southeast Asia, and Europe to spend time with her younger daughter Stephanie who teaches internationally. Beginning in the summer of 2010, she was able to spend her time in Brookings with her elder daughter Jennifer’s family, who moved to Brookings from Maine.
Jean enjoyed attending her two grandchildren’s music and sporting events while keeping up with her church activities and sewing projects.
Jean is predeceased by her parents.
She is survived by her husband Robert “Bob” Lacher; her two daughters, Jennifer (Mike) Lacher-Starace of Brookings and Stephanie Lacher of Brussels, Belgium; her two grandchildren, Olivia and Jonathan Lacher-Starace; her brothers Jeremy (Judy Fleischmann) Stahlin and John (Melissa) Stahlin; her brother-in-law Richard “Dick” Lacher and sister-in-law Mary Munson; one niece, Sarah (Matt) Maiocco; two nephews, Chris (Morgan) Munson and David (Britton) Stahlin; four grandnieces (Jane and Lucy Maiocco and Belle and Netta Stahlin) and one grandnephew (Van Stahlin).
A private inurnment service will be held on Saturday, July 25, with a public memorial service to follow at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Jean’s family asks that memorial gifts be sent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 726 6th Street, Brookings, SD 57006.
Condolences may be sent to the family through www.rudesfuneralhome.com.