School 04

Rosalee J. (Sunquist) Kinnison

December 6, 1941 ~ September 8, 2020 (age 78)


Rosalee J. (Sunquist) Kinnison, 78, of Shenandoah, peacefully entered into rest on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at Nebraska Medicine - Omaha.  A celebration of life memorial service for Rosalee will be held on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 10:30 am at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Shenandoah with Pastor Kurt Hoover officiating.  Open visitation at the funeral home will take place Wednesday, September 16, 2020 beginning at  10:00 am with the family receiving relatives and friends with visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 pm Wednesday evening.  Inurnment will take place in Evergreen Cemetery in Red Oak.  Memorials are being directed to the family.  Cards and condolences can be sent: c/o Tiffany Johnson - 3525 Park Ave, Des Moines, IA 50321.



Rosalee J. (Sunquist) Kinnison was born on December 6, 1941 to Alvin and Geneva Sunquist.  After graduating from Simpson College she started her career as a teacher, and then a principal in the Essex school district spanning more than 40 years.  She began her teaching career in 1963 as a second-grade teacher. In 1979, she became the Principal, Talented & Gifted teacher and 2nd grade teacher.  After many years of molding and guiding young minds she retired in 2003 only to then return to be a substitute teacher, as teaching was her true passion.  Mrs. K taught many lessons, not only from math (on a real chalkboard), but also reading, lots of reading – showing her students that they are important, that they are blessed, and to always do their best.

As many of you may know, my mom loved to send cards.  She would always fill them with her favorite scriptures or just a simple hi, hello, to make sure you were doing ok.  Mom always asked about others and would send a prayer patch or prayer rock when she knew somebody needed a lift.

Despite her medical hardships, mom forever had a positive spirit and love for the Lord that she shared with others.  She had a strong will to live and an unwavering faith in God.  You did not need to know her personal struggles to see this, it is clear her faith in God gave her immeasurable strength and hope.  One of her favorite verses was Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you; Do not fear.  I will help you.”  We know she will continue to smile down upon us, inspire us with the memory of her love and great faith.

Rosalee was a member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church where she matched her love of sewing with giving back to the community by sewing quilt tops.  Since 2014, she has quilted over 650 quilt tops.  That’s many miles of thread and many yards of fabric. The teacher in her would turn this into a word problem.  “If the quilt top is 80”x 60” and it has a total of 48 blocks that are 11”x11” and she had made 650 quilt tops…… how many miles of thread was used?”

Mom was instrumental in leading the Birthday Bag project for clients served by the Local Food Pantry.  Members of her church and friends banded together and have provided over 700 birthday bags that included a cake mix, frosting, candles, colored pencils, a toy and a special pillow case sewn by mom along with a note made special to each child from her.

Rosalee’s greatest love was her family…but everyone knew it was all about her grandkids and great-grandkids.  Oh what a smile the kids would bring to her. Throughout the years of her retirement, the grandkids would come stay with her during the summer.  She would take them to the library, swimming, skating, to the movies and even help them make lemonade stands.  She played many games like Don’t Break the Ice, Kerplunk and did many science experiments and crafts with the kids. Oh, the popsicle sticks and pom poms that were glued and painted.

Survivors include her two children, Thayne Kinnison of Shenandoah and Tiffany (Brad) Johnson of Des Moines;  nine grand-Children,  TJ, Malichi, Levi, Sierra, Erika, Spencer, Haylee, Kleighton and Braxton;  two great-grandchildren,  Kaiden and Hunter;    brother, Bob (Sonia) Sunquist of Red Oak; other relatives; and many friends.  She was preceded in death by her parents.

Rosie/Mrs. K/Grandma/Mom - was and always will be an anchor who grounded us.  She was the rock you could hold onto when the waters of life threatened to drown us.  Her love of education and the wisdom she imparted will remain with us as we travel life’s journey.  Her love for reading will live on in her grandchildren and the many children whose lives she touched as an educator.  Her spirit of giving will live on in the quilts and gifts she lovingly sewed to not only warm the bodies, but the hearts and souls of those who received them.  Her strong foundation of faith will live on through the reminders of the prayer patches she sewed, the prayer rocks she shared, and the words of our Lord that she reminded us of.  Matthew 26:13 could describe Rosalee’s faith and gift to this world “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

May God bless her memory and give strength to those who mourn.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rosalee J. (Sunquist) Kinnison, please visit our floral store.


Open Visitation
September 16, 2020

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

September 16, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service (Shenandoah)

Celebration of Life
September 17, 2020

10:30 AM
Emmanuel Lutheran Church (Shenandoah)

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