Polly Ann Jelinek, age 87, of Austin, passed away on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Sacred Heart Care Center.
Polly was born January 12, 1933 in Austin to Ted and Irene (Crandall) Madison. She attended Whittier Elementary School and graduated from Austin High School in 1951. Polly went on to attend Southern Minnesota Normal College to complete her teachers training in 1952. She received a BS from Winona State in 1961 and later earned a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Polly also completed a continuing education program dedicated to the teaching of reading from the University of Norte Dame.
Her teaching career began in a one room schoolhouse in Dexter, Minnesota where she taught 20 students in grades 1-8. Polly went on to teach at Whittier, Shaw, Woodson, and Southgate Elementary Schools in Austin. She retired from Austin Public Schools -Southgate in 1993. After retirement she continued to tutor individuals as well as students in alternative education programs in Austin.
Among Polly’s many talents, she was a gifted artist who loved to draw and paint. She also an avid historian and story teller. Her wealth of knowledge for our local history and desire to share it was both incredible and seemingly endless. She was a longtime volunteer and member of the Mower County Historical Society, a member of the Degree of Honor Protective Association and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Polly was a lifelong volunteer starting in 5th Grade when she became one of Austin’s first “girl” crossing guards. She was the coordinator for Cherishing Our Children, a volunteer reader in our local schools, and a member of the Minnesota Reading Association. Polly helped organize local Reading on the Mall events and was involved in countless other local, state, and national education and reading clubs and organizations.
Polly was united in marriage to Gene Jelinek on May 1, 1965 in Austin. Together they had one daughter, Anne. She loved her family and enjoyed family gatherings.
She is preceded in death by her parents, and her brother, David Madison.
Polly is survived by her husband of 55 years, Gene; daughter, Anne Jelinek; grandchildren, Aaliyah Thurmond and Martrel Thurmond; great grandson, Ozios Bale, all of Austin; loving nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life for Polly will be held 7 pm on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at Mayer Funeral Home with Rev. Donna Dempewolf officiating. A visitation will be held from 4-7 pm prior to the service.
Condolences may be left online at www.mayerfh.com