Kathryn Ann Jantzen Capell


ARIMO — Kathryn Ann Jantzen Capell, 93, passed away Monday, July 30, at the Oneida County Long Term Care Center, where she had been a resident since February. She suffered from congestive heart failure and other complications.
Kathryn was born June 19, 1908, in Pas Robles, California, the oldest daughter of John and Marie Johanna Claaussen Jantzen. Both her parents were born in West Prussia, but immigrated to the United States.
Kathryn was raised with her eight brothers and sisters at the family farm in Aberdeen, Idaho. The family were members of the Mennonite Congregation, which was populated with others of German descent. Her childhood was a happy and secure one filled with much activity and family closeness. She graduated from Aberdeen High School where she distinguished herself as a scholar and champion speller.
In order to prepare for her lifelong calling as a teacher, she graduated from Albion State Normal School for Teachers. Kathryn also graduated from the Washington State College of Business Technology in Spokane, Washington. Kathryn’s first teaching position was at Cedar Creek, where she lived on site in a cabin on the school grounds during the week, and traveled home on the weekends. The one-room school had ten students, including her younger brother, Albert, and her sister, Dora. She later taught at American Falls, Mackay and Hawkins Basin.
Her speciality was junior high subjects in language, science and the arts. In 1933, she signed a contract to teach at a two-room school in Hawkins Basin She packed her trunk and took the Greyhound bus to Arimo. There she was met by the local mail carrier in his new Oldsmobile. His instructions were to take the new schoolmarm to her  new assignment. That was a fateful meeting, for she later fell in love with James Edward Capell, and they eloped to Pocatello on October 12, 1934, where they were married by a Methodist minister. Decades later when that church building was torn down and replaced by a Union 76 station, Kathryn refused to purchase gasoline there.
She was asked to play piano for the Primary children in the LDS Mar Center Ward. There were few people who could play piano in the rural area so she helped in the spirit of service, which typified so much of her life’s activities. This fellowshipping resulted in her conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. Kathryn and James were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1935.
Kathryn and James Capell started their 53-year marriage on a small farm in Hawkins Basin, Idaho, during the Great Depression. They lived in a two-room log cabin, with both a dirt roof and dirt floor. Their livestock holdings consisted of a few cows and seven skinny horses. The new Oldsmobile had constant mechanical problems.
Through decades of hard work and careful planning, the couple developed a prosperous, model agricultural operation with cattle, extensive property holdings and a modern home.
The couple moved to Arimo, Idaho, in 1944 to facilitate their children’s attendance at school, as well as expanding their farm operation. Their partnership lasted until James’ death at age 79 on December 10, 1989.
Kathryn possessed a superior intellect. She was a teacher of truth and many have rejoiced at her ability to impart the same to them in her community and in her church.
Kathryn was active in community affairs, serving as precinct chairman for her political party for 22 years. She also headed many charitable drives in Marsh Valley for the National Cancer Society, The March of Dimes and Primary Children’s Hospital.
When the citizens of Marsh Valley struggled to consolidate their several small school districts into one, feelings were high, rivalries sharp and often bitter among the people in the valley who did not want to surrender the autonomy of their town’s schools. Kathryn lent her leadership as an educator and parent to facilitate the creation of the new School District 21 and the building of Marsh Valley High School.
She loved music both by playing the piano and singing, and it was important to her to introduce her children and her grandchildren to the art. One of Kathryn’s cherished memories was singing in a chorus in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle at General Conference. Her last visit with five of her great-grandchildren in the nursing home was highlighted by them all singing together.
Her lifelong service in the church included a 20-year stint on the Stake Primary Board, where many other church members learned to improve their teaching skills by attending her classes. She worked on several stake Sunday School boards as well as completing many ward teaching assignments. Her knowledge of the scriptures in the Bible and Book of Mormon served her well as a Gospel Doctrine teacher. She was a visiting teacher for over fifty years. She was chosen to demonstrate teaching methods at a General Primary Conference in Salt Lake City. Two children, Harvey and Maxilyn, also spent part of their professional careers as award-winning teachers.
Kathryn enjoyed raising gardens, chickens, and could drive a team of horses. She loved dogs, with a special affinity for German shepherds.
She was an excellent cook and loved whipping up memorable meals for her extended family. She took great pride in her German heritage and remained proficient in reading and speaking German all her life. She especially enjoyed baking German treats at Christmas time, and the Capell family celebrated the holidays with many German traditions.
She was renowned for her dry sense of humor and her curious mind. Kathryn remained an avid reader all her life and was a person of strong convictions and showed little fear in advocating an ethical and moral approach to life.
She was a fighter and that was most typified in her later years with a battle against non-Hodgkins lymphoma, where she triumphed again twice. She was cared for in her last years by her daughter, Maxilyn, until strokes made it impossible to stay in her own home.
Kathryn is survived by her four children, Ronald (Linda) of Arimo, Harvey (Bonnie) of Meridian, Maxilyn Marie of Arimo, and Daniel (Sandy) of Provo, Utah.
Her progeny includes 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. All of her sons and grandsons have served missions for the LDS Church.
She is survived by a brother, Albert Jantzen, and a sister,. Dora Espositio, both of Portland, Oregon.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Erma; her brothers, Cornelius., Herman, Walter, John and William, and her husband, James.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, August 6, at Arimo Stake Center at 12 noon. Friends may call at the Marsh Valley Funeral Home in Arimo Sunday, August 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Monday one hour prior to the service at the Stake Center. Burial will be in the Arimo Cemetery.

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