Jean W. Lange was born in Sac City on July 7, 1920, to Hugo F. and Alvina (Precht) Lange. Except for the war years, Jean lived in Sac City his entire life. Until 1972 he, his father and brother, Elmer, operated the Sac City Creamery Company known as Lange’s Dairy. Shortly after that Jean bought two banks in Iowa, Union State Bank in Winterset, and Citizens Bank in Sac City. Jean married Jeanne Van Kirk Pigeon from Des Moines in 1942 in Fresno, California, and they were married for 52 years.
Jean graduated from Sac City High School in 1938, and went to Iowa State College where he played basketball for one year and football for four. At the time of his death he was the oldest living letterman in any sport from Iowa State, something of which he was quite proud. In 2017, Iowa State University honored him at the Big XII football game with Texas Tech as a distinguished letterman of ISU. Until the day he died, he was a loyal and true fan devoted to the Iowa State Cyclones.
In 1942, Jean graduated from Iowa State and promptly went into the United States Army. He liked to say that he was inducted on a day in May 1942, graduated the next week, and the next week he was on a train to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the war he was in the Artillery serving as a trainer at various places in the US, was in the Philippines after it was liberated, and was part of the Occupation Forces in Japan. He was actually in Japan about 10 days before MacArthur signed the Surrender documents in Tokyo Bay. Jean always said Harry Truman was his favorite President as he had received orders to be part of the first wave for the invasion of Japan.
After World War II Jean and Jeanne returned to Sac City the only place in which Jean ever wanted to live. He raised his family, worked in the creamery, helped manage family farms, and became active in Sac City affairs. He worked in both Sac City and Winterset well into his nineties. Retirement never seemed to be an option.
Jean spent his last years with Sylvia Waterman. They traveled extensively and were always together.
Jean died peacefully in his sleep at Park View Rehabilitation Center in Sac City on August 3, 2020. Jean always had a positive attitude about everything. He could be in the middle of a tornado and he would tell the person next to him his famous lifetime saying “It isn’t so bad!!”. That attitude had a lot to do with his longevity. He always said he wanted to be 100 years old and he made it. Jean is survived by his three sons, Gene of Alexandria, Virginia, Tom of Sac City, and John of Linn Creek, Missouri. He leaves behind 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by both parents, his two sisters, LaVera and Marion, and his brother Elmer.