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Welcome to the memorial page for

Phyllis "Jinx" Gieseke

December 27, 1926 ~ September 19, 2017 (age 90)

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A celebration of life for Phyllis J. Gieseke, age 90 will be held at noon on Friday, October 6 in her residence at Almost Home Adult Foster Care, 539 S. Morrison Street in Coos Bay, OR; Pastor Jon Strasman of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is officiating and a luncheon will be served.  Private cremation rites were held at Ocean View Memory Gardens in Coos Bay.  An urnside service will be held in Woodstock, IL on Monday, October 23 at 4pm in McHenry County Memorial Park Cemetery, with a family gathering following.  There will also be a celebration of life with family members in Eau Claire, WI on October 25th.

Jinx, as she was known by most, was born December 27, 1926 in Melrose, WI to Stephan and Myrtle (Shilling) Heffernan. She passed away peacefully September 19, 2017 at Almost Home Adult Foster Care in Coos Bay, OR.

A farm outside of Melrose, WI is where Jinx was born and raised with her 8 siblings.  As a natural born athlete, she was an avid roller skater, skilled baton twirler, graceful dancer, and a talented self-taught gymnast.  Jinx and her brother Don performed together- they could be found practicing flips in the barn’s hay mow and became competition champions in their community.  Jinx and her sister Jinny later moved to Crystal Lake, IL and became employed at the Oakes Factory.  It was there in 1945, while on a break from her job, that a handsome Marine, home from the war asked her out to a dance. That dance would continue for a lifetime! On Oct. 12, 1946 she married the love of her life, Russel William Gieseke at Cary Illinois Lutheran Church.  Together they raised a son and two daughters.

These 2 developed an unshakeable bond - they focused on family, church and community and spent time with their amazing circle of friends and family.  Jinx and Russ could often be found on the dance floor waltzing, square-dancing or playing cards.  In their retirement years, this pair enjoyed snow-birding between Eau Claire, WI and Vero Beach, FL.  In 2007, they made their home out west in North Bend, OR to be closer to their daughter and her husband.  After 65 years of marriage, Russ passed away in 2012.

Enthusiasm and a joy for life and its people, accurately describes Jinx - she knew no strangers.  Her passions were obvious: family, church and helping others.  She lived her faith – her smile and intimate connection to God were contagious and live on in the hearts of all who knew her.

Jinx is survived by her son, Dale Russel Gieseke, daughter, C. Raye Gieseke and son-in-law, Chester Carter; sister, Gloria “Nell” Hulett and brother, Dallas Heffernan; grandchildren: Karolin Ruth Gieseke Lyons and husband, Kieran; Chad Stephan Gieseke and wife, Jennifer; Emily Joy Carter Hay and husband, Russel; great-grandchildren: Alex, Isaiah, Jacob, Ethan and Amelia, and a host of nieces, nephews, grand and great-grand  nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Russel William Gieseke; daughter, Terry Lyn Gieseke-Mathews; sisters: Belva “Billy” Dutcher, Dorothy “Dot” Schroeder, Lilah “Midge” Olson, Virginia “Jinny” Ball, and brothers: Donald “Don” Heffernan and Delroe Heffernan.

Memorial contributions may be made to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1290 Thompson Road, Coos Bay, OR  97420.

Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131.

Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at

 Service Information

Celebration of Life
October 6, 2017

12:00 PM
Almost Home Adult Foster Care
539 S. Morrison Street
Coos Bay, OR 97420

October 23, 2017

4:00 PM
McHenry County Memorial Park
11301 Lake Avenue
Woodstock, Illinois 60098

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