Jean Mardella Van Meter, 93


Jean Mardella (Nieman) Van Meter, 93, of Gainesville, died June 1, 2024, at Gainesville Healthcare Center. The family will conduct a memorial service at a later date.

She was born April 30, 1931, in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, to Herman and Helga (Johnson) Nieman.

Jean grew up in Wisconsin and in March of 1954, she married Ralph Pickett. The couple raised three children: Peggy, Kenny and Ed. 

Jean waitressed for 29 more years at a prominent motel and restaurant in Rice Lake. One of her many highlights was serving John F. Kennedy and his family a couple of times during campaign visits. Jean was a very meticulous waitress and took great pride in serving people. 

On Nov. 18, 1971, Jean was married to Donald Van Meter. To this union one son was born, Guy Van Meter. The couple moved their family to the Ozarks and settled near Gainesville. Jean worked with her husband at their store in the mid 1980s, and before retiring she worked as a manager at a laundry mat in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She loved cooking for large crowds and family members. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends, bowling, playing cards and traveling. She also loved watching Wheel of Fortune, gardening and canning vegetables. She was very active, honest and a woman of her word. Jean was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church. She was confirmed, saved and baptized as a young woman.

She is survived by her children: Peggy Waltrip (Terry Hutchinson) of Mountain Home, Arkansas, Kenneth Pickett (Nancy Steele) of Gainesville, and Guy Van Meter (Savannah Ingram) of Gainesville; grandchildren: Paul Norwick and wife Sandy, Kristi Norwick, Nicole Boughton and husband Patrick, Adam Pickett and wife Kyra, Amanda Pickett, Alex Van Meter, Sarah Van Meter, Avianna Novak and Kalianna Novak; great-grandchildren: Asa and Ryder Norwick, Amira, Luke and Skylar Pickett and Kendra Pickett; and one brother, Marshall Nieman of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Herman and Helga Nieman; her husband Donald Van Meter in 2020; sisters: Ruby DeFay, Arlene Flowers and Pearl Nieman; brothers: LaVerne Nieman and infant brother Harlan Nieman; one grandchild SSG Tyler E. Picket (killed in action in 2008); and one son Ralph Edward Pickett.  

Cremation services and arrangements are under the direction of Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Gainesville.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423