Jean Marie Knowlton, 90, passed away at Grace Lutheran Communities-River Pines in Altoona on Monday, November 29, 2021, after suffering a stroke earlier in the year. Jean was born on March 22, 1931, in Bloomer, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Mildred (Pritchard) and Alois Schwegman. Jean graduated from Bloomer High School in 1949. Jean fulfilled her dream of becoming a registered nurse by enrolling in St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Wausau and graduating in 1952. The majority of her nursing career was spent at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, retiring in 1993. She loved being a nurse and helping others. When she was 21 years old, she had open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic when it was still experimental. She married the love of her life, Clarence (Bruce) Knowlton on September 22, 1956, in Bloomer. After their marriage, Bruce built a home on the Chippewa River in Lake Hallie. They lived in the house their entire marriage, and Jean remained there until she had her stroke and could no longer live independently. Jean was a member of St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in Eau Claire for over 65 years and was actively involved in various groups and committees. Jean loved to take vacations and traveled to England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Alaska, and throughout the continental United States. She was a talented seamstress and enjoyed making quilts for her children and grandchildren. She loved a good game of Scrabble and was a fierce competitor. Jean and Bruce enjoyed camping and gardening in their free time.

Jean is lovingly survived by her children Connie Schauer, Marshfield; Daniel Knowlton; Carol (Joe) Hebert; and Pamela Bunge (Tony Swerman) all of Eau Claire. She is survived by grandchildren Tiffany (David) Dodds, Matthew (Emily) Kelley, Marc (Tiffani) Kelley, Kerly (Boone) Woolsey, Ryan Schauer, Calvin Bunge, Emma Bunge, Paige Hebert, and Nicole Hebert and ten great grandchildren. She is further survived by her sisters-in-law Colleen Schwegman and June Knowlton.

Jean is predeceased by her husband, Bruce, in 2019; her parents and stepfather, Jim Fehr; grandson Chris Schauer; brother Gerald Schwegman; and three infant brothers who died shortly after their births.

Visitation is on Friday, December 3, from 5 to 7 PM at Smith Funeral Chapel in Eau Claire. Services will be on Saturday, December 4, at 2 PM with visitation from 1 to 2 PM at Smith Funeral Chapel. Burial will be at Prairie View Cemetery in Lake Hallie.


  1. Dear Carol and family,
    It’s so difficult so lose your adorable little mom. She as a women ahead of her time, being a nurse for all those years. You were lucky to have her all these years. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your whole family. Love you , aunt T.

  2. Cheered me up to see her picture on facebook. Looking at my mom’s pick circa 1952 while I type. Thinking of you all. May her service be the celebration of her life it is supposed to be.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Jean was a wonderful nurse. I had the honor and privilege of working many night shifts with her. She is remembered fondly. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. So sorry for the loss of your mother,grandmother, great grandmother. Jean had a full, wonderful life,
    And hope you take comfort in your memories. She will be missed in the neighborhood.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. I worked with Jean for years at SHH. I have the St. Olaf cookbook she gave me thanking me for zucchini etc. I think of her every Christmas when I make the CATHEDRAL WINDOWS dessert she once brought to work. I loved it. 🙂

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