Jeannette (Hektner) Radig


Jeannette (Hektner) Radig, a resident at Touchmark, died in her sleep on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 97.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Trinity Lutheran Church.  A livestream of the service can be found here, https://trinitybismarck.com/funeral-livestream/  The visitation will begin one hour prior to the service.  Her cremated remains will be scattered at the family homestead farm.

Jeannette was born to Joseph and Mabel Hektner on the family farm southwest of Mooreton, ND in 1926. Jeannette was the fourth born of five siblings. Three of them; Don Hektner, Vernon Hektner, and Inez (Hektner) Eckre, preceded her in death. Her older sister, Sylvia (Hektner) Likness, died just two days after Jeannette.

She married Marcus Radig in 1950 and they had four children. They were married for almost 60 years at the time that Marcus died. They were avid travelers.

She is survived by her four children: Rita Laker-Ojok, Scott (Mickey) Radig, Tracy (Andy) Nelson, and Ross (Cathy) Radig; six grandchildren: Chakamoi (Jaz) Laker-Ojok, Phillip (Marvis) Laker-Ojok, Choti Laker-Ojok, Sarah Carter, Tanner Radig, Ryan Radig; and five great grandchildren.

A loving, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; Jeannette is known as a retired Home Economics teacher who always gave back to the community. She sewed hundreds of dresses for mission orphanages and served as a volunteer docent at the Heritage Center for 30 years.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to God’s Child Charity and Trinity Lutheran Church in Bismarck in memory of Jeannette.


Reflections Of A Well Lived Life

It is with great sadness this is written. Today our mother passed on at 97 to meet her husband Marcus in heaven.

Four words describe Mom. Extraordinary, Adventurous, Survivor, Loving.

Mom was Extraordinary. She graduated college back when most women did not go to college after growing up on a farm. She was a true “Rosie the Riveter” working in Seattle for Boeing during the War. Mom always gave back to her church and served on many boards. Mom stopped counting at 500 dresses that she had sewn for missions she supported around the world. She served as a state historian at the State Heritage Center for 29 years even after she retired from her lifelong career as a teacher.

Mom was Adventurous. She traveled to all 50 states, 38 countries and 6 continents. All before cell phones and google maps. From African safaris, walking the Great Wall of China, rafting the Grand Canyon to parasailing in Belize and seeing bull fights in Spain, she was always up for an adventure. She and Dad even went on several cruise ship trips all over the world.

She was a Survivor. Mom survived growing up on a farm in the dust bowl years, survived tuberculosis, survived colon cancer, survived a kitchen explosion with severe burns, survived a sepsis blood infection, survived pneumonia, and covid. She even tells the story of when she was working at Yellowstone National Park as a ranger when her roommate got mauled and killed by a bear and she survived untouched. We always said Mom has had nine lives! She was a strong woman to say the least.

Lastly, she was Loving. She was a loving wife to our father and a mother of four children. She was always at all our school events, our boy scout ceremonies and comforted us with our teenage heartaches. She encouraged our trekking and travels with friends whether it was a camping trip across the country or a high adventure Scouting trip, the Peace Corps or Amigos de las Americas with summers abroad. She would go to our music concerts for Jazz Club, Concert Choir and Symphony Orchestra. In short, she always supported us no matter how crazy our dreams were or where those dreams would take us in life. For all this we love you Mom. Now it’s time for you to go be with Dad which is what you have wanted for a long time. You had a well lived life.


Jeannette Radig’s Story – July 2020

It has been suggested that those of us living here at Touchmark Senior Center write our own history now that we have time in this lockdown stay here, from the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Maybe someone, a grandkid maybe, would like to know what it was like back then.

I was born July 26, 1926, to Joseph and Mabel (Huss) Hektner, farmers. They were living on the Hektner homestead land southwest of Mooreton, ND. My grandparents immigrated to North Dakota in 1889, from Norway.

I walked to country grade school for eight years. I had two brothers and two sisters.  This was all during the “dirty 30s”, the dust bowl years.

I graduated from Wahpeton High School in 1944 and Wahpeton State Science School in 1946. During the summers I worked out in Yellowstone Park and Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, WA until World War II was over. I then graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead in 1948, at the half year as I finished college in 3 ½ years. My first professional Home Economics job was in Lisbon, ND as a Home Extension Agent with 4 H Clubs etc.

I married Mark (Marcus Arthur) Radig on May 13, 1950. We moved, remodeled, and lived in an old school building on the farm north of Breckenridge, MN. I taught two years at the BIA Indian School in Wahpeton. Rita was born July 22, 1953.  Mark did all the work on the farm, and we shared profits with his parents, who lived in the bigger farm house. So, when his brother came home from the Navy and also wanted to farm, we moved to Pierre, SD. I taught at the BIA Indian School there and Mark worked building the Oahe Dam. He then started selling insurance for Aid Association for Lutherans.

In 1958 we were moved to Fargo by AAL. Scott was born there on October 19, 1958. I was asked to start a class there for special education girls in Home Economics at Woodrow Wilson School. Tracy was born there on August 26, 1961. That’s when I was nominated to be in the Mrs. North Dakota contest. We were very active in the church there too.

In 1962, Mark’s brother Jim encouraged us to move to Red Lake, MN, where he was counselor in the school. I was hired to teach Home Ec. Rita was the only non-Indian in the 4th grade there. Jim and Edith and family lived in the apartment below us. Not a very successful year as Mark couldn’t find a job and no one bought insurance there. Mark started a job with a farm implement dealer in Milnor, ND, where my sister, Sylvia, and her husband Carl Likness lived. So, brother Don Hektner moved us with his farm truck to Milnor. Ross was born there on November 18, 1963. We lived in a farmhouse just north of Milnor and had a dog named Spook with a nice garden and yard.

In 1965 Mark decided to go back to school – State School of Science in Wahpeton. He stayed with my mom as my Dad had just died. The college helped place him as a purchasing agent with the Department of Accounts and Purchases at the state capitol in Bismarck. We lived at 1322 N 16th Street in Bismarck from 1965 to 1978, then we moved to the house at 1407 N 19th Street.

It was here that someone found out I taught Special Education and I was asked to finish the year at Pioneer School, for someone leaving. In the Fall I was moved to Simle Jr. High School. It was then that I discovered I had tuberculosis and was in total isolation at St. Alexius hospital for many months. Rita and Mark took care of the family with the help of a part-time lady. Then again after 19 years at Bismarck High School I was hospitalized with colon cancer.

We were active at Trinity Lutheran Church. I was the first female president of Sons of Norway. Was on the governing board for Missouri Slope Care Center for four years. It was in 1978 that I was asked to represent ND at the State House Conferences in Washington DC and in California. I have volunteered at the State Heritage Center since 1991 – 29 years.

It was way back when the kids were young that we fell in love with traveling. First in tents, then a pop-up camper to Disney Land, New York, Washington DC, Yellowstone, and many other national parks.

We did exchange travel with Hamburg, Germany in 1979 and also stayed abroad with families in New Zealand and Australia. Then they came back and stayed with us. Also belonged to Evergreen Bed & Breakfast Club where we could stay at B&Bs for $15 a night.  We hosted about 6 – 8 guests in return each year. Mark and I attended 18 Elderhostels, now called “Road Scholars” where we would visit for a week, had classes in the forenoon and afternoons so we’d get to know that community.

We have been in all 50 states, and 38 different countries on six continents, but not Antarctica. If I didn’t think of something, Mark did. We were so fortunate! We went on seven cruises and saw many 1-day ports-of-call in different countries. We rafted the Grand Canyon in Arizona and parasailed in Belize.

After Mark retired, I taught in Stuttgart, Germany in a US Military School for one year. Each weekend and holidays Mark would arrange trips for us through the government PX, so it was fairly inexpensive. We celebrated Columbus Day in England, Thanksgiving in Paris, Christmas in Israel, and Easter in Italy. After school was out, we spent a week in Barcelona, Spain and saw a bull fight!

Rita was married to Laker. So, we made three trips to East Africa and Zimbabwe where we saw and did so many things, safaris, etc. Interesting people too.  Later we did a bank tour to Egypt which was challenging. I fell and got hurt, and Mark’s gluten free diet got all upset but Rita and Laker flew up to be with us that week and that was great.

Did the Hurtigruten Norway Cruise (mail boat) all the way from Bergen around the top and to the Russian border. Norway and Switzerland are the two most beautiful countries, China the most unusual. We cruised South America from Rio De Janeiro to Santiago, Chile around the bottom of the continent, so we’ve been in the furthest north and south towns on the whole globe.

Sadly, Mark died in 2009 so I have only flown to visit family since then. But, it’s been a Great Life!

Oh, I forgot. I still sew pillowcase sun dresses for missions. I quit counting at 500. It gives me something to do for others.




Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What a lady!!! What a worker!!! What a life!!! Our thots and prayers to you Scott and Mickey.

Mrs Radig was a wonderful woman. .She was a role model and mentor to me through my junior high and high school years as I was a friend of her daughter Rita . She helped Rita and I with sewing projects, tackling interesting fabrics and complex detailing . One memory is when she took Rita and I too the movie, Gone with the Wind and shared a box of Jordon Almonds with us . We discussed the movie afterwards . First time I went to a movie with an adult.
I remember visiting her at the hospital when she had TB. I remember the pressure cooker exploding and the burns she got. She was remarkable forging through each event, upbeat and marched forward . She enjoyed her time at the Heritage center .
More recently we shared a few emails . She still was a role model and showed much kindness and appreciation for my small efforts and little tokens n flowers . Just as she wrote me in one email , I will repeat back to her.
Jeanette. ” God loves you and so do I ”
Rest well Jennette

My heart hurts for you all. Your mother was one of the kindest teachers. She lovingly taught us the skills needed yet she was firm. We never once doubted how much she cared about us and desired for us to learn as much as possible. She was unique. She was my Home Economics teacher at Bismarck High School. Later I think she taught another class “Food and Nutrition” but she taught us how to cook!!! I have such fond memories of Mrs. Radig. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you mourn this wonderful mom, grandmother and great grandmother.

Scott & Mickey and Ross & family~
God’s blessings & peace be with you all. In friendship and prayers,
Diane “Franky” (Franklund) & Ward Enger

Rita and Tracy and the family I have yet to meet, I am incredibly sorry for the loss of your Mum and her elder sister. You are now the elders. Huge all encompassing virtual hug. She was una forza da natura – a force of nature. I would add indomitable from her description.

Jeannette was a frequent visitor to Bismarck Art & Galleries. We became friends during her visits and I enjoyed hearing her stories about her travels. I helped secure pillow cases for her as she was always sewing dresses for the missions she supported. Even after her move to Touchmark, she would attend BAGA’s Opening Receptions and bring friends with from Touchmark. A lovely lady and it was privilege knowing her. What a wonderful tribute you wrote for your mother.