Jane Austin was born on July 25, 1952, in Cherokee, Iowa to James and Evelyn (Hintz) Austin. She was the fourth of six children and grew up on the family’s century farm in the Little Sioux River Valley at the bottom of Austin Hill between Sutherland and Peterson. As a child, one of her fondest memories was receiving the clothes her grandmother, Lily, made for her and her siblings by hand.
Jane moved to Chicago as a teenager to live with her older sister, Karen. It was there that she met her husband Robert Preusser. They had two children— Robert, who died shortly after his birth, followed by Kimberly, who caused her much consternation to balance the joy. Eschewing the societal norms of the 1970’s, she defiantly raised Kimberly alone while also working full-time in the traditionally male-dominated world of banking. Despite her busy schedule, she facilitated Kimberly’s Girl Scout cookie sale career, helping her sell and deliver more than four hundred boxes one year alone, and she taught various badges with the troop, including “Ms. Fix It,” because of course she did. After marrying Peter Degman, she welcomed her third child, Alex, and devoted herself full-time to his upbringing. Jane was heavily involved in the Malta school district when Alex was very young, helping run the Malta Mustang periodical, running classroom events as a chaperone, and serving as a den leader for Malta Cub Scout Pack 123. She also returned to school and earned a degree in creative writing.
In 2008, after giving up on romance, she found some anyway on eBay. While contributing to a help board, she struck up a professional IM chat with another helper, who also was happily single, unavailable, and geographically undesirable. Their chats evolved into to a friendship, sparks flew, and numbers were exchanged. One 13 1/2 hour phone call later, and the two lost souls had arranged to meet in the real world. Apparently, the meeting went well, as they were inseparable for a week and a half, and one year later, Jane was married to her soulmate, Don Peterson.
Jane was preceded in death by her son, Robert Frederick Preusser, her sisters Patricia Ann Austin, Jenny Lynne Austin, Sarah Lee Austin, Karen Kay King Vernon, her brother, Kenneth Keith King, and her parents, James and Evelyn.
Jane is survived by her husband Don Peterson, son Alex Degman, daughter Kimberly Fasking, son-in-law Greg Fasking, grandchildren Emma, Ethan, Everett, Evelyn, Elias, and Eliot, great-grandson Spencer, favorite nieces Gloria, Elizabeth, and Ashley, nephews Richard and Joshua, great-nieces Karyn and Kayla, great-nephew Charlie, many cousins, other extended family, and many cherished friends.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Church of Christ in Sutherland or the Emmet County Animal Shelter.