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The flat truth on an oft-overlooked Soldiers Field marker

Who is the Lady at Soldiers Field?

2005.Gravestone.M.Jean.Kolb.CalvaryCem.Rochester.jpg
A 2005 photo of the gravestone at Calvary Cemetery where Garry and Jeannie Kolb are buried. (Contributed photo)

Rochesterfest is happening this week, so a LOT of people are walking in and around Soldiers Field in Downtown Rochester. That's awesome, it'll be fun ... and maybe I'll finally get my answer to, "Who Is the Lady At Soldiers Field?" -- James Rabe

This question was posted recently on Y105FM's web site ( online readers can click the link to see the post ), and I had a pretty simple time finding the answer.

Simple, that is, because a FOAM (that's Friend of Answer Man), Kelly Boldan, who edits the West Central Tribune in Willmar, saw the question and sent me the answer. Kelly might be familiar to some longtime readers because he was with the Post Bulletin and AgriNews in the 1980s and '90s.

For those who don't have online access, the question centers around a marker stone at Soldiers Memorial Field, near the Veterans Memorial, inscribed "In Loving Memory of M. Jean Kolb." There's a companion marker not far away that reads "Husband."

Boldan, who likes a genealogy research challenge, found some answers. M. Jean Kolb was born Mary Jean Hunsfeld, Sept. 3, 1939, in Olmsted County. She grew up in Elmira Township with her parents, Vincent and Glady, and an older sister Joan. She graduated from Chosen Valley High School in Chatfield in 1957.

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It was just three days past her 19th birthday, in September 1958, that she married the love of her life, Garry Kolb. By 1959, they showed up in a Rochester city directory. Other than two years in Massachusetts, the couple lived the rest of their lives right here in Rochester. They had eight children, at least 17 grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Garry was a Marine for four years (or aren't you forevermore a Marine?), a career IBMer, and -- according to his 2018 obituary -- an excellent smart-aleck all his life. I can relate to that. And maybe that explains why his wife's marker at the Veterans Memorial includes her details, while his is simply "husband."

Jean -- or Jeannie, as she liked to be called -- died in 2005 when she was 65 years old. She lived her life as a homemaker, worked at the Paperback Book Palace for many years, and was active in the Rochester Woodcarving Club.

Jeannie is buried at at Calvary Cemetery under a stone that includes a daughter, Lisa, who died when she was 9 years old, and Garry, who died in 2018.

I put the "smart" in "smart-aleck." Send questions for the Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com .

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