Jean Onerheim Little

August 22, 1951 - October 25, 2011
Jean Onerheim Little

Jean Onerheim Little, 60, died Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at her home.

She was born on August 22, 1951 in Ottumwa, IA, the daughter of the late Bernard and Margaret Onerheim.
Jean was a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA. After graduating she began her career in publishing in Chicago, IL and transferred to Boston, MA after five years. She relocated to Wilmington in 1987 and was employed with Wilmington Printing Co. for five years.

Surviving are two sons, Bert and Curtis Little of the home; two sisters, Lora Hoy of Hampton, IA and Kari Burns of Decorah, IA; two brothers, Paul Onerheim of Everett, WA and Neil Onerheim of Andover, MA; four nieces and two nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2011 at Wilmington Funeral & Cremation Chapel.

The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401 or to one’s favorite charity.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Sign Guest Book” tab above.

Wilmington Funeral and Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099


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  • October 28, 2011
    Kathy Tierney Taylor says:
    I have know Jeanie for 51 years. She was the older sister of my dear friend Lora, and my family lived, for many years, across the street from the Onerheims in Iowa. Jeanie was the 'cool older sister' that we younger kids admired. In my eyes, she got to do everything first - Evans Middle School, Ottumwa High School, away to college, off to Chicago and beyond. I remember her visits back home, including a thrilling ride to Evans Middle School on a winter's morning. Jeanie drove us in the family VW Bug, and it was SO cold the window defroster could not keep the windshield clear. So, Jeanie drove us all the way with her head OUT the window while we younger kids laughed hysterically. I will remember her smile and contagious laugh. She was extremely witty and insightful. My husband and I visited her once in Chicago and still remember the fun and excitement of seeing the city through her eyes. Jeanie was headstrong, brave, and big hearted. I know her generosity touched lots of people. We send our sincerest condolences to all her family. She will be missed by so many. A light has gone out in our world, but I know Jeanie's spirit continues on.

  • November 17, 2011
    Courtney Kay says:
    Jeanie-O, my warrior princess, it has been 3 weeks, 1 day, and 5 1/2 hours since I received the worst phone call of my life. There are no words that I can find to even begin to describe what you mean to me. Not a day has gone by where I do not think of you. I actually forgot today and tried to call you. I wanted to remind you that I find out the sex of the baby tomorrow. I know you would have been so happy. And if this is a boy, I know you would have reminded me that you have two boys and you would have told me how amazing it was. I try to remember the good times like when I told you I was pregnant with Ryker all the way to you coming to see me here in Mooresville. But its still hard. Very hard. I promise to keep up with Bert and Curt. I love you and one day, my Angel, I will see you again.

  • October 29, 2011
    Dan & Lou (Simonson) Lincoln says:
    Along with Jeanie's Aunt Alice, we offer our HEART-felt condolences to Paul, Neil, Kari and Lora, our Onerheim Cousins, and to all of your families, especially to the loves of Jeanie's life, her boys,  Bert and Curtis.   Our prayer for you all is that Jesus - Who also sheds tears over your loss - will bring you the peace and comfort that only He can give, along with the confidence that He's true to His Word.  Jeanie is Home, safe and whole  in the arms of her Friend Jesus!

  • October 29, 2011
    Kari Burns says:
    Jeanie, indeed, brought spunk, humor, and stories to re-tell to those who knew her throughout her too-short life. Joyce & Kathy, knowing her their entire lives, really nailed her daffy fun-loving spirit that couldn't be emulated, only admired. She treated cancer like she did that thief Joyce described, and ran after it fearlessly to get back what belonged to her. Jeanie was devoted to her precious sons, Bert and Curtis. She adored them, and even with all her creativity and elan, would find herself at a loss for the words she needed to express the depth of her love for them. As we mourn, we pray for them most of all. Nobody is ever ready to lose a mother like Jean. Jeanie was loved completely by her siblings. Knowing that she is whole again will turn our grief to rejoicing. Eventually. Say hi to Mom and Daddy. I love you, too.

  • October 29, 2011
    Joyce Davis Horn says:
    To some of the dearest lifelong friends....Dear Paul, Neal, Kari and Lora,...Jeanie......I have not seen her in years, but have NEVER forgotten her or your family. We lived down the alley from the Onerheim family growing up in Ottumwa, IA. Because Jean was a bit older, I have never not known her. I too, remember the VW bug, the Airstream camping trailer, the games we played at night with all of the neighborhood kids....and how she accompanied for me in band competitions. Most memorable times; my senior year of college I did an internship in Chicago...she and I would go out for a drink.....and many hours later....and many drinks later....we would be at some obscure little place eating something to soak up our drinks and LAUGH and LAUGH.....Then there was the night we were walking down the street and a young man ran up behind us and stole her purse....she took off on a dead run, caught him and got her purse back.....Oh yeah, she had spunk! I was scared to death. To her sons, I have not met you but I know, she loved you with all her heart and soul. She was a very special lady from a very special family. I am so sorry for your loss. Always remember the good times and treasure the special memories.....With love and friendship to all, Joyce Davis Horn