“Miss Jean” Leaves A Legacy Among Nebraska’s Autism Community


“Miss Jean” Leaves A Legacy Among Nebraska’s Autism Community

March 30, 2018

A Legacy of Teaching Children

On Feb. 1, “Miss Jean” died at age 87. Many of her friends, family members, and fans chose to remember her in a very special way: by making memorial gifts to Autism Society of Nebraska.

Norma Jean Kelley Schnase was known to generations of Nebraska children as “Miss Jean” of “Miss Jean’s Storytime” on local television in Eastern Nebraska. For years in the 1950s through 1990s, she hosted a weekly morning show for kids.

Before her death, Schnase asked her children to name ASN as a designated charity for mourners upon her passing. Schnase chose to designate ASN as such because of how the organization touched the life of her great-grandson, whose family has participated in ASN walks and other events over the years.

“She was thrilled to designate Autism Society of Nebraska as a charity to which people could donate in her memory,” said her daughter, Eileen Thornburg, of Fremont.

Memorial gifts to ASN are a unique way to honor people whose lives were affected by autism in some way, whether they were on the autism spectrum themselves or served as a caregiver or healthcare provider to individuals on the spectrum. Memorial gifts can be recognized publicly or kept anonymous, and surviving family members may be notified if the donor chooses.

How to name Autism Society of Nebraska as the designated charity for yourself or your loved one

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Miss Jean and countless others who have named ASN as their designated charity, please notify Autism Society of Nebraska by contacting Kevin Mahler, Director of Development, at kevin.mahler@autismnebraska.org.

ASN will work with you to ensure that your funeral/memorial arrangements will include the essential information to make memorial gifts easy and seamless.

If you would like to name Autism Society of Nebraska in your Estate Plans (Last Will & Testament)

If you have named ASN in your estate plans (or if you have not yet named ASN in your estate plans, but would like to), please let us know by contacting Kevin Mahler, Director of Development, at kevin.mahler@autismnebraska.org.

Naming ASN as a beneficiary in your last will and testament will ensure the continuation of ASN’s important work for generations to come.

ASN is Nebraska’s first and most enduring autism-related agency and has every intention of serving Nebraskans with autism in perpetuity. The organization has been excellent stewards of gifts received through bequests historically and will continue to honor the wishes of the donors.

Autism Society of Nebraska is in the process of establishing mechanisms to publicly recognize individuals who have named ASN in their estate plans.

If you would like to make a gift online in memory of Norma Jean Kelley Schnase

You may donate <<HERE>>, using ASN’s secure PayPal giving form. Please be sure to write “Miss Jean” or “Norma Jean Kelley Schnase” in the memo/notes field.

Read the Fremont Tribune’s touching tribute to Miss Jean  <HERE>

Read Omaha World-Herald columnist Mike Kelly’s article about Miss Jean <HERE>

Photo Courtesy of the Thornburg family.

Names of Individuals Who Made Gifts in Memory of Norma Jean Kelley Schnase

The Ackerson Family
The Schadendorf Family
The Krohn Family
The Meidlinger Family
The Christensen Family
Eileen and Bob Thornburg
Cynthia and Bruce Brown
Betty Brown and Colleen Rasmussen
Linda and James Williams
Nancy and Michael Moran
Carolyn and Ronald Kranz
Dennis Pasley and Cathy Stone-Pasley
Pamela and Richard Lasen
Susan and Duane Gottsch
Cindy and John Cameron
Karen and Dean Castensen
Joel Parks and Kathryn Haugebak-Parks
Phillip S. Wood
Jane and Vernon Gibson
Joanie and Emmett Brazeal (also in memory of Gene & Vera Brazeal)
Julia and Allan Hale
Dana and Derek Kruse