In Madelia she worked at the Farmer's Mutual Insurance Company for a time, then was
employed as a postal clerk in the Madelia, Minnesota post office. She attended
Nebraska Christian College in Norfolk, Nebraska one year before her marriage.
June married Robert Chester Blanshan on August 20, 1947 in the Church of Christ in
Madelia, Minnesota. Pastor Rowland Wilder performed the ceremony. Bob was born in
Mankato to Ralph and Edith Pearson Blanshan. He also attended Nebraska Christian
College and graduated from the Midwestern School of Evangelism at Ottumwa, Iowa.
Bob and June had eight children beginning with Barbara in 1948 and ending
with Brenda in 1968. They lived in a large number of places due to their line of
work, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Jamaica, West Indies and Florida.
Once most of the kids were grown, June took a job as a library technician at
Bemidji State University from 1969 to 1974. In 1978 she was a library aide in
the West Concord, Minnesota elementary school. She has always helped out in
the church by teaching Sunday school and ladies' classes, playing organ and
piano and helping with various other church activities.
In 1975 and 1976 and again in 1981-1983 she did missionary work with Bob in
Jamaica. In 1966, Bob and June's son Davie, died as the result of an attack by a dog.
It was a shock to them that lasted many years. June had several hobbies. She had a
large collection of teapots which she gave to her children and grandchildren. Each
child and grandchild got to choose one or two. She had a large collection of fancy
dolls which she displayed in her bedrooms and living room in Madelia. She has
sewn and crafted dolls and Barbie furniture for her extended family. She has made
each of her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren a quilt.
|In March, 2000 June was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She was sent to
Fairview University Hospital, Minneapolis, where she had 6 weeks of radiation (two
implants) and chemotherapy. She is still in remission but the cancer treatments
left her with brittle bones and internal problems.
Bob and June celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in Madelia in August of
1997. They celebrated their 60th in 2007. Bob developed Lewy Body Dementia in
his eighties and had to be admitted to the Luther Memorial Home in Madelia,
Minnesota in 2012. He suffered a fall in July, 2013 and never recovered. He died on
July 23, 2013 and his funeral was held July 28th at the Madelia Church of Christ.
His ashes were enurned at Minneopa Cemetery near Mankato near the grave of
his son Davie.
June Esther Colebank was born January 29th, 1926 in Woodside Township, Polk
County, Minnesota to Lester and Linda Nasman Colebank. She grew up on her
parents crop, stock and dairy farm 7 miles south of Mentor. She attended rural
elementary school in Woodside Township. During her sophomore and junior
years of high school June stayed with her Grandparents L.S. and Martha
Colebank of Madelia. She says that was one of the best things to happen to her
because she got acquainted with her grandparents and learned a lot of family
history. She went back to Mentor for her senior year and graduated from Mentor.
After she graduated from high school, she went back and stayed several more
years with her grandma Martha, but by that time L.S. had died.
I remember that mom let us rearrange her living room to make it be
what ever we wanted for playing. We could invite our friends. She said
she would rather have us there then she knew what we were doing and
with whom. I remember the couch in the middle of the living room as a
boat. The living room being our ocean. I would never consider such a
thing!!!!!! But she did.
The milk carton bricks cost no money but I remember spending a fair
amount of time building things with them. I don't know where she got
the idea but it was a good one. We got pretty creative with them.
She was always our Sunday school teacher too until we were older.
The cardboard box with wallpaper drawings was a hit with me anyway.
It was fun to see the stories happening as she told them. She was a
good artist for those stories!!
I don't remember her ever talking badly about anyone. She always tried
to find the good side of things.
She made sure we were well rounded in music and that each of us
was exposed to at least one instrument and taught us parts for
singing. I liked her reading the Bobbsey Twins books to us at night.
I learned to cook by watching mom, asking questions
and talking to her while she was making
I would like mom to know that when I think of angels or
saints she comes into my mind. She has got to be the
closest thing to an angel here on this earth. And if I can
become half the person she is or inspire half the
people she has, I would be
The thing I'll always wonder about Grandma is
how on earth she had time to hand-make
birthday gifts for all of her grandchildren! We
really looked forward to getting a package from
Grandma in the mail on our birthdays. From
Barbie clothes and furniture to the character
bears that she designed with each of our
interests in mind, they were always such
thoughtful gifts that must have taken hours to
make. I still have some of my things she made
for me. Also, I remember that she was an
encourager, to me and to many others, and I
don't believe I've ever heard an unkind word
come out of her mouth. And then of course
there's Grandma's lefse...who can forget that
I remember mom as being very tolerant and very slow to anger when we
were kids -- and she still is. She always tried to find the bright side of
everything. I was a natural pessimist and skeptic, so she made me
read the Pollyanna books. I never did appreciate the Pollyanna
Principle, but mom could have written the books.
Mom has always been a great listener. I never talked that much, but I
remember Nancy and Suzanne would talk with her for what seemed like
hours to me. She encouraged all her kid's talents. She never forced me
to do anything, but let my interests be my guide. (That is why I'm the only
one who doesn't play the piano.) She told me I was a good writer when I
was young, and I believed her.
She was rarely sick, but if she was, she didn't let on. She didn't have
much in the way of material things, but she was creative with what she
had. And company usually got Lady or Lord Baltimore cake or rhubarb
Mom cherishes her friends and has made some life-long ones. She is
always writing letters and sending cards to friends, kids, grandkids and
When I was in junior high Mom had me take a notebook to school and just write down thoughts I had. When I got
home from school she would go through them with me. That way she knew what was going on in my head.
I remember taking a memorable road trip with Mom and the reason it was so memorable was we had all the
cream cheese and crackers we could eat. We felt so rich! I'd like to do that again.
I was the lucky one who got have Mom and Daddy to myself for a few years. We played lots of games, and traveled
lots of miles, and sang a lot of songs.
The ladies at the church in Orlando always loved Mom's talks. She always complemented her talks with lots of
visuals. If she had had the internet and access to MicroSoft products...look out!
Mom was extremely patient with me. And I didn't always deserve patience!
Mom was very 'instrumental' in making us all instrumentalists. She played classical music to put me to sleep.
She took me to concerts when I must have been 6 or younger. I remember something about Scheherazade, and
Peter and the Wolf, amongst others.
I hope if I live to be 80 that I have the same attitude and vim and vigor as Mom.
The ladies in Jamaica (and many over here) think Mom is an angel. I tend to agree.
A memory of mine about Grandma that
stands out is the way she would eat. If
we ever went out to eat she would finish
every last bit of food, and would usually
take the longest to eat. I always liked
watching her finish her food because
she enjoyed every bit of
One of her favorite activities was gathering Colebank and Blanshan family
histories. She has written a book called "William Cunningham" which traces
the Colebank family history in Madelia back to William's birth in 1801. She
worked on a Blanshan family genealogy.
Another of her hobbies was entertaining senior citizens. She played auto harp,
accordion and keyboard and sings old songs, often with a matching hat for