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Jeane “Sue” Fontaine June 28, 1924 - November 17, 2022

Jeane “Sue” Fontaine

Sue was born in Rolfe, Iowa to Dorothy Messinger Gaskins of Rolfe and Vernette M. Gaskins of Peterson on June 28, 1924.  She passed away peacefully in her sleep on November 17, 2022 in St. Louis, MO at the age of 98. She was a woman who wore many hats.  Foremost, she was a loving l CC mother, stepmother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, a Cub Scout Den Mother, Scout Mom, Sunday School teacher and active PTA member.

She was graduated from Sioux City Central High School (1942) and from the University of Iowa School of Journalism (1947) where she was Society Editor of The Daily Iowan and Continuity Director, WSUI. Over the years she was a journalist (byline Sue); a pioneer in television and in library public relations.

She was the first TV producer (Telekids) when WDSU TV, the first station to serve the southeast, went on the air in New Orleans (Dec. 1947). Notable among the shows that she later wrote and produced is the long-lived legendary “Mrs. Muffin.” series. (credits: Suzi)

She was also a pioneer in library public relations, bringing media, advertising and marketing strategies to raise awareness of library services.  She earned a Masters from the School of Library and Information Science, University of Missouri (1976) while serving as an instructor in PR.  Her first post (1960’s) was PR officer for the Louisiana State Library and her last three posts (1976-1991) were that of Information Officer of the Washington State Library, PR Manager of The New York Public Library Branch System, PR and Marketing Director Queens Borough Public Library, NY.  Upon retirement, she continued as Coordinator, Friends of Libraries, for the Queen’s system.

She was active in the American Library Association, serving as PR Section Chair, National Library Week Chair, and with a Fellowship from the Council on Library Resources, touring 32 libraries to observe their public relations. The resulting audio-visual presentations were used in workshops and library schools from coast to coast.  She was also active in Women in Communication Inc., co- founding several local chapters, and in the Public Relations Society of America. In her retirement years at the family cottage on West Lake Okoboji she co-founded The Okoboji Queen Chapter of Questers International and was a board member of the Ladies of the Lake Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She was a member of St. Albans Episcopal Church, Spirit Lake Iowa where a memorial service will be held on June 28, 2023.

In St. Louis she was a member of The Episcopal Church of the Advent, College Club of St. Louis and the Eugene Field Chapter of Questers.

From her marriage to the late Henry A. Fontaine Jr., (1948) she is survived by her daughter, Eva Joel (Jodi) Hart, Okawville, IL, and her son, Jeffrey David Fontaine, New York City; two Fontaine grandchildren, two Hart grandsons; Michael and Christopher, St. Louis; and three Hart great-grandchildren; Kenzie, Jameson and Hayden, and stepson Barry ( Dorrie) Fontaine of Washington, D.C. and grandson, Sumner (Sarah) Fontaine, Charlotte, N.C.

From her marriage to the late Senator Gordon Herr (1985) she is survived by five “bonus” children as she affectionately called them: Nedra (Lance) Morrison, Stanwood, WA and their son, Jeffrey D. Morrison, Lynnwood WA, and Claudia (Joe) Girard, Port Angeles, WA. Also, Dan Herr and Shelley (Mike) Loftus, SeaTac , WA.

She requested that memorials in her name be given to your local library.

Services:  A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, June 28, 2023 at St. Albans Episcopal Church, Spirit Lake, Iowa.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, June 28, 2023 at St. Albans Episcopal Church, Spirit Lake, Iowa.


  1. REPLY
    Colleen Lemkuil says

    Sue will be missed. Recently she sent a Christmas card she painted and produced. I will be at the service on June 28th, 2023 in Spirit Lake, Iowa at her church. She is spending her first Christmas in heaven. We send our sympathy to her daughter Jodi Hart and her son. We were with her for her 88th, 89th, 90th, and 91st birthdays. Wow-now 98!!

  2. REPLY
    joanne says

    My deepest condolences go out to you, Jodi and your entire Family. I had the honor of meeting your Mother a couple times and what a delight she was. Wishing you comfort through these difficult days. Joanne Herbert

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