Obituary: Jill J. Jessen Jorgenson

Dec. 28, 1948 – March 25, 2020

Jill J. Jessen Jorgenson, 71, of Washington Island died March 25, 2020.

She was born on Washington Island to Karly and Evelyn Jessen. Jill graduated from Washington Island High School in 1967. Following three years of college, she returned to the Island and married the love of her life, Kermit Jorgenson, on November 4, 1972, at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Jill grew up at her parents’ business, Karly’s Bar, and continued to always be a part of the Karly’s Bar family.

She had compassion for others, and it was shown as a continuing caregiver for family and friends. After 28 years of service, Jill retired from the Washington Island Rec Center. The Season of Lights at the Rec Center was Jill’s creation and remains an annual fundraising tradition.

She was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, once serving as council president. Jill was active with the women of the church and the altar guild, and she volunteered many hours caring for the church courtyard gardens. Jill loved designing and caring for her own beautiful flower gardens and sharing her flowers for many weddings, special occasions or a bouquet to brighten someone’s day.

Jill loved her sewing and quilting. She taught quilting at Siever’s and was involved in sewing the Quilts of Valor. Jill left heirlooms in the form of quilts for her children and grandchildren, along with baby quilts for her nieces, nephews and their children.

Sharing her mother’s love for Schoolhouse Beach, Jill continued preservation efforts there so all could enjoy. She was an excellent swimmer and loved the water. She swam Washington Harbor many times and taught hundreds of Island children to swim. 

She loved the outdoors, Mother Nature, travel, reading, and harvesting wild mushrooms and picking morels with her sister Karla and friend Cheryl. She was a fabulous cook who loved sharing her own recipes and great food, and she was especially known for her chanterelle pizzas.

Jill loved volunteering for her Island community, serving as a Girl Scout leader, performing with the Island Players, serving on the W.I. Park Committee and as a member of the Women’s Club. She sewed many squares and assembled many of the Women’s Club Island quilts, which were made for various fundraisers.

Jill was always thoughtful, loving, caring and very kind. She had a love that left her home always open and welcoming to family and friends.  

She will be sadly missed by Kermit, her husband of nearly 48 years; daughter, Jennifer (Gavin) Hegg; son, Daniel; two grandsons, Jorgen, Anders; granddaughter, Celise; brother, Timothy (Lois) Jessen; sister, Karla (Mark) Gunnlaugsson; brother-in-law, Perry (Cathy); sister-in-law, Joyce Lackowski; brother-in-law, Perry (Cathy); brother-in-law, Russell; many loving nieces and nephews; and her dear Washington Island family and friends.

Preceding her in death were her parents, Karly and Evelyn Jessen; in-laws, Leonard and Sylvia Jorgenson; brother-in-law, Lonald Jorgenson; and her second mother, Helene Toussaint.

An outdoor service of committal was held at Washington Island Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon October 24, 2020. A full celebration in her memory is being planned for 2021.

Memorials may be made in Jill’s memory to Trinity Lutheran Church, the Stavkirke, the WICHP and the Hegg Foundation (at any Nicolet Bank).

Casperson Funeral Home in Sister Bay is assisting the family. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Jill can be shared through her tribute page at

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