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Jean M. Gust, 61, of Elgin died Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Elkader Care Center in Elkader, Iowa, after a long battle with cancer. Jean overcame cancer twenty-four years ago, but it returned in 2010. Jean Marie, the daughter of Robert E. and Amy (Wagner) Burgess, Jr., was born November 5, 1952 in West Union, Iowa. She was baptized and confirmed at the Bethel Presbyterian Church in West Union. Jean attended the Dover School and graduated in 1970 from North High School in West Union. She was trained as a florist at the Floral Arts School in Chicago, Illinois. Jean was united in marriage with Gene Gust on August 11, 1972 at the Bethel Presbyterian Church in West Union.
Jean’s greatest love was arranging flowers. She worked at various jobs until she started her own shop, Valley Floral and Gifts, in Clermont, Iowa. She was an award winning designer with top honors. She was the Designer of the Year for both Iowa and Minnesota, she designed arrangements for Gov. Mike Huckabee, Chef Emeril Lagasse, and for Gov. Terry Brandstad’s inauguration. Her health forced her to retire in 2012.
Jean was a member of the First Baptist Church in Elgin and was active in the AWANA club for many years. She was a member of the Iowa Florist’s Association and served on the I.F.A. board for several years. Jean enjoyed art, crafts, and antiques.
Jean is survived by her husband, Gene, of Elgin; her daughter, Melinda Gust-Burgess of Santa Rosa, Florida; her mother, Amy Burgess of West Union; her brother, Scott Burgess of Houston, Texas; and many relatives and friends.
Jean was preceded in death by her father, Robert E. Burgess, Jr.; and her grandparents.
Celebration of Life Services will be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2014 at the First Baptist Church in Elgin. Rev. Lee Boleyn will be the officiant.
Visitation: Friends may call on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Elgin.
Inurnment will be held at a later date.
Leonard-Grau Funeral Home in Elgin, Iowa is in charge of arrangements.
Condolences may be left at www.graufuneralhomes.com.