Jean E. Tlustos


January 10, 1951 - May 18, 2018


It is with much sorrow we announce that Jean Elizabeth Tlustos, 67, of Sioux Falls, died on Friday, May 18, 2018 at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls. Memorial Services will be 8:00 PM Thursday, May 24, 2018 at Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell. Burial will be at a later date. Visitation will be from 5-8:00 PM Thursday at Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Jean Elizabeth Tlustos was born January 10, 1951 to Curtis Abel and Mary Josephine (Morse) Talley in Brookings, SD. She grew up in Forestburg, SD and graduated from Forestburg High School in 1969. She attended the University of South Dakota from 1969 to 1973 where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in English. While at USD, she was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority and was the President of the Young Republican’s Club. She lived North Ft. Myers, FL from 1973-1976, where she started her teaching career. She taught in Billings, MT from 1976-1984, before moving to Sioux Falls, SD in 1984. Jean obtained a Master’s degree from Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota in 1996.

On August 7, 1980 Jean married Michael Tlustos in Waseca, MN. Jean taught in Sioux Falls from 1984 until her retirement in 2012. She had a lifelong love of teaching and was an advocate of learning. She desired to touch people’s life in a positive way and made everyone she welcomed to her home feel like part of the family. Jean and Mike enjoyed wintering in Arizona and entertaining friends in their retirement.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Tlustos, Sioux Falls; Son, Samuel (Haley) Tlustos, Cottage Grove, MN; brothers Curtis (Laurel) Talley, Mitchell, SD; Paul Talley, Northfield, MN; sister Patricia Talley, Sioux Falls, SD; Mother-in-law Joyce Tlustos, Sioux Falls, SD; Godsons Andrew & Joseph Batt, Sioux Falls, SD, and by her many students over the years, of whom she cared about greatly.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her father-in-law Harlan Tlustos.

Any memorial donations will be contributed to the Whittier Middle School Wolverine Club.


Thursday, May 24, 2018
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 West Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Thursday, May 24, 2018
8:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 West Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301

Posted by Joshua Bertsch on May 24, 2018
Ms. Tlustos touched lives. She was a fixture in my my middle school life spreading wisdom, humor, and an appreciation for the beauty of variety and authenticity. While so much of adolescence is the crushing pressure to conform and minimize self-exposure, Jean encouraged my friends and I to embrace our eccentricities and to value our goofball-ness, knowing that that is where the joy in life lives. I am terribly sad for her loved ones and friends, and wish for them strength and comfort. She was remarkable and lives on in the hearts of those she touched. Thank you for sharing her with us
Posted by Margaret Ann Briggs Samuels on May 24, 2018
A big hole is left in our lives; Jean has been part of my existence since she was born. My heart reaches out to both sides of the families; how I wish I could be there.
Posted by Jackie Dusseau Beilke on May 24, 2018
My heart is breaking. Mike, Sam, and Jean's siblings, my deepest condolences and prayers for you all. Jean was a flamingo sister to me at Whittier. Her presence brought sanity, caring, wisdom, and joy to all she came in contact with. She truly was a light in this world and we are all better by her influence. Thank you for everything, Jean.
Posted by Linda Wagner on May 23, 2018
Jean was a wonderful friend,neighbor,looked forward to our talks when we walked by their house on our morning walks when they moved over to Severn.Always a positive thought,a smile that warmed your heart,a story to tell..Gone too soon but never forgotten.Bless you Jean for touching our lives..
Posted by Vonnie Herman Barnett on May 23, 2018
Jean welcomed me many years back on to the Kevin Circle family. She shined her kind, giving spirit onto so many. Love and prayers to Mike, Sam, other family and all who this wonderful person impacted.That laugh, that smile will carry on!
Posted by Leslie Medema on May 23, 2018
With the fondest memories, I send my love to Mrs. T on her next journey and to her family, of whom she spoke about all of the time. I was a student of Mrs. T, who swept me into her classes at Whittier, and she gave me a deep love of learning and confidence. I have dedicated my professional life to education, and I am currently an International School Principal. I serve in these roles with as much humor and humility as I can, which I learned from experiencing the care of people like her. For my dear teacher and to a beautiful person, I send my sincerest gratitude for all she has done for me and so many others.
Posted by Derek Haffner on May 22, 2018
Mrs. T will forever be a guiding light in my life. She welcomed me into her room every day for 3 years, at a time that I could have easily gone down a dark path. After leaving Whittier, her room was still like a second home, and I feel blessed for having had her in my life. Prayers for her family and friends, she is an AMAZING human. I know I speak for my fellow students when I say thank you for sharing her with us!
Posted by Deb Karlson on May 22, 2018
Gone way too soon. No matter how bad a day you might be having, spend a few minutes with Jean, and your day would be 100% better. Rest easy, sweet Jean, you will definitely be missed!
Posted by Kathy Peterson on May 22, 2018
You are in my thoughts and may you find peace in the memories carried with you. Your whole family has been a.great and positive example to many. God bless
Posted by Mary Schmitz on May 22, 2018
My heartfelt sympathies to Mike and Sam. Jean was a wonderful lady with a memorable laugh. My thoughts are with you in your loss. Sam, I think of you often as one of my favorite RHS students.
Posted by Janet Drewes on May 22, 2018
It was a privilege to work with Jean at Whittier alternative program. She was like one of my sisters. She will be missed by many students and adults she affected. My deepest sympathy Mike and Sam.
Posted by Carol Childerston on May 22, 2018
It was my privilege to be on staff at Whittier with Jean. She was a master teacher who was loved by her students. I will always remember her smile, laugh, and her sense of humor---A very special lady.
Posted by Connie Kolbrek on May 21, 2018
Jean brought love and learning to all her students and especially touched the lives of students who could only experience hopes and dreams through the love Jean gave to each and every adolescent who walked through her doors - even the ones who just walked down her hallways. Her facial expressions and loving heart spoke to students when words could not. Having the joy and privilege of knowing, teaching and working with Jean has blessed my life. You have definitely fought the good fight and finished the race of living, loving and inspiring. May Peace continue to bless all you have touched.
Posted by Sharon Dannenbring on May 21, 2018
Jean was one of those extra special teachers at Whittier! The students loved her as well as the staff the and administrators. I am honored to be able to call her a coworker and friend and have many wonderful memories of Jean!
Posted by Amy Morrison (Wussow) on May 21, 2018
One of the best teachers ever! She made Jr. High fun - I completely credit her for making those uncomfortable years bearable and making me feel special!. I remember she'd quote Saturday Night Live and Shakespeare. Loved her! She was a treasure - I'm so grateful I got to experience her as a teacher. I'm a school counselor now ironically, I have been using one of her life lessons in my guidance lessons this past week.
Posted by Kathy Hagen on May 21, 2018
Jean was one of those rare individuals who made you feel you had known her forever from the first minute you started talking. She was so kind, fun and full of energy always. Her home was warm and open to all who entered plus she was a great cook! Loved that lady and my heart hurts just knowing she was taken so soon. What a blessing she has been to Andrew and Joey over the years and a special friend to Dan and Stacy. Mike and thoughts and prayers are with you both and the rest of the family as we celebrate the life of one of God's best!
Posted by Ann Nelson on May 21, 2018
Mike and Sam,
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and the rest of your families. What a great privilege to have all of you as a next door neighbor for 15+ years. Not only were you a wonderful neighbor but great friends as well. Jean and I also had a double connection as she knew my dad as well. We have so many memories on Kevin Circle. Jean was one of a kind and impacted so many lives. Your smile and sense of humor will be missed. Rest in peace my friend!
Posted by Diana Navin on May 21, 2018
When I think of Jean I just remember her smile and her laugh. I met Jean at Whittier many years ago and never forgot her. RIP Jean.
Posted by Marlene Wussow on May 20, 2018
This is so sad. Jean was a wonderful teacher to my daughter Amy. She was loved by her students. I worked at Garfield when her son was in grade school. Such wonderful memories.She will be missed. My deepest sympathy to her family.
Posted by Josh Lunt on May 20, 2018
Every time someone would bring up who my favorite teachers were Mrs T would always come to mind. Teachers who care as much as she did and who encourage as much as she did are a rare breed. I loved running into her around town to catch up and she still always made me feel special even 25 years later. May the comfort of knowing her life was well spent carry you through this difficult time. She will be missed.
Posted by Mary Standinger Mauch on May 20, 2018
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Jean. May the wonderful memories of all the good times you have shared together offer you some healing during this most difficult time.
Posted by Roger M Dent on May 20, 2018
There are just not enough words to express a lifetime of friendship.
Posted by Dee Nelson on May 20, 2018
My heart has been hurting for you since her heart issue.. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike, Sam and families. She was a great gal and super nice person and friend for years.. Love and hugs to all.
Posted by Karen Wallenberg on May 20, 2018
She was truly amazing! She loved her students and they knew it and she made every person she came in contact with at Whittier feel welcome..... students, parent helpers, guests, everyone. She passed way too soon. We are so sorry.
Posted by Gavin Wigg on May 19, 2018
Mrs. Tlustos did what a teacher is supposed to do: inspire, encourage, and enable success. Will never forget her encouragement to enter a video contest back in 1990. I won and it put me on a career path that led me to my life, today. Wonderful lady.
Posted by Vanessa Ferguson on May 19, 2018
Jean was a wonderful warm hearted person who always had a smile on her face, was ready with a hug and genuinely made you feel like she was happy to see you. Even though I did not get to see her often I always looked forward to catching up. She will be missed by many but I have no doubt she will be looking down over and after us all. My thoughts and prayers for her family.
Posted by Sandy Huber Henry on May 19, 2018
I loved to be around Jean! She loved her students and her colleagues. What an amazing woman. I am so sad! Hugs and prayers to her family! May you Rest In Peace!
Posted by Kristi OG on May 19, 2018
Loved that Lady!! Always made me feel welcome and valued while I was at Whittier
Posted by Amy Buxton (Bittenbinder) on May 19, 2018
Without Mrs. T in my life in junior high, literally telling it gets better, I don't know how I would have survived my junior high years. Her loss is quite a shock. She is one of the few teachers I made a point of visiting when I was back in town.
Posted by January Johnson on May 19, 2018
Mrs. Tlustos saved so many kids at Whittier. We’re all better for having known her. It was an absolute privilege!
Posted by Jeni McNamara on May 19, 2018
There were times I know I wouldn't have survived if that door hadn't been open.
Posted by Angie Schlenker on May 19, 2018
Loved Jean. She was a favorite of my sister. When I started teaching at Whittier she was such a role model. She built beautiful relationships with kids. I will remember her unique descriptive comments to students. She taught me so much.
Posted by Deb Rohrer on May 19, 2018
My heart just breaks for Jean’s family. I have never known another person as selfless and caring as her. I taught across the hall from her at Whittier Middle School for the last few years before she retired. She was, in every sense, my school Mom. I loved her dearly. Rest In Peace, sweet school mom, until we meet again.
Posted by Tracy Kaiser on May 19, 2018
Jean was one of the most smart, likeable, great ladies and friend I have ever had the privilege to know. I was envious of her "gift of gab" and always enjoyed being a listener. Rest In Peace my friend.
Sign Jean E. Tlustos's Guestbook
Your Name