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Cindy Welch: A Familiar Face At JoDean’s Steak House vBy Aimee Huntley JoDean’s Steakhouse has been known by many from its radio jingle as “A South Dakota Tradition”. The Neilson’s restaurant was always a family run business from day one with John, Thelma, and their son, Jack Nielsen in 1971. The restaurant originally opened in Vermillion, SD. and then moved to Centerville in 1973. Eventually, JoDean’s has come to its present Yankton location at 2809 Broadway Avenue in 2002. The JoDean’s brand name was a compilation of the married owner’s names. The first two letters of John’s first name and Thelma Dean’s middle name. The couple’s son; Jack Nielsen, has been the acting owner since their passing. In addition to Jack, Cindy Welch has been a constant presence at the restaurant for the past thirty-nine years. After meeting Cindy, one would never believe the time though. She is vibrant and energetic as ever. She started at the Centerville location while still in high school as a cook, because “Back in those days I was too young, and you had to be twenty-one years old to be a server.” Over the years Cindy learned many aspects of the business, and took on more and more responsibility. Eventually she became assistant manager, and more recently the lead supervisor for the past six years. Not only has Cindy made a career out of her employment at JoDean’s, she actually met the love of her life there too. Cindy has been married thirty-six years to her husband, Jim. She met him at the old Yankton site in the 80’s, when he worked for JoDean’s as a cook. The two became friends and eventually started dating. The Welch’s have three adult sons; Andy, Alex, and Adam. Andy and Alex followed their mother’s footsteps and started working for Jack when they were in high school, they are wellliked, established members of the JoDean’s crew. Jim still loves to cook, and Cindy says that, “My husband does most of the cooking at home.” He and their sons enjoy growing vegetables in the family garden. Cindy is sometimes very busy canning them depending on the harvest. Cindy credits her strong work ethic to her parents, Eugene and Jeanette Wieseler from St. Helena, SD. She hails from a large family, with five older brothers and six younger sisters, and is blessed to still have them all alive and well. Her parents owned and worked side by side, at the Mission Hill meat locker until 1985. They often Cindy an d Jim 19 85 had their children with them at the business. A Proudly Serving You Since 1948! “Your Single Source” •HVAC • Plumbing • Electrical 808 W. 23rd, Yankton, SD | 16vHERVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 605.665.2895

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