1932 - 2013
My wife, Jean, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on Aug. 8, 2012; she passed away on Feb. 15, 2013. Our three kids: Gerry from Boise, Beth from Bellingham and Barbara from Mt. Vernon, were all in Walla Walla with their families at the time of her death. Together we were able to support one another sharing photos, tears, laughter and memories.
Jean was raised in New Jersey and went on to earn a master’s degree in English, speech and drama. She taught high school in New Jersey for several years, took a trip to Europe, then moved to Pasadena, Calif., to teach high school. We married in 1963, in 1965 took time off to travel through Europe covering over 7,000 miles in 4 1/2 months in our little blue VW bug. Two months after our return to the U.S., Gerry was born; Beth came 29 months later; Barbara 27 months after that.
From 1970-74 we lived in Tucson, Ariz., while I attended college. We then moved to New Zealand, where I taught at university, Jean at Girls’ High. We returned to the U.S. in 1980 and came to Walla Walla the following year. Jean began her 22-year teaching career at Walla Walla Community College.
Jean loved theater. In Walla Walla she served on the Little Theatre board; produced, stage-managed, crewed and performed in numerous productions; and directed some 10 Little Theatre plays, including Man of La Mancha, Dragonmaster and Fantasticks. An avid reader, Jean was also very active in the AAUW’s annual February book sale the past few years.
In June 2012 we celebrated 49 years of marriage. In October we observed Jean’s 80th birthday with a joyful celebration of her life with family and many friends.
The last six months of Jean’s life were a difficult road, known by those associated with cancer. The many acts of kindness by Jean’s friends were incredibly helpful to Jean and to our family, I can’t begin to express my gratitude for that. Our kids have been tremendously helpful and supportive and continue to be there for Dad.
Near the end, Walla Walla Community Hospice was a lifeboat in a very stormy sea. We are extremely grateful for its help and guidance.
No service is planned, but Jean loved flowers. We invite friends to plant spring flowers in celebration of her life. She touched many lives and will be dearly remembered and treasured.