Jean Louise Larson, 92, passed away on August 18, 2012 at her daughter Judy Hallâ€™s home near Colville. Jean was born to Leo Morris and Adele (Lampert) Morris in Spokane on March 27, 1920.
Shortly after Jeanâ€™s birth, Adele passed away from what was then known as childbed fever. Feeling unable to care for his infant daughter, Leo agreed to allow his mother-in-law, Katie Hoefer, to raise Jean, although she only agreed to the arrangement if Leo agreed that Jean would remain under her care throughout her childhood. She didnâ€™t want to become attached to her granddaughter just to have her taken away as she got older. That was how Jean came to be raised on a farm just outside Worley, Idaho.
Known as Grandma Hoefer to the whole family, Katie was the source of Jeanâ€™s strength and belief system, as well as her work ethic. Growing up, Jean assisted her widowed grandmother with chores, including milking the cows before and after school. Leo had little contact with his daughter during those years, alÂ¬though they were to grow closer after she became an adult. An only child, Jean was privileged to have an extended family close by, including her cousins, Ralph, Ed, Katherine and Bernice (Bunny) Lampert, the children of Adeleâ€™s brother, Harry and his wife Bertha, who lived on the next farm.
They all grew up together, attending school and graduating from Worley High School. The children spent many hours on Coeur dâ€™Alene Lake, just down the hill from their homes.
(By an odd coincidence, according to a history of the family, Katie, who was born in Germany, was christened on August 18, 1866, exactly 146 years before the date of Jeanâ€™s death.)
Because Jean had so little contact with her father during her formative years, when she decided to marry, it didnâ€™t ocÂ¬cur to her to invite her father to the wedding. She married Lars Larson on Dec. 10, 1940 in Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho. They were married for 53 years, until Larsonâ€™s death on Jan. 9, 1994.
During their marriage, the couple moved multiple times, including one year when they moved six different times. They lived in Sandpoint and at Hayden Lake, Idaho, and in Spokane before moving to Colville and then finally to Kettle Falls in 1969.
Jean was one of the original residents of Gold Hill Manor senior apartments in Kettle Falls. She lived there for alÂ¬most 34 years. She was very proud of her long-time position as secretary of the Kettle Falls Senior Citizens. She attended the Kettle Falls Community Church for many years and more reÂ¬cently joined the Community Bible Fellowship.
Her belief in the hereafter was so strong that she planned on finally meeting her mother in heaven. She read her Bible every day and enjoyed attending Bible study meetings, not only for the Bible study, but also for the delicious food she was nearly always encourÂ¬aged to take home for the next dayâ€™s meals.
In addition to her Bible, Jean was an avid reader of novels. She also enjoyed working all kinds of word puzzles. She always kept her hands busy with needlework and was proficient at embroidery, knitting and crocheting. Many of her friends and famÂ¬ily were privileged to receive her handiwork, including baby clothes and afghans, crocheted doilies, and most especially her Barbie doll clothes.
She enjoyed socializing with friends and family and was fond of pointing out especially good days when she was able to eat out for all three meals. She also enjoyed watching Western movies (the older the better), and loved discovering ones that she had never seen before. Her Green Thumb was evident in her beautiful African Violets, which she enjoyed tending to and which would receive a scolding if they didnâ€™t bloom. They nearly always did.
While she was always busy, Jeanâ€™s only official full-time job was in the gift-wrap department at the Crescent Department Store in Spokane. She enjoyed the job, although it lasted only one Christmas season. She and Lars did take in several foster families, inviting both a mother and her children into their home. She also earned money from babysitting. One of her babysitting jobs resulted in the making of lifelong friends, Dale and Tom Brighton, and their children. It wasnâ€™t unusual to see her corresponding with friends she had known for 20 or 30 years. She was held in esteem by everyone she knew.
Jean passed away in her sleep. She never lost her sense of humor and was able to recognize and remember friends and family up to the very end. Judy and Lyle felt very privileged to have been able to have Jean at their home for her last few months. She never failed to thank them for allowing her to come there.
They and the rest of the family wish to thank Hospice of Spokane and especially Kelly, Tracy, and Jo Nelle for their inÂ¬valuÂ¬able assistance in Jeanâ€™s final weeks. Another big thank you goes to her caregivers, Kathy Quick and Peggy Robinson. With their help, she was able to continue to live in her own apartment for many years after Larsâ€™s death.
Jean is survived by her four children, Dennis and Hiroko Larson, Linda and Don Metler, Judy and Lyle Hall and Diane and Rex Oâ€™Neel; 10 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren, and 1 1/3 great-great-grandchildren
A memorial service was held for Jean on August 26 at the Assembly Of God Church in Kettle Falls. Knowing her love of gift cards (she always kept track of how many birthday cards she received each year), the family decided to bury the sympathy cards they received with her ashes.
Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Spokane or to thethe Kettle Falls Senior Citizens.
Please visit the online memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com. Danekas FuÂ¬neral Chapel & Crematory was entrusted with the arrangements.