Jean Elizabeth Jennings
1919 - 2010
A bit of an angel.
Jean Elizabeth Jennings, 91, died peacefully Dec. 15, 2010 in Payson, of heart failure. She was born Oct. 28, 1919 in Hayward, Wis. to Ruben and Inez Peterson.
She grew up walking across the bridge and through the woods to Peggy’s house, running to the dairy with a friend where her uncle would give them a pail of cool buttermilk to drink before they took the real pail home, picking wild blueberries, idolizing her brother Sonny (a woodland guide), and watching her Grandpa Haselhuhn’s store. She regretted not finishing high school, but did not regret staying home to care for her mother.
Mrs. Jennings dated a jazz drummer and wore her high school sweetheart’s ring before a tall, handsome Navy man swept her off her feet. She married Lt. Cmdr. Jarvis R. Jennings, Sr. Nov. 9, 1940 in Montgomery, Ala., during his weekend leave for Armistice, and had many adventures following his duty stations from coast to coast. She seemed fearless.
The couple built their home in Mesa.
They danced with friends Eunice and Elmer Magnusson at Rendezvous Park. She learned to fly solo in Jarvis’ Piper Cub. She went spelunking. She was a friend of the young and the old — from baking pans of rolls or lemon meringue pies she shared with neighbors, setting a blind friend’s hair, to taking relatives and friends who did not drive on sunrise rides to see the poppies along the Superstition Mountains. Many who knew Mrs. Jennings slept under the quilts she lovingly stitched.
She made a home for two sons, Ramsay and Bruce, a Native American foster child and later adopted a granddaughter, Carol Jean. She was fiercely proud of all her children’s successes. She was a Scout mom; delighted when her youngest son Bruce gained his Eagle Scout medal and later a Purple Heart as a Vietnam veteran.
As the hostess at Organ Stop Pizza for 22 years she was loved by many and watched the teenagers who worked behind the counter eventually own the restaurant. There were good times and practical jokes. A smile always lit up her face when Lew Williams played “Lost in a Fog.”
Mrs. Jennings’ role as everyone’s caretaker was given over for the past 15 years to Bruce, as she gradually lost her vision.
She missed her Peterson clan, loved her visits from nephew David and looked forward to news from her nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Jennings is survived by children, Bruce of Payson, Ramsay of Texas and Carol La Valley (Ray Baxter) of Payson; grandchildren, Michele (Alan Turner) of Phoenix, Abby (Marc) Orner of Texas, Wayne of Mesa and Stephen Heeder of Idaho; and great-grandchildren, Andromeda La Valley of Payson, Desiree Moore and Jacob Moore of Texas and Drake Turner of Phoenix; niece, Patricia Brown of Oregon and Peterson nephews and nieces, David, Mark, Carol, Ed and Alan of Wisconsin.
Jarvis’ “Jeannie with the light brown hair” left us to spend Christmas with him, her brothers Allen “Sonny” Peterson and Curtis Peterson, best friend/cousin, Margaret “Peggy” Kittredge and the baby girl she lost in the 1940s.
The family plans private services at a later date.