Jean Anderson, known affectionately by all as Gina, passed away Aug. 4, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer at the age of 71, in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was born in Detroit, Mich., the only daughter of Tony and Tania Perna.
She and her brother, James, spent their early years in the Detroit area surrounded by a loving extended family that included many uncles, aunts and cousins. For much of her early years, Gina lived in Dearborn, Mich., above the neighborhood grocery store operated by her father and uncle, where she attended Catholic school.
In the early 1950s, her family moved to Phoenix, where they were blessed with two sons, Dino and Michael. Gina attended Camelback High School, but spent most of her free time raising her brothers while Tony and Tania operated various businesses. In high school, she met Gregory, her future husband and soul mate ever since. They married shortly after high school and have been inseparable.
Gina’s family moved to Payson in the early 1960s, and it became Gina’s dream to ultimately live in Payson. She realized her dream in 2001 and, while she was not able to spend full time in Payson, a part of every week, without fail, was spent at what she quickly called her “dream home.” The family always gathered there for the holidays and her fabulous Italian food.
Throughout her life, Gina was most passionate about simple things. Above all, she loved her family, and was happiest when one or all were with her. She loved cooking and when she wasn’t out dining with friends, she was at the stove. Much of her spare time was spent on tending her garden and trees. During her years in her Payson dream house, she planted some 50 trees and topiaries.
Gina was predeceased by her father and mother; her brother and sister-in-law, Dino and Denise Perna; and her nephew, Tony Perna.
She is survived by her husband, Gregory and their son and daughter-in-law, Gino and Linda Anderson of Denair, Calif., their children, Melinda and Tonia, and their children; by her daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Jim Jaspring of Peoria, Ariz., their daughter, Sheena and son-in-law, Brian Jessup and their children, Beau and Brianna, their daughter Shannon Jaspring and son, Jacob Jaspring; by her son and daughter-in-law, Raymond and Rikki Anderson of Scottsdale, and their children, Ashley and Katherine. She is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Jennifer Perna of Payson, and their sons, Tyler, Nathan and Jacob, and her brother, James Reede of Vancouver, Wash. and his daughter, Nicky; and by many cousins.
Gina will be dearly missed by her family whose lives were profoundly touched and influenced by her beauty and loving care. She was a generous, caring person who went out of her way to enrich the lives of family, friends and neighbors alike. A funeral vigil was held on Aug. 8, 2012 at Messinger Mortuary in Payson followed by a gathering of friends and family at Michael’s restaurant, Diamond Point Steakhouse, Star Valley, Ariz.
The family wishes to thank and express their sincere appreciation to all of the caregivers at Hospice of the Valley in Scottsdale. Donations may be made in Gina’s memory to the Hospice of the Valley.