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On 6/2/29 Jean Gere, the oldest of 4 children of Roy and Dorothy Harless was born in Hamill, South Dakota, at the farmhouse of her most favorite paternal grandmother, Gertrude Harless. Through out her childhood years Jean loved being on this farm assisting with all the chores especially feeding the chickens. Jean was a good high school student and grandmother Harless had plans to fund Jean’s college education to become a teacher. Jean graduated from Winner , S.D. High School in June, 1947.
All family plans for college changed abruptly when Jean fell in love with her navy man Dean Gere. Dean was discharged from the Navy in 1946. Jean described Dean as Tall (all of 5-10) Dark (only his black curly hair) and Handsome (correct). They were married with a beautiful formal summer wedding on 6/8/1947 in Winner, South Dakota.
In 1953 to be close to family, Jean and Dean relocated to Dryden, Washington. They remained all their 40 years of married life in Dryden raising 6 children in the same home affectionately named by Jean “The Old Blue House”. For both Jean and Dean having a family was a priority . Jean had 5 of their 6 children by the age of 23 years. Dean and Jean were parents FIRST above all else in their lives.
Husband Dean passed away in 1987 of lung cancer. Jean continued to live for the next 20 years in “The Old Blue House” surrounded in love by their expanding family of 6 children, 13 grandchildren, and
31 great grandchildren.
“ Thus we see that the family is the basis of life”
(Jean Harless Gere; Philosophy of Life; High School Essay, 1947)
In 2016 when her dementia became too debilitating Jean moved to assisted living Mountain Meadows, Leavenworth, Wa. Jean passed away at Mountain Meadows on 11/28/2020.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents Roy and Dorothy Harless; Brothers Floyd and Lee Harless; Sister Phyllis Salem; Husband Dean Gere; Son Dell Gere; daughter-in- law Donna Gere (Jerry); and grandson KC Gere (Dell & Marcia Gere).
Jean is survived by children Pam (Bill) Cronrath Wenatchee, Wa; Twyla (Loren) Darlington Dryden, Wa.;
Daughter in Law Marcia Gere (Dell) Sun City, Az; son Jerry Gere, Peshastin, Wa; son John Gere Wenatchee, Wa and son Scott (Denise) Casa Grande, Az. She is also survived by 13 Grand children and 31 great grandchildren.
“PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID AND PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID;
BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL”(Maya Angelou)
Throughout our family lives together whenever some unexpected event (like the boat motor falling off into the ocean) we would all say “okay we just made another story”
Pam Cronrath Daughter (oldest) married to Bill Cronrath (oldest son in law): My Mom was known by most as truly an outstanding “Listener”. When I left home for College I began a life-long practice of a daily phone call to Mom. In the early years many calls had to be made at a phone booth with coins ( a memorable challenge itself). This daily touch base became expected and accepted by my husband Bill and close friends; “Pam has got to call her Mom”. Even though I never discussed my phone call practice with Mom; Now at 72 years myself, with our sons raised and grandchildren, I recognize how much Mom must have relished those conversations.
Twyla Darlington Daughter: I loved living up the road from my Mom all these years where I could have coffee every morning with her. She was always the best listener. I will miss taking her with me to all the grandkids events. She was fun to be with and would get so excited watching them play their sports. Mom taught me the true meaning of being dedicated to family.
Chris Cronrath Grandson (Pam /Bill Cronrath): Hanging out with my Grandpa you could always count on my Grandma making early morning pancakes with eggs smothered over them; mid-day hot fresh homemade bread with butter and jelly; and late night hot tea (Grandpa’s drink of choice) with hamburgers off the fryer, and rice crispy treats for dessert. All of this served up by Grandma with never a complaint; just lots of love.
Rod Cronrath Grandson (Pam /Bill Cronrath): We lost our beautiful “ Gram “ last night. Gram was the most kind and caring person I’ve ever MET or KNOWN. She always found the best in all people; even when others wouldn’t or couldn’t; continually bringing folks back together, never apart. She was the center of entire family for as long as any of us can remember. Love you forever and I will see you again one day.
John Gere Son: My mom always made me feel safe and protected. As s young boy I cut my knee on barb wire while putting our horse away. I ran bawling to the house where my Dad started dabbing turpentine on my cut. Mom appears and says “Dean what are you doing? “ She grabbed me up and into the car we went; pedal to the medal to the local doctor. 15 stitches later Mom took me home to sleep like a baby that night.
Scott Gere Son (Denise Gere): I am the youngest (61 yrs) of the 6 children. I truly was the BABY of the family and loved every day of being spoiled rotten by the whole family. I was so much younger that I was able to be the flower boy in my oldest sister’s wedding. Wife Denise says Jean was the person she could always count on to sit and really LISTEN to her. Our entire family loves fishing . For our family reunions we would all gather at Smugglers Resort Orcas Island Wa. to celebrate Mom’s BIG birthdays (70, 75, 80). Mom’s one huge fish (we call him Walter) was very long and difficult for her to reel in, but finally he surfaced with this huge head, bulging eyes, and our net really not big enough. We all gazed at Walter but with one flip of his head, line snapped, Walter swam off to live another day.
Eric Gere Grandson (Dell & Marcia Gere): There are very few people in this world who are able to live a life the way my Gram lived hers. Many people talk about loving unconditionally, her love WAS always unconditional. Many people talk about being kind, nice, and genuine to all friend or stranger; she was always that to everyone. Anyone that met my Gram loved her and was loved by her. My Gram, love you the way you loved us all….with the purest of all love. May the angels lead you in.
Heidi Brown Granddaughter (Loren/Twyla Darlington): Much of who I am as a mother is a direct result of Gram’s love, devotion, and modeling through the years. Countless cups of coffee have been shared around her kitchen table in the old blue house. She was always my sounding board and I have yet to meet a better example of offering unconditional love. Having the opportunity to share my amazing Gram with my own kids and watch them grow to appreciate her in the same way as I do, is a true blessing. You have left impossible shoes to fill Gram, but I will do my best to continue to make you proud through what you have taught me about devotion to family.
Sabrina Ames Granddaughter ( Scott /Denise Gere): I remember all the many times she would open the front door to total strangers (like Jehovah Witness) to let them tell her all about their religion (for the thousandth time) while filling them up with coffee and goodies. She had her own religion but she knew how important it was for them to share their belief of salvation. I remember how she made me feel I always had a home and was Always loved. She had a way of speaking to me that made me feel so super special. She made sure I knew with every fiber in my body that family was the best.
Paul Darlington Grandson (Loren/Twyla Darlington): One of the things I remember the most was how all of the Grandkids wanted to stay the night at Gram’s house. How could you not? We played ball or tag until dark. Then we would run in to the house with the smell of fresh home made bread and hot chocolate, or homemade pie, or her famous Special K bars. After eating we would head to the living room to build our own Taj Mahal. Gram would let us pull off all the couch cushions and blankets to the floor for our night’s adventure. Yes, it was always a dream to spend the night with our beautiful “Grammy”. I love my Gram with all my breaking heart.
Matt Darlington Grandson (Loren/Twyla Darlington): Gram was the face for Dryden for many years. People would come from all over to taste her home made bread, apple pie, ginger snaps, or Special K bars. From the world’s best cooking to wiffle ball in the yard, trips to the Dryden store, fishing in the river, swimming in the ditch, sledding down the hill, shooting hoops front yard, with all the neighborhood kids gathering at the old blue house. My grandma was all about family. We live in a world where everyone is quick to find fault in someone, but she was always there to compliment. Gram had no social status agenda she loved and welcomed all. Rest in Peace and I will see you in heaven.
Kristiana Spoor Grandaughter (John Gere): I have treasured and kept every letter my Grandma has written me over the years. She never missed a moment to write me a letter to keep me up to date on everything happening with the family. She is the main reason why I have a relationship with my Dad today. I still remember when I would visit the old blue house and she would call everyone in the family to let them know I was visiting. It makes my heart happy to know how much she always wanted to include me. I like to think the baker in me comes through from her. Today heaven gained the most perfect angel.
Jerry Gere Son: When I moved back to Peshastin from Shelton I would stop by almost daily in the afternoon for a chat on my way home from work. Mom would tell me stories of her childhood and early married life in S.D. As a young teen to pay for her “extras” she would go out into the empty fields nearby and collect old dried cow bones and sell them. She also told me when the Doctor told her she was having twins (me being one), she was so happy and excited she floated all the way home from the office.