This morning I was shocked to hear that Jean, a long-time member of my local quilt guild, died on July 17. She was beautiful, talented, funny, pleasant, and she was so nice to everyone! She was good at greeting new members at our meetings. She made gorgeous quilts which were pieced precisely and hand quilted so beautifully. She was never a quilt snob and appreciated utilitarian quilts as well. She was very humble about her own machine quilting abilities (which, of course, always turned out just fine).
Jean at her 10-year-post-heart-transplant party
Jean lived a fabulous 15 years after having a heart transplant. She was very active in all levels of quilting and gave away many quilts to many people in crisis. She worked with the Minnesota Quilt Project to help document historical quilts and wrote the introduction in the book, Minnesota Quilts. She headed up the Minnesota Home of the Brave quilt project which gives a quilt to every family in Minnesota who lost a son, husband, daughter in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I've been collecting fabrics to make blocks for this project and always had in mind that some day I would surprise Jean and make and complete a whole quilt and just hand it to her - all done! She would have been pleased. Now I'll have to do it post-humously to honor Jean. I always thought I had plenty of time.
Jean discussing one of the completed Home of the Brave quilts
Jean always sat in the front at our guild meetings, because of her hearing loss. This meant I got to sit with or near her many times, because as historian and photographer, I always sat in front, too, to capture the best possible photographs. I thought it was a privilege to sit next to her; I'm going to miss that!
Jean was making this quilt entirely by hand!
I was floored at how beautiful it was!
She was working on this at a sew-in day at my church in 2008. I don't know if she ever finished this gorgeous quilt.
I saw Jean at the Minnesota Quilters show in June this year. She was walking around on her new, surgically-improved hip! What a tough cookie! That was the last time I saw Jean. Our guild had just finished a quilt to give Jean after her hip surgery and just because we love her... it was to be presented to her in July, but I couldn't make the meeting. It was only 4 days before she died; she had hospice care in the end. I'm guessing she never got to see the quilt we made her.
We'll miss you, Jean. Your empty front seat at our guild meetings will be a sad sight. Our hearts are heavy, but we are thankful and blessed to have known you!
Jean enjoying the 2010 MQ show.. this is not a quilt that she made
A few members of our guild, DCSQ, posed for a photo. Jean is in the pink blouse. I am standing behind her.