Monday, July 19, 2010

Missing Jean

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.

12 comments:

Pattilou said...

Sounds like a big hole will be left in your quilt guild. Sad to see such a fun lady move on. Happy for you that you got to know her.

Beth said...

Oh I am sorry for your loss... she sounds like a wonderful human being!

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BrendaLou said...

I am sorry for your loss...it is a good thing that you hve so many wonderful memories of your friend. We are the sum of the people we know + the love we all share.

AnnieO said...

Losing a long time guild member and all around great person is sad. It's great to know she perservered with her love of quilting despite illnesses. Jean sounds like such a lovely person. Sorry you didn't get to see her getting the quilt you made for her hip surgery. You have some good photos of her and her beautiful quilts though.

Leanne said...

What a nice tribute!

goodnightgram said...

My condolences to all who will miss her. What a lovely tribute in your post, though. She will live on in so many ways - in particular, the quilts she's worked on that remain behind.

Elaine Adair said...

Such a lovely tribute to your friend - she must have been full of personal perseverance with new heart, new hips, etc. I'm sorry she is gone - but she was lucky to have you, and probably many others, as friends.

quiltmom said...

Carole,
So sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend Jean. It sounds like she lived life fully and was well loved by all who knew her. My condolences to you and yours.
With sincere sympathy,
Anna

Mama Drama Times Two said...

What a sad loss and beautful post to honor your friend.

Mo said...

Thanks Carol, I won't soon forget how she broke down at the quilt show not knowing how much time she would have left. The quilt was given to Janet at Tuesday's meeting to bind and hopefully it got delivered in time. Thanks again for honoring Jean. Mo Johnson

bethk said...

The quilt we made for Jean was given to her Thursday, July 15, 2 days before she died.
--Beth Kobliska