CHANDLER—Jean Bryant Chandler, 91, a long-time resident of Florence and Coos Bay, passed away in her sleep about 1:40 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2012.
At the time of her passing, she was residing at Lake Oswego Hospice House in Lake Oswego, Ore.
Jean was born to Tony and Elsie Bryant, the youngest of four sisters: Nina (d. 1972), Reva (d. 1997) and Loa (d. 1999).
She grew up in the Fern Ridge Lake area and attended Junction City High School and the University of Oregon. During World War II, she served the Allied efforts by working as a parts runner at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Wash., and a punch card operator for the U.S. Army in Madison, Wis., before returning to Florence.
She married Donald G. Smith, a former U.S. Army Air Force pilot, in 1947, and gave birth to the first two of five children, Shelley (b. 1949) and Mark (b. 1950). Her first husband was killed in a car accident in 1954. Four years later, she married Sydney L. Chandler, an attorney.
The family moved to Coos Bay in 1961, and three more children, David (b. 1959), John (b. 1962) and Paul (b. 1964), soon followed.
Jean was trained as a jeweler, but settled into the role of housewife and mother in Coos Bay. A lifelong lover of art, she served on boards and committees for the Coos Bay Art Museum. She was a member of Coos Bay’s Progress Club, Friends of the Library and many social groups, including her beloved bridge clubs, one of which actually played bridge. She also loved tennis, both as a player and spectator.
A world traveler, Jean made trips to France, England, Turkey, Italy, Malta, Mexico and many other ports of call. It was during a trip to the Philippines with her sisters in 1974 that she befriended Ador Batac, a young Filipino who worked as a waiter at the hotel at which they were staying. Jean and her sisters took an interest in the enterprising lad, and decided to give him money for his college education.
He eventually became a bank vice president and was able to provide college educations for his own children. He credits “Mom Jean” with being a sort of patron saint that helped him to attain a better life.
Other examples of her legendary generosity with both time and money that demonstrated her unwavering faith in mankind are too numerous to list.
Her husband Sydney passed June 16, 1991, and soon after she moved to Florence to be closer to her sisters and old friends. Jean continued to travel, volunteer and make generous donations to community organizations like the Florence Senior Center.
She herself was diagnosed with vascular dementia disease in 2008 and moved to Beaverton, Ore., where she lived at Maryville Memory Care Unit.
Jean is survived by her five children; three daughters-in-law: Cynthia, Cathy and Barbara; five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and many, many dear friends.
The date for a memorial service to be held in Florence is pending.
Arrangements were made through Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home.
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