Jean Warren Obituary

Jean C. Warren
Jean C. Warren
Jean C. Warren

May 12, 1920 - February 27, 2017
Born in Omaha, NE
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Mildred Jean Clark Warren was born at Nebraska Methodist Hospital in Omaha, on May 12, 1920. As an infant, she was adopted by Abner and Laura Jerusha Clark of Shenandoah, Iowa, and remained their only child although she had a close relationship with her nearby cousins, Bill and Betty Burke. Their respective fathers were in business together.

Jean attended her early years of school in Shenandoah until 1929 when the family moved to Clarinda, Iowa, where her father opened Clark's grocery store. Later he opened stores in Bedford, Iowa, and Maryville, Missouri.

Jean graduated from Clarinda High in 1937. Her class was a close group and remained in touch over the years by writing and calling each other and connecting at class reunions. Until she died, Jean maintained a friendship with one classmate. Following graduation, Jean attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where she graduated with a Specialized Elementary Teacher's certificate in 1939. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority and played flute in the college band. The following two years, she taught second grade at Redfield, Iowa.

While at Simpson, Jean met student Robert Meredith Warren, and on May 25, 1941, they were married in the Clark home in Clarinda with Bob's father, the Rev. William G. Warren, officiating. Jean and Bob lived in Adel, Iowa, one year while he managed a United Food Market store, and she taught remedial reading in the Adel school system.

Bob enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942, and was stationed out of Alameda, California. Jean joined him shortly later, living in Berkeley, California, where she took several courses at the university there which enabled her to teach nursery school to the children of families connected with the war.

When Bob went overseas, Jean returned to Clarinda until after the war when they moved to Adel in October 1945. They had three children: Jane, Barbara, and Bill.

In 1955 the family moved to Des Moines where Bob's job in advertising with United Food Market was located.

Throughout the children's years, Jean was active in their activities: Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, church events, and made certain they attended school, their many music lessons, sporting events, and various outings from movies to swimming to ice skating. Jean was among the first to receive recognition for 1, 000 hours of volunteering at Iowa Methodist Blank Hospital Guild.

A member of Grace United Methodist Church for over 50 years, Jean volunteered there well into her eighties when illness precluded it. But her faith remained steadfast, and tucked away here and there all over her house were biblical messages of hope and encouragement. True to the messages she cherished, Jean nurtured her friendships and in turn several church members have been very attentive to Jean throughout her last years.

Jean's employment included one year each at Charlie's Super Valu Deli, the Des Moines school lunch program, and a theatrical shop, which she managed. In the early seventies she was employed by Richman Gordman and remained there holding various positions until they closed their retail stores over 20 years later in 1992.

That year Bob died of heart disease. Jean was his devoted primary caretaker during the six years following his heart surgery. They were married for over 51 years and enjoyed square dancing, annual vacations with their children, attending church, and visiting with friends.

In 1995 Jean moved from the family home in Urbandale they had lived in since the mid-sixties to a West Des Moines retirement community just three weeks following surgery for breast cancer. Typical of her strength and determination, every year she participated with her children and grandchildren in the annual Race for the Cure event in Des Moines, winning awards, until she could no longer attend.

New Year's Day 2009, Jean suffered a debilitating stroke. Despite early setbacks of partial paralysis, damaged eyesight, broken hip, flu, and pneumonia, and with Parkinson's disease, she continued to live courageously in Wesley Acres. The staff often commented on her strong will and sweet disposition (though she would argue that!)

Jean found great joy in her six grandchildren, Suzy (Harrison) Wilson, Beth Ann (Harrison) Vega, Heather (Scott) Lesher, Lindsey (Spedding) Finch, Meredith Warren and Mike Warren, and her great grandchildren Gabe, Josh, and Sam Wilson; Harrison, Layne, and Rex Vega; Brett and Scott Lesher; Ray Weldon and Warren Finch.

A very creative and attentive grandmother, Jean enjoyed making books, sewing dolls and their clothes for her grandchildren. She made matching nightgowns for daughters, their daughters, and the daughters' dolls. She enjoyed making imaginative, fun gifts. But, her most talented endeavor was the annual Easter bunnies she made—sometimes multiple bunnies a year for each grandchild. These bunnies were outfitted and dressed beautifully with love and meticulous handiwork. Jean was prolific letter writer until her paralysis, but her friends and family had enjoyed years of her thoughtful, detailed writings.

Jean lived a Christian life and was the family guide for church attendance, dinner and bedtime prayers, and teaching Christian principles. Her husband's father, grandfather and grandmother, and three uncles were Methodist ministers, so there was strong support and influence there!

Until the time she had her stroke, Jean rode her exercise bike 6 days a week and volunteered in the Grace UMC office. Daily she solved the Jumble word game in the daily newspaper, something her children found challenging, if not impossible to complete. Jean participated in church circle activities and her Sunday School class. She enjoyed attending art shows, baking, going out to lunch with friends, cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes and spending time with her family. Her strong will, determination, and faith were sustained her through her challenges later in life.

Jean passed away on February 27, 2017 at the age of 96, at Wesley Acres Retirement Community. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, March 3, 2017 at Iles Westover Chapel. Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. Friday, one hour prior to the service, at the funeral home. Interment will be at Resthaven Cemetery.

In loving memory of Jean, memorial contributions may be directed to Grace United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.
Click here to view memorial folder
Arrangements by Iles Westover Chapel.




Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Friday, March 3, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Westover Funeral Home
Friday, March 3, 2017
1:00 PM
Resthaven Cemetery
801 19th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Friday, March 3, 2017