November 10, 1922 - December 28, 2019 Jean Vonnegut, who has been greatly loved and admired by her family and friends, went to be with her Lord on December 28, 2019 at the age of 97. She passed away peacefully at the Lighthouse Memory Care Center in Anacortes, Washington, where she resided for the past four years. She considered the care givers there as part of her family and often spoke of how lovingly they cared for her. Her family members, especially those who visited her often, are forever grateful for each and every one of them. Jean was born on November 10, 1922 (Francis Eugenia Cain) in San Diego, CA, but spent most of her younger years in Bakersfield, CA, where she graduated from high school in 1939. Thereafter, she attended Bakersfield Business College where she gained administrative and secretarial skills which she excelled in the rest of her working life. In 1940, she married Geno DeZan, and in 1942, they welcomed a newborn daughter (Marie Jeanette, later named Alba Louise) to their family. During the WWII years, Geno, known as Gene, was a pilot and flight instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, he flew for Western Airlines and helped to supervise the local airport in Bakersfield where the family resided. Later, He was elected as one of four commissioners on the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Jean divided her time as a mom and as an administrative secretary for the Bakersfield County Court House. Several years later, Jean's family life underwent an abrupt change when her husband, Gene, decided to begin his own mining business. With typical support, Jean helped him develop DeZan Mines, including two extensive open pit manganese and limestone mines near the Colorado river not far from Blythe, CA, where the family resided for a time. They both worked relentlessly in the harsh desert area along with a crew to extract the prized ore for both US government and industry use. For many years, Jean handled the administrative and business affairs of the company, fed the crew and did no end of tasks that contributed to a successful mining operation. Years later, during the Vietnam War, Gene was contracted by the US Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama, to train helicopter pilots. Both Gene and Jean spent several years in Enterprise, Alabama, near the base, at which time Jean served as one of several secretaries for the City Board of Education and school superintendent. Subsequent to the conclusion of the Vietnam War, Jean and Gene moved to Costa Mesa in Southern CA where Jean supervised evening Instructional Materials Center operations at Costa Mesa College. She was then promoted to the Coast Community College District Office as staff support for the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. She served in this office until retirement. It was during this time that her husband underwent several health issues including lung cancer, emphysema, and a brain aneurysm, all of which he survived. After retirement and the challenges of her husband's ill health, they decided to move to Rancho Bernardo, CA, a community north of San Diego, to be near their daughter and two granddaughters, Angela and Pamela. Jean also moved her aging mother (Henrietta Hammel) and assumed responsibility for her care until she passed at 95. Although circumstances had separated the family members who had lived in different parts of the country, they now enjoyed living nearby and being a part of each other's daily lives. Both granddaughters loved and appreciated having their grandparents and great grandmother available during their teenage years. Geno's weakened physical condition deteriorated and he died of pneumonia in May of 1988. In June of the same year, Jean's daughter, Alba, married Larry Stevens, a San Diego State University professor at the time. The couple continued to live in Rancho Bernardo near Jean for several years until Larry retired from SDSU in 1991. Although Larry's professional career as a teacher, educational administrator, community college president and chancellor had spanned several states, his familial roots were deeply engrained in the Northwest. The couple decided to move and continue their careers in Washington state and Jean soon followed with a move to Anacortes, WA, where she would be close to her daughter and son-in-law. She came to love her NW home and often commented that it was her little piece of heaven on earth. While living in Anacortes, Jean met and married widower Walter Vonnegut, a longtime Anacortes resident, retired teacher and one of the founding members of the Anacortes Community Theater in which he also served as director and actor for many years. Although Jean had formerly been an active member of the First Baptist Church in Anacortes for several years, after marrying Walter, she became a member of the United Methodist Church where he attended. In both congregations she had close friends who loved and admired her deeply. She was widely known as a master flower arranger. Her floral bouquets graced many churches, weddings and numerous special occasions through the years. She also had a flair for decorating and could transform the most ordinary environment into an extraordinary place of beauty. Her talents for making all things beautiful reflected her inner beauty as well. She was a woman of genuine faith who loved her Lord, her family and many friends who admired her sweet disposition, charm and grace. She will be forever loved and remembered by all who knew her well. Jean was predeceased by her first husband, Geno DeZan (1988) and by her second husband, Walter Vonnegut (2013). She is survived by her daughter, Alba Stevens, son-in-law, Larry Stevens, and granddaughters, Angela Duby, and Pamela Parkinson (husband Bill). She was and is blessed with five wonderful great-grandchildren: Michael Duby (wife Avery), Alexa Hodgson (husband Lance), Kaitlyn Parkinson, Emma Luehrs ( husband Tanner) and Dylan Parkinson. On the Vonnegut side, she is survived by two stepsons, Kit Vonnegut (wife Beth) and Ken Vonnegut (wife Kari) and their offspring. A celebration of life ceremony for Jean will be held on January 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the United Methodist Church located at 2201 H Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221. A private family graveside service will be previously held at Fernhill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either the Family Center of Anacortes or Hospice of the Northwest in Mount Vernon. Arrangements are in care of Evans Funeral Chapel in Anacortes. For those who would like to share memories of Jean, please address cards to Alba Stevens, 3743 Birch Way, Anacortes, WA, 98221 or sign on to the online guest register at The family wishes to thank all those who knew Jean for being a part of her life.

Load comments