Dora Jean Bartlett Gwin — “Jean” — passed away on September 22, 2021 at Timber Ridge, McKinleyville, at the age of 97. Jean was born March 15, 1924 in Lakeport, and was the third child of Irving and Dora Mary (Ransdell) Bartlett. Jean moved to Humboldt County as a young child. She lived in the Rohnerville area, attending Toddy Thomas Elementary and Fortuna High School.
Following the marriage to the love of her life, Edward “Bud” Gwin on October 28, 1939, Jean moved to Arcata and then to the McKinleyville area where she lived for the past 70 years. She resided at one time in the Dows Prairie area in what she referred to as the “old ranch house,” currently the site of Beau Pre Golf Course. Since the 1960’s she resided mostly on Pickett and then Gwin Road in McKinleyville. Jean and Bud were always together until his passing after nearly 67 years of marriage. One exception was during WWII when Bud was serving his country as a paratrooper. Even then, he wrote to her nearly every day. They were wonderful examples of a marriage that was a true loving partnership.
Jean was involved in her community. She worked as the head cook at McKinleyville Elementary School for approximately 10 years. One year she and her sister Loberta were the Grand Marshalls for Pony Express Days, which she was involved with for many years. She also spent many hours helping with the McKinleyville High School and the McKinleyville Community Services Department newsletter. Jean made many pies for the Westhaven Wild Blackberry Festival. When her children were school age, she served as an active member of the PTA and taught cooking to 4-H members. When Bud was still living they picked up trash in McKinleyville during their daily walks. When anyone needed a hand, she was there – she never knew a stranger and of course she loved being in charge!
Jean was an avid reader, loved playing cards and embroidering – dish towels being her specialty. Many of us have dishtowels that she made. She was always there for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She never missed a graduation or wedding, even if she took a little flack when they landed on Bud’s abalone, fishing or hunting trips. Our camping trips to Junction City along Canyon Creek were a highlight to us all.
Jean is survived by her three children, daughter Jean Nowak of Eureka, daughter Janice and husband Gary Chidester of McKinleyville, son Allen and wife Julie Gwin of Redding; nine grandchildren, Eddie and wife Debbie Whitchurch of Cartersville, Georgia, Danelle and husband Cary Tegarden of Eureka, Patrick and wife Cathy Whitchurch of Fortuna, Wendy Smith of Del Loma, Calif., Greg and wife Kelly Chidester of Santa Rosa, Gayle and husband Genaro Muniz of Santa Rosa, Deborah Mitchell of Largo, Florida, Michelle and husband Andy Ross, of Mooresville, North Carolina, Sheryl and husband John Vicharelli of Mooresville, North Carolina; 19 great grandchildren, Nicola Whitchurch, Kimberly Abbott, Christa Jones, Marisa Salas, Taylor Tegarden, Nathan Whitchurch, Stephanie Berger, Savannah Polizzi, Jake and Danny Chidester, Brianna Fleischmann, Sierra Lynn Mitchell, Marty and Cavin Hawkins, Lucy and Danny Ross, Dante, Dominic, and Andre Vicharelli, and 14 great great grandchildren with another one on the way, and one great, great, great grandson. She is also survived by her sister, Loberta Bartlett Gwin, brother Elwood and his wife Deanna Bartlett and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bud Gwin, parents Irving and Dora Mary Ransdell Bartlett, her sister Juanita Bartlett Waggoner, brother in law Don Gwin and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
If desired, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Humboldt, Humboldt Area Foundation, or a charity of your choice.
No services are planned at this time. A celebration of her life will follow at a later date. Jean’s family would like to thank the Timber Ridge of McKinleyville’s Renaissance team and Hospice of Humboldt for their care, compassion and support.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Jean Gwin’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.