Jean Gordon Mitchell of Newberg, Oregon, died on December 7, 2014.
She was born Jean Kane Gordon on November 4, 1923, in Prineville, Oregon. Jean was the second of three children born to Eric Henry Gordon and Marion Kane Gordon. Jean's siblings included her older brother, Wallace and younger sister, Mary.
The Gordon family moved to Dufur, Oregon, in April 1924 when Jean's father took a job as District Ranger for the Barlow District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. It was in this capacity that Eric Gordon named Jean Lake after his eldest daughter in what is now known as the Badger Lake Wilderness Area in Mt. Hood National Forest.
Jean graduated from Dufur High School in 1941. She attended Eastern Oregon College as a freshman prior to transferring to Oregon State College. In 1946, Jean graduated from OSC with a degree in Home Economics and subsequently completed a post-graduate internship in hospital dietetics at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.
In 1948, Jean started her professional career as Director of Meal Services for Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. It was in that capacity Jean met her future husband, James Rice McDonnell. The couple married in Forest Grove on August 14, 1949.
Jim and Jean had three children: Mark Gordon McDonnell, born November 22, 1951, David James McDonnell, born August 15, 1955, and Gordon Rice McDonnell, born May 26, 1965.
Jean and her family moved to Newberg in 1956 where Jim was hired as a teacher and varsity basketball coach at Newberg High School. Jean also took a position as a home economics teacher at the high school. After teaching and coaching for 18 years, Jim McDonnell passed away in 1974. The Newberg High School baseball diamond is named in Jim's honor.
In 1972, Jean McDonnell was hired as Program Coordinator at Portland Community College for adult and post-secondary classes in Newberg, Sherwood, and Tigard. Jean served the college for fifteen years prior to her retirement in 1987.
In February 1988, Jean married Benson Mitchell, Jr. Jean and Ben were married for 18 years until Ben's passing in September of 2006. Together they lived between Newberg and Surprise, Arizona. Jean and Ben frequently travelled together across the United States visiting family, friends and Ben's Air Force buddies. Jean also enjoyed trips to Europe with friends and family members.
In addition to belonging to several bridge groups, Jean was active in PEO, Delta Delta Delta Sorority, Newberg FISH food bank, Newberg Methodist Church, and Dandy Dancers. Jean was also famous for her annual Christmas Irish Coffee party.
In addition to her sister, Mary Wilson, Jean is survived by her eight children, fifteen grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Family members include: Susan Mitchell, Ben and Kayda Mitchell, Mark and Lynn McDonnell, Mary Rietze, David and Brenda McDonnell, Margaret and Bob Reed, Will and Denise Mitchell, Gordon and Jill McDonnell. Grandchildren include Erin and Eric McDonnell, Kelsey McDonnell Coulter, Katie Mitchell Severeid, Libby and Harry Rietze, Jim and Elizabeth McDonnell, Emily Reed Putney, Abby and Austin Reed, Jack and Kate McDonnell, Molly and Megan Mitchell. Great-grandchildren include Sophia and Caitlin Severeid, and Madeline McDonnell.
A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church, Newberg, Oregon on December 18 at 11:00 am. A reception at the church will follow. Jean's remains will be interned at Willamette National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrance donations may be made to the PEO Chapter DX scholarship program. Checks may be mailed c/o First United Methodist Church, 1205 Deborah Rd, Newberg Oregon 97132.
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