by Donna Childs
- At 90, she still volunteers three days a week, one at the Title Wave and two more in the ophthalmology department at Kaiser Permanente.
- A lover of dance, Jean not only took aerobic dance for years, but she is looking for a new Zumba class because the one she was taking wasn’t vigorous enough.
- She worked the graveyard shift for the railroad switching office, walking the rails to keep track of the cars.
- Although she taught herself to use the AP wire equipment (receiving, developing, and printing transmissions) at the now defunct Oregon Journal, they couldn’t hire her because she was not yet 18.
Family tradition led Jean to both her railroad and newspaper jobs. Her father and her grandfather had both been railroad men, and her father was a newsman at the Journal. Jean worked for the newspaper during World War II, leaving right before D-Day. After the war, Jean met her husband, a history professor who taught at PSU, Pacific University, and the University of Washington, among others. His specialty, cultural geography, led him to amass a large collection of maps and slides of cities, buildings, and bridges.
In addition to raising two sons, Jean worked at the PSU bookstore for 21 years and for another six years at the Portland Public Schools. After her sons were grown and she had retired, Jean volunteered at Kaiser Permanente, where her mother had worked. Wanting to do more, she came to the Title Wave in 1998. She sorts, prices, shelves, and manages the store’s paperback fiction, a task she loves because she sees all the books as they arrive. Her favorite parts of the job are “the books and people,” being around books and people who care about them. “I’d be bereft without it.” A World War I and II history buff, she also makes weekly trips to her local Hollywood branch library to see what’s on their shelves. Not bad for a 90-year-old!
A Few Facts About Jean
Favorite place to read: My chair by the front window or in bed