Volunteer Spotlight: Jean Frazier

Volunteer Extraordinaire

by Donna ChildsVolunteer Jean Frazier

Having just celebrated her 90th birthday, Jean Frazier is the oldest volunteer at the Multnomah County Library’s Title Wave Used Bookstore, but that may not be the most interesting thing about her. For example: 
  • 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 PSUPacific 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
 
Home library: Hollywood Library
 
Currently reading: Anne Tyler
 
Favorite book from childhood: The Oz books and Heidi
 
Favorite section of the library: Fiction, history, and biography
 
E-reader or paper books: Paper books!

Favorite place to read: My chair by the front window or in bed

 
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

 

Comments

Wow Jean you are such and interesting lady! You inspire me to be a harder working person! Also I'm going to have to come check out the bookstore. Oh yes and happy birthday!
Way to go, Jean! Thank you for your service, and happy birthday!

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