- January 8, 2023
Jean Tinker, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beloved wife of Arthur James (Jim) Tinker for 57 years, devoted mother to Jennifer, Kathy and Karen and endearing grandmother to five grandchildren (their loving “Gar”) passed away on Jan. 2, 2023, after a sudden illness. She passed peacefully with her loving husband and daughters close by her side. She was predeceased by her daughter, Kathy.
The fourth of five children, Jean was born on May 13, 1942, to Ellis and Margaret Love in Butler, Pa. After graduating from Butler High School in 1960, she went on to study Elementary Education and French at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she began her first job as an elementary school teacher in Pittsburgh.
In 1964, she and Jim met at her best friend’s wedding (who happened to be Jim’s cousin) in Butler. It was love at first sight, becoming engaged after a whirlwind six-month, long distance courtship. They wed in 1965, going on to have three wonderful daughters: Jennifer, Kathy and Karen. Their marriage was a beautiful journey making their home in many locations, starting in Ann Arbor, Mich., before relocating to Wilmington, Del., where they welcomed their first child, Jennifer. Madison, Wis., was their next stop, where they became a family of five, welcoming twins, Kathy and Karen. After a fellowship year in Bethesda, Md., they returned to Madison, then Grosse Ile, Mich. Ultimately, Cedar Rapids became their home, where they have made so many close friends and everlasting relationships. After retirement, Jean and Jim became snowbirds, escaping Iowa winters on Amelia Island near Jean’s sister, Mary Beth.
Jean lovingly welcomed her two sons-in-law (true sons) to her family when Karen married Paul DeDomenico in 1994 and Jennifer married Stephen Fawcett in 1997. Her five grandchildren–James Nicholas (26), Jonathan (24), Joshua (20), Ava (18) and Elise (17)–are “Gar’s” absolute pride and joy.
Jean’s greatest love was her family. She dedicated her life to being a mother, supporting Jim’s career in healthcare. Perhaps her pinnacle achievement (among so many), was being the greatest grandmother, or “Gar,” to her grandchildren. She inspired all of them with her passion for reading, learning, gardening, and the arts, delivering overall kindness, compassion, and humor and instilling a thirst for pursuing the adventures of life. Nick, Jon, Josh, Ava and Elise adored their grandmother beyond what anyone could describe.
While Jean focused on motherhood, she also excelled as Jim’s partner. Jean was ever so involved in the healthcare communities where Jim worked. She was nicknamed “Mrs. Mercy” by her girls, assisting Jim to foster the many strong relationships he built across the communities and hospitals he successfully served. She served as a Board Member of the YWCA/Waypoint in Cedar Rapids, volunteered in the start-up and early development of the Cedar Rapids Science Station, made volunteer contributions to Symphony Iowa and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and was a member of the Cedar Rapids Garden Club and PEO.
Family vacations meant everything to Jean. The Outer Banks in North Carolina was one of Jean’s most cherished vacation spots. Years of memories were created by annual family vacations that also included her beloved sister, Mary Beth, and her family. The Outer Banks vacation tradition has continued to this day.
Jean’s love of travel was strong. She and Jim traveled extensively, enjoying wonderful escapes to Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Mexico and locations across North America. Jean’s love for the humanities, art history, culinary delights, and the many wonders of the world enriched their lives. Travel also brought her to the many places she was so blessed to live and experience her passions firsthand. While Jean did not fly fish or hunt, she certainly spent many trips with Jim in the best places in the world for fly fishing and hunting where she voraciously read the equivalent of the New York library in books and sipped good wine. Jim and Jean were inseparable, and each supported one another’s passions as their own.
Jean was passionate about everything she did. Her insatiable reading, gardening, love of nature, music and art filled the home with warmth and energy. Her love of games showcased her competitive spirit. She was always “the one to beat” in her favorite games–Mahjong, Bridge and family Scrabble nights. Most recently, Wordle wars with her daughters and grandchildren were fierce!
Her family and friends will miss her greatly.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be given to Indian Creek Nature Center, Waypoint, or Mercy Medical Center Foundation.
There will be a private funeral service to celebrate Jean’s life at the Tinker Family Cemetery in Butler, Pa.