Jean Creta Barner was born on Aug. 29, 1939, in Tacoma, Washington, to Sydney Herbert and Edith Norene (Dooms) Gratton. She passed away Dec. 28, 2021, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while staying with family.
A lifetime resident of Centralia, Jean grew up riding bikes, playing street baseball and kick the can, exploring the Skookumchuck River and China Creek, and excelling in school. She was cheerleader at Centralia High School (class of 1957), attended Centralia Junior College and graduated with a degree in education from Saint Martin’s University, Lacey, Washington. For three decades, she taught first and third grades at Edison Elementary School. She completed her master’s degree in education from Cambridge College in 1991.
Following retirement, Jean enjoyed a variety of activities and hobbies. She quilted with her sisters and friends, aced crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, gardened and played card games with family and friends (31, Canasta, and Hand and Foot were favorites). To her grandchildren, she was anointed the Sports Grandma for her diehard devotion to athletic competitions, especially baseball, tennis and basketball. She could be heard yelling loudly from the stands as she proudly watched them excel in sports, poms and cheerleading. She cheered on her beloved Seattle Mariners, and was a big fan of Mariner outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Ken Griffey, Jr. She made it to Omaha, Nebraska, to cheer on student athletes at the baseball College World Series, and was thrilled to attend the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, Flushing Meadows, New York, to witness Andre Agassi’s final match of his professional career in 2006. Jean was part of his four-minute standing ovation!
Travel took her to 47 of the United States, as well as Europe, Korea and China. Whether it was viewing the Grand Canyon, climbing the Great Wall, walking the beaches of Hilton Head Island or touring the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, Jean was always ready for another adventure. Her recent visit to the mountains was to explore the next chapter in her life with the Colorado branch of the Barner clan. Even at 82, she was open to a new experience.
When not working tirelessly in her yard or stitching up a beautiful quilt, you might have found her in many other pursuits. She loved roller coasters, motorcycle riding on the L.A. freeway, white water rafting on the American River, and enjoying the rapids on Oregon’s Deschutes River. She celebrated her 50th birthday in 1989 skydiving with her daughter Kelli.
Jean was an officer for the Lewis County Retired Teachers Association and raised funds as a member of the CHS Class of ’57 Scholarship Fund program. She was a docent at Centralia’s historical Borst Home and one-room schoolhouse, using her teaching skills to share Washington history with the public.
Jean supported her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with encouragement, advocacy and love. She will be missed and mourned more than she could ever imagine.
Jean is preceded in death by her parents Syd and Norene, sisters Shirley Knapp and Linda Kellogg, and numerous aunts and uncles. She is survived by her sister Delores Cantellay, and her three children, Kelli Barner-Lane (Meredith), Ross Barner (Kristen) and Benjamin Barner (Andrea). She is also survived by her wonderful grandchildren Britton Barner (Alexandra), Ellen May (Keith), Kate Barner, Brooke Barner, Brady Barner, Tobias Barner-Lane, great-grandson Kennedy May, and-great granddaughter Hannah Jean May who arrived June 2021. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.
flIn lieu of flowers, Jean’s family suggests that when you attend or tune into your favorite sports programs — whether it be a Mariners’ game, the U.S. Open, the College World Series, or your local high school varsity match, you will think of her.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at the Lewis and Clark Hotel in Centralia on Feb. 12, 2022, starting at 1 p.m.