With faith in God’s love and grace, the children of Jean Arlene (Downey) Garrett announce her peaceful passing, age 85, on January 30, 2021 at her home in Logsden, Ore. Mom suffered a heart attack in April 2020 and in the weeks between Christmas Eve and her death, she had steadily withdrawn from this world and turned towards the next.
Jean was born in Siletz on June 27, 1935 to Mae (Adams) and Roy Downey. She was the middle daughter of 13 children and was raised on the small family farm on Logsden Road. She married her sweetheart Homer Garrett on May 14, 1954 at the Assembly of God Church in Newport and celebrated 59 years of marriage before he passed in 2013.
Mom was an exceptional cook, caregiver, and homemaker. She worked hard to keep a beautiful home and yard and equally hard for lucky employers. Early part-time and seasonal jobs included laundress, motel room cleaner, crab shaker at Newport Shrimp Company, assistant cook at Newport Junior and Senior high schools, and later full-time cafeteria assistant cook at Pacific Communities Hospital. Mom retired several times but couldn’t stay retired. She earned the nickname “Mean Jean” while working security, first at “The Tent” for Chinook Winds Casino Resort and then in the Siletz community for the Siletz Tribe.
Once truly retired, Jean stayed busy quilting, crocheting, gardening, and feeding the backyard birds. She would drop everything to babysit the grandchildren. Mom’s experience in food service was a valued talent in retirement. She was an Elder WEX worker and then volunteer with Meals on Wheels at the Siletz Community Center and helped prepare meals for many family and community funerals.
Jean was an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and grateful for the healthcare, housing, and employment programs. She always wanted to give back and served many years on the Enrollment committee, Health committee, and Siletz Tribal Elders Council.
Mom embraced 12-step recovery for the last 27 years of her life. She participated in adoption of the mission and vision for the Tribe’s TLC program and volunteered with other women in recovery to establish a safe, drug-free transitional home in Siletz.
Jean is survived by her son Randolph Garrett and wife Rachelle of Lincoln City and daughters Denise Garrett and Amy Garrett of Logsden; grandchildren Keith Garrett, Kymber Walker and husband Sage, Brandon Larrabee, Jason Lewis and wife Caitlin, Maranda Garrett, Matt Garrett, Luke Garrett, Sam Anderson, Grant Wilson, Mack Wilson and partner Shannon Jackson, and 12 great-grandchildren. She is survived by sisters Blanch Downey Tyler and Charlotte Noble of Siletz, and brother Thomas Downey of Newport. She was preceded in death by her husband Homer Gean (HG) Garrett, parents Mae and Roy Downey, sisters JoAnn Miller, Ila Hoiness, Deanna Howell, and Martha McMahon, brothers Melvin Downey, Roy Downey, Jr., and Peter Downey, and half-siblings Genevieve (Mickey) Gavin and Kenneth Blacketer.
We are forever grateful for the love and prayers of family, friends, and community during the past year and for the kindness and support of Nurse Laura of Samaritan Evergreen Hospice
Mom hoped to see the groundbreaking for a Siletz tribal museum in her lifetime. A hard-working group of tribal and community members are actively fundraising for the museum. Jean’s children would be honored to have memorial donations directed to the Siletz Tribal Arts and Heritage Society. PO Box 8, Siletz, OR 97380.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!” – Henry Van Dyke, 1852-1933