Jean (Pentico) McNamer, 83, passed away peacefully at home in Rowena, Ore., on Feb. 27, 2011. Born in San Rafael, Calif., Jean moved to Chico in 1948 with her two children, Dennis and Patricia Wheat, where she raised them as a single parent for 12 years while working at Diamond Match Factory.
She remarried to Harold Pentico in 1958, giving birth to a third child, Sandy Pentico, and was widowed in 1966. She resumed single parenting her youngest daughter, Sandy, until meeting and marrying Russell McNamer in 1975, and so began Jean and Russell's 36 wonderful, loving years together.
Their first five years were spent in Northern California, eventually settling into their home in Forest Ranch for 23 years. In 2004 they moved to Rowena, Ore., overlooking the Columbia River and locating them within 18 miles of their daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Bill Railton.
Jean and Russell spent many hours taking long drives exploring the beauty of the Columbia Gorge and surrounding areas and meeting new friends at Eagles Lodge and the American Legion in The Dalles.
Jean was a quiet, shy, kind and unintrusive, gentle soul, and so to some she went unnoticed. But to her family and friends who had the privilege to know and be nurtured and loved by her, she was the true essence of a woman.
She could light up a room with her grace and beauty, her sweet smile and soft voice, and the sparkle in her beautiful brown eyes. Her priorities and devotion were always to her family and close friends, staying in touch with and survived by her lifetime Chico, Calif., friend, Jackie Beatty.
Jean always took immense pride in being a homemaker and dedicated most of her time to being a wonderful wife, mother and Nana to her seven grandchildren.
During the many years she lived in Chico and Forest Ranch she found hours of joy working in her vegetable and flower gardens, developing a special passion for growing a wide variety of irises. She also had a gift and passion for playing the piano.
She attended Butte Community College during her early 40s, valuing the opportunity to continue her education that was cut short in her youth. Jean enjoyed writing, taking after her father, Eric Barker, who was a renowned poet laureate of Big Sur, Calif.
Together and inseparable, Jean and Russell enjoyed a sweet and loving marriage, admired by all who knew them. They enjoyed the outdoors and loved to camp and take long road trips and cruise ship adventures.
Jean is survived by her husband, Russell McNamer; a son, Dennis Wheat, and daughter-in-law, Lois Wheat, of Muldrow, Okla.; daughters Patricia Railton and son-in-law Bill Railton, of Hood River, Ore., and Sandy Pentico, of Spokane Valley, Wash.; stepson and daughter-in-law Rick and Nancy McNamer, of Yuba City, Calif.; stepdaughter Donna Hill, of Loomis, Calif.; seven grandchildren: Sean Curran, Travis and Lori Wheat and Michael, Kaitlyn, Rachel Sue, and Joe Pentico; and four great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, April 2, at the American Legion, 201 E. Second St., The Dalles, from 5-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Providence Hospice of the Gorge, 1630 Woods Court, Hood River, OR 97031, or to a hospice of your choice.
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