SAN GABRIEL, Calif. -- Jean McNeal passed away at her home in San Gabriel, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009.
Jean, the daughter of Fred and Iva Irene (Mills) Barker, was born Oct. 30, 1916, in Atlantic, Iowa, and moved to Max, Neb., where she grew up and attended Max Rural Public School and graduated in 1934.
After graduation she worked in Tom Bacon's beauty shop in Trenton, Neb. She met her future husband, Archie Bowman in Trenton. They were married in California and to this union one child, Rod Bowman, was born.
Jean work for many years at the telephone company in Pasadena, Calif. Her second husband, Arthur McNeal also worked for the telephone company. They were married Oct. 30, 1959.
Her hobbies included sewing, crocheting, reading and writing poetry for all of her loved ones. A poem written for her son, won a Golden Poet award. A collection of poems and her history was compiled in book form called "My Treasures" and given to each family member.
Another love was lilacs, violets and all things purple, which earned her the nickname "Nana Purple" from her great-granddaughter "Nicole" Nichols.
sPurple was the theme at her Celebration of Life ceremony on Jan. 17, 2009, at her home in San Gabriel. Although she moved to California in 1936, she still considered Nebraska home.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Fred and Iva Irene Barker; her brother, Jack Barker; sister, Joann (Barker) Smith; two other brothers, Bill and Bob Barker; granddaughter, Bonnie Jean (Bowman) St. Rock; brother-in-law, Paul Barraclough; and sister-in-law, LaVada Barker
She is survived by her husband, Arthur McNeal of San Gabriel; son, Rod Bowman and wife, Angie of Trenton; sister, Marian Barraclough of North Platte; brother, Gary Barker and wife, Rose of North Platte, Neb.; brother-in-law, Jack Smith of Gandy, Neb.; grandson, Robert Bowman and wife, Lily of Beijing, China; granddaughter, Pam Magley and children, Brandon Salmeri and Amanda Magley of Tigard, Ore.; granddaughter, Nancy Nichols and husband, Kyle and children, Victoria Nicole and Christopher of Culbertson, Neb,; great-granddaughter, Jacqueline O'Neill and husband, David of Chino Hills, Calif.; cousins, Dorothy (Dean) Whaley of Trenton; Marjorie Miles of Stratton, Neb., and Derold Rickard of Max; Jerry Shaffer of Benkelman, Neb.; Rita and Carl Fallgren of Hacienda Heights, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews and friends.
By Jean McNeal
Memories are visions that are dear to my heart,
I'll share some with you, but where do I start.
My first pretty dolly my Mama made for me,
She placed it with love under our Christmas tree.
Granddad sharing his memories 'round a stove that burned wood,
He was a Blacksmith, wouldn't forget if I could.
Long stemmed violets grew by the old railroad track,
They were still wet with dew when I'd carry them back.
A syrup pail carried my lunch to school,
Those teachers were strict about the Golden Rule.
Homemade ice cream made out of snow,
To me it was better than store boughten I know.
Oh! The thrill of my first date,
Daddy shaking a finger saying "Better not be late."
Grandma's fresh bread she'd give me both heels,
Family gatherings and those home cooked meals.
Mama made what I wore from my bloomers on down,
We were poor, but I felt the best dressed in town.
Picnics under the old cottonwood trees,
Brothers' and Sisters' laughter on the summer breeze.
The thrill of seeing my newborn son,
Stands out in my memory as the very best one.