Jean Maryann Yentzer, 86, passed away on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at Westview Health Care Center in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Jean was born November 8, 1926 in Sheridan, WY to Henry and Marie (Arp) Dau. She moved with her family to Yutan, NE in 1938. After graduation from high school in Yutan she returned to Sheridan and began work at Eaton’s Dude Ranch for the summer. She then went to Beauty School with Emma Byland and worked as a beautician at the Capital Beauty Shop. Later she worked for a time for Prudence Grunkmeyer at Vacation Land Studio retouching portrait photo negatives with pencils and coloring portraits by hand at a time before color film became prominent.
As a little girl of 6 years old she had her hip broken when she was trampled by a cow on the first day of school. She missed most of her first year of school while she recovered at home in traction. When she returned to the one room school house in April she used borrowed crutches from the Yentzer family. This is when she met a little teenage daredevil named Jack Yentzer, who would take his old crutches from her during recess to show the other boys how do stunts on them.
Three years after returning to Sheridan from Yutan she married her daredevil and aviator Jack Yentzer on Oct. 12 1949, instantly starting her role as mother to her step son, six year old Sandy Yentzer. She took flying lessons herself and was known to fly the Piper Cub by following a specified road on the ground while her husband took a nap in the plane.
Jean managed to keep her joy of flying and sense of adventure even though she was widowed after only 6 years of marriage when her husband was killed in a plane crash in 1955, and later losing her step-son Sandy in 1968 to an accident while flying a slurry bomber to fight forest fires in Alaska. She still very much enjoyed going for Sunday morning flights with her son Terry and her daughter Marcy in his Cessna 180.
She also enjoyed taking family summer vacations particularly after her kids grew up enough to help her drive. She explored the majority of the western states including one trip to Alaska and several trips to Canada. She also enjoyed her time at home by working in flower beds and working on ceramics and other craft projects with her daughter Marcy. She was always a great supporter of her children's activities, whatever they may be, from supporting 4-H and fair activities with her daughter and scouting for both of her boys in earlier days to being the Number One crew member for her son’s hot air ballooning activities.
She enjoyed the occasional balloon ride when the opportunity arose, but she never ever declined the chance to help set up the balloon, chase the darn thing across who knows where, to pick up the passengers and balloon at the end of the flight, no matter how early she had to get up in the morning.
Most importantly, she was a care giver all her life. Not just to her immediate family, but she would help friends with child care for example, or help look after the elderly parents of family friends, and providing meals to her brother-in-law before his passing.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Jack, baby Steven Henry, step son Sandy and younger brother Richard Dau. She is survived by her children Terry Yentzer and Marcy Yentzer, her older brother Gordon Dau, and younger sister Irene Jackson. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and their children.
A visitation will be from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at Kane Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Phil Wold officiating. Interment will be it the Sheridan Elks Cemetery. A reception will be held immediately following at the Trinity Lutheran Church.
Donations in her honor may be made to: Sheridan Area Search & Rescue, P. O. Box 993, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801 or Life Link of Sheridan County, P. O. Box 2095, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.