Jean Cherry Nelson found peace on May 27, 2022. Jean was born to Agnes and Oscar Cherry in 1932 in Edison Park, Illinois. She married Philip Nelson in 1954, and they had 54 ½ years together before his passing in 2009. She is survived by 3 daughters, Barbara (Jack) Dinkelman, Cheryl (Steve) Tengren, Linda (Andy Lifson); grandchildren Dan Dinkelman, Rya & John Tengren, Anna Lifson, C and Holly Nelson-Lifson; and great-grandchildren Destiny, Devin, Britney, Jayda, Nyko, Tianna and Tegan. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister Ruth and brother Roy, as well as granddaughter Kara. She was cherished by many other relatives and friends.
Jean wasn’t able to pronounce her full name, Jean Elizabeth Cherry, when she was a young girl, so she called herself Dean Yap Torry, a nickname some of her grandchildren still fondly called her.
She attended North Park High School and Junior College before earning a degree in Education from Northwestern University. Jean taught 2nd grade at Fairview Elementary in Skokie, IL, before she had her children. Jean and Phil raised their daughters and howling beagle, George, in Arlington Heights, IL. They moved to Matteson, IL in 1971. Jean also taught nursery school and kindergarten in the south suburbs of Illinois.
In 1979, Jean and Phil relocated to Elm Grove, Wisconsin. Jean worked in the office of Wauwatosa East High School. They became very active in the Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church, where they made life-long friends and offered their service. She was a member of P.E.O. and United Methodist Women. She and Phil also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, making jello buckets and sandwiches for the workers.
Jean and Phil loved time with family and friends. They were eager travelers, loving Elder Hostels in the US, visiting Europe and Hawaii. They did many of their trips with the “traveling Weatherbys” and the Radkes. They also traveled with friends from church and loved taking their grandchildren to Grandparents’ Camp.
Jean was an enthusiastic piano player, seamstress, quilter, knitter, and an avid reader. She was happy when her piano of many years was donated to a family with two children who were learning to play. She also taught her daughters to play piano at a young age and instilled in them a love of music.
Even as she battled health issues for the last few years, she always thought of others first. It was this loving and giving nature that earned her the family nicknames of “Saint Jean” and “Princess Grace”. She faithfully remembered birthdays, anniversaries and sent many Christmas cards, which will be greatly missed.
Jean Nelson did not judge, and loved her family unconditionally. She was a true Christian—-did not wear it on her sleeve, but lived it in her love, forgiveness, volunteering, and charity to others.
A Gathering will be held on August 6, 2022 at the Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church, 1600 Underwood Ave, Wauwatosa, from 11 AM until the time of Jean’s Memorial Service at 12 Noon. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice.