Jean Lou Cheek
Jeanie was born to Clifton Oscar Smith and Dorothy Ellen Wright on December 6, 1937, in a log cabin in the Black Hills of Pennington County, South Dakota. Jeanie was the second of six girls of whom her Daddy said, "I wouldn't trade any of 'em for a million dollars, but I wouldn't give a plug nickel for another one."
She inherited her knowledge of cooking and homemaking from her mother, knew what good food tasted like, and more importantly understood and used the God-given power of food to bring people together.
Jeanie's hero was her Daddy, who in her words "could do anything he set his mind to" and was well respected by all who knew him and deeply treasured by his family.
Jeanie was a stellar student in school and graduated third in her class of 1955 from Saint Helens High School. She married Alvin Ray Cheek on August 19, 1958, and to them were born four children: Jody, Jenny, Julie, and Bill. In time they had eight grandchildren, and so far they have seven great-grandchildren.
Alvin and Jeanie made their family home in what her husband affectionately called the "Canaan Land" of Deer Island and what she called "our little house out on the hill." They raised livestock, grew and canned their own food, and proudly raised their babies.
The favor of the Lord, her brilliant personality, incredible intelligence, and her intense work ethic made her successful as a clerk for Grinell Company in Portland; a legal secretary for Hunnicutt & Smith, Attorneys at Law, co-manager of the family business of cleaning local banks, and her prolific career as a Purchasing Buyer for Boise Cascade Paper Mill in Saint Helens.
Her intellect, quick wit, ingenuity, kind heart, generosity, at times brutal honesty, and trove of wisdom made her a formidable force for good in her family and her community. She loved to worship the Lord and learn more about Him, read, play card games, travel, garden, eat, converse, work, discuss politics, crochet, and spend time with her family and friends.
In Oregon she was a member of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Saint Helens and was active in the Deer Island Grange. She relished her retirement in Wilmington, N.C. and was every bit as active in retirement as in her career years.
In North Carolina she was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. She spread God's love and message all over New Hanover County with her friend, Marilyn White as "The Sunshine Girls." She enthusiastically volunteered with the GRADS and won her fair share of pinochle games at the New Hanover County Senior Center.
Her greatest joy was being used by God to champion her family. Her hope was to see her descendants succeed as decent, honorable, hard-working, community-minded, patriotic citizens but most of all, be loving followers of Christ.
She will be treasured and remembered always.
She is survived by her sisters, Shirley (Gene) Tomanka, Marilyn (Doug) Putman; children, Jenny (David) Jones, Julie (Roy) Wheeler, Bill (Lorri) Cheek; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren (with two on the way); and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Jeanie was predeceased by her daddy and mamma, Clifton and Dorothy Smith; stepdad, Odin Lein; sisters, Jackie, Barbie and Judy; husband, Alvin Cheek; and daughter, Jody Cheek.
A Memorial Service for her will be held on Saturday March 7, 11 a.m., at the Columbia River Foursquare Church in St. Helens. A potluck luncheon will be held following the service at the church.
Memorial donations may be made to Doernbecher Hospital.