Jean Claire Vanard of Kent died July 5, 2017 at University Hospital Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, Ohio with her children at her side. She was born in Shadyside, Ohio, on March 10, 1932 to Regina Kilgore McVay and George K. McVay. She is preceded in death by her sister, Carol Heidelbach, and husband, Gene.
Jean moved to Kent in 1950 to study primary education at Kent State University, where she met her husband to be, Gene Vanard, on a blind date. They later eloped to begin a happy marriage until Gene's death in 1994.
Jean enjoyed working with young people. During her 31 years working with the Kent City School System, she met and befriended many students. Always active, she enjoyed gardening, picking berries, making jam, sewing, finding rarities at tag sales, and walking her dog four miles daily until the age of 84. Jean enjoyed welcoming newcomers to the neighborhood with her baked goods, and kept in touch with those who left the area.
An avid bridge player, Jean kept her mind sharp with games of Scrabble, daily crossword puzzles, and managing her investments. Reading brought her joy until her vision failed, and she continued to keep up with news and current events on the PBS News Hour. She taught Sunday school at the Kent United Church of Christ and later was a Deaconess, and volunteered at Robinson Memorial Hospital.
She is survived by her daughter Lisa Vanard, of Kent; son, Rex Vanard, and son-in-law, Alvin Jenkins, of Tucson, Arizona; young friend, Cory Broadwater of Kent; and dog, Hobo.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Jean's Life will be held at the Kent United Church of Christ, 1400 E Main St, Kent, OH on Saturday July 15 at 10:00 am. Jean requested that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Portage County Animal Protective League, or Kent Social Services.