Jean M. Greb

Aug. 18, 1918 - Sept. 20, 2008

Jean Margaret Greb, a longtime resident of Waukesha, died Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, at age 90. She was born Aug. 18, 1918, in Beloit, the oldest daughter of Ewart Owen E.O. Evans and Gladys Margaret (Clifford) Evans.

Jean was the granddaughter of Evan C. and Elizabeth (Williams) Evans of Genesee Depot, who were original Welsh settlers of Waukesha County. Jean graduated from Monroe High School where her father served as superintendent. While in school in Monroe, she was editor of the junior high newspaper, features editor of the high school newspaper and editor of the Monroe High School bulletin that won state awards. She participated in numerous high school plays and musicals and sang stage and theater solos. She spent many weekend evenings at dances enjoying Big Band music, ballroom dancing and the fox trot with a large group of friends.

Jean was an English major at Carroll College, where she was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, the National English Society, the Glee Club, the Journalism Club, the House Council and the Dramatics Club. She also sang in musical productions and a quartet and was editor of the colleges newspaper, The Echo, for two years. In 1940, Jean graduated from Carroll College cum laude and with a journalism award. Later, she was inducted into the Golden Pioneers.

Jean was a career woman who dreamed of being a newspaper reporter. She secured her first professional job for $115 per month as a high school English teacher, school newspaper adviser and library manager in Columbus. Jean later developed shorthand and legal secretarial skills at Prospect Hall Secretarial School on the east side of Milwaukee. While living in Milwaukee, she held positions in the advertising departments of the Cleaver Brook Company and Ampco Metal, where she also worked on an advertising magazine. Jean particularly enjoyed her position with The Heil Company, where she was editor of the weekly newspaper and a monthly magazine. She was secretary of the Editors Association of Wisconsin. Local magazine entrepreneurs invited Jean to join the startup editorial staff of a new magazine, Ideals, but instead, she decided to put her career on hold to marry and start a family. She married her Carroll College sweetheart, Russell Jack Greb in 1945.

During World War II, Jean was editor of the Carroll College Alumni bulletin for three years and later served as secretary to the registrar. After becoming the mother of three, she returned to part-time secretarial work. For many years, she worked as a secretary in the downtown Waukesha Clark Building, first for businessman Herman Salen and then as a legal secretary for her husband, Jack Greb, who was a Waukesha attorney and city attorney. Years later, Jean returned to her alma mater, Carroll College, as alumni secretary. Her final place of employment was with the Waukesha School District in the Lindholm Building, where she worked for 13 years as a secretary in the library department until her retirement at age 70.

Throughout her years in Waukesha, Jean was very social and enjoyed many friends and activities. She was an active community volunteer and a member of numerous clubs and organizations in the Waukesha area, including the Welsh Womens Club, Eastern Star, Senior Songsters and Senior Band. She served as regent and past treasurer of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and was an enthusiastic genealogist who was especially proud of her Welsh heritage. Jean began attending the First Presbyterian Church in Waukesha when she was a Carroll College student and later became an active member there. During nearly 70 years at First Presbyterian Church, she held a number of positions including elder, deacon and session member for three years, Spiritual Life Committee member for six years, liturgist, greeter, fellowship hour director, volunteer in the church office and Sunday school pianist.

Jean loved music, especially the artists and songs of the Big Band era. Her favorite activity was playing the piano. She enjoyed playing as much as others enjoyed her popular, spirited playing. Jean learned to play the piano by ear at age 7, picked up a few tips from her musician cousin at age 11 and took piano lessons, but eventually returned to her own self-taught, by ear playing style when performing. After her retirement, Jean welcomed opportunities to play the piano for any function or event that needed her. She was singer and pianist for a senior citizen band that appeared at many local adult day care centers and senior housing facilities.

Jean was loved and will be sadly missed by her daughters, Lois Ann (Raymond L. Jr.) Hadley of Milton, Laura Jean (Thomas E.) Cherone of North Prairie and Lynn Ellen (Steven M.) Shulman of Waukesha; grandchildren, Andrew Marsh Stowe, Gretchen Alisa Garcia, Aimee Gae (Brian) Meyer, Evan Marie Cherone and Nicolas Riley Cherone; great-grandchildren, Maia, Sean, Alan, Glen, Lexi, Jacob, Lola, Dayle and Seraphina; great-great-grandchild, Kali Alyza; her sister, Ruth Nolan of Arlington Heights, Ill.; and many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, in 1988; her brother, Richard O. Evans; both of her parents; and an infant son.

Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the noon funeral service Thursday, Sept. 25, at First Presbyterian Church, 810 N. East Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186. Jean will be laid to rest alongside her husband at Prairie Home Cemetery at a later date.

Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to First Presbyterian Church (address above).

For further information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral, Cremation and Preplanning Services at 547-4035 or go to www.waukeshafunerals.com to leave an online tribute.