Susan Gerhart, Nederland. “Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.” ~Mitch Albom
The Nederland Community Library and the entire Nederland community are mourning the loss of Jean Foss who died last Saturday.
Jean was a beautiful woman. She was beautiful outside and inside. She was kind, generous of herself, and so very brave. She was my friend.
In her full life, Jean wore many hats, and she loved any occasion that called for wearing a hat from Ned’s Reds to high tea. She was a teacher, a volunteer, and friend to many. The roles she most cherished were wife to Bob whom she deeply loved, mother to Karin, and grandmother to Erin and Bria.
Jean was among those who started the library. She worked tirelessly to garner support for creating a district, and, subsequently, to build a permanent home for the library. She stood outside, in the early-morning dark, in a blizzard, handing out coffee and muffins to commuters to raise library awareness. She served on the library foundation board in many capacities including president. Every used book sale (where she fortified her co-workers with her tasty cookies), every library event, Jean was there to help. She helped plan the library’s anniversary celebration and personally hosted the party two weeks before she died.
Jean had a vast and personal knowledge of this area, its history, and its people – she knew everyone – which led to the creation of the “local” section of the library. She called on friends to give presentations at the library, and they came, gladly. Because Jean asked.
Because Jean asked, countless worthy local causes and events got the support they needed to continue their good work. Jean was a hard person to say “no” to, and few did.
She was a regular library user, too. She especially liked historical fiction, fantasies, and mysteries. She organized a Mystery Luncheon every year where the date, who would be there, and what would be served were all mysteries. Everyone came prepared the discuss their favorite crime books of the previous year. It was such fun.
Life handed Jean many physical challenges in the last few years. She faced them bravely and never gave up. She never uttered a word of self-pity. Her advice and support, freely given, were invaluable to those who faced similar challenges. In times of need, Jean’s first words were “how can I help?”
Jean was an extraordinary woman who gave so much to so many of us. She loved and was loved. She left us too soon, but she lived a life worth living, to all our benefits. We have lost a treasure, but we are so much better for having known Jean and having her in our lives.
Jean’s last words were “I want to go to the library.” She’s there. She will always be there.
There will be a Memorial Service for Jean at the Nederland Community Library, Sunday, February 14 at 2 PM. I will see you around the stacks there and then.