Jean Jenkins Rabon, 92, passed away on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at The Elmcroft Retirement Center in Texas City, Texas.
Born in Salford, Lancashire, England on June 25, 1927, Jean spent her early years in foster care. There were two educational routes open to children in England at that time. They went either to a secondary school to learn a skilled trade, or to grammar school in preparation for college or university. Being unable to afford grammar school, Jean learned the welding trade. The war effort and its subsequent boom in manufacturing created a high demand for welding, allowing Jean new opportunities to come into the workforce, traditionally dominated by men.
It was during this time, Jean was reunited with her mother, who worked at a local tavern. Often, after a full day of welding work, Jean would help her mother out at the tavern. On one such night, her life changed, when a handsome merchant marine with dark wavy hair walked through the door. A two-week courtship with Joe Rabon in 1947 led to marriage (and a union that lasted 43 years!)
Four years later, Jean immigrated to the U.S. by way of ship to be reunited with her husband. This journey marked the transition from one world to another, from industrial worker to wife and homemaker.
The term “homemaker” admits many interpretations, so it must be stated that Jean kept a home unlike any other. Being married to an Army Colonel, Jean knew how to run a tight ship. She taught her four sons how to keep their “quarters” clean and tidy, polish shoes, mend clothes and iron creases in their pants, cook, and help out around the house. She taught them that if they wanted the finer things in life, they would have to work for them. Like Jean, her sons began working at an early age.
Jean had a creative side that was expressed in her colorful crochet work and in the brightness of her gardens — no color was off limits. She loved playing bingo and won often. She enjoyed dancing, collecting dolls, and laughing with her best friends Lillie and Olivia.
Jean was a wonderful cook and often kept the family’s favorites — chicken mole, Spanish rice, tortillas, and potato salad — on hand for every occasion.
We want to tell her that we are proud of her, and proud to be of her. She taught us how to strike out on our own, and live life on our own terms, even if it meant finding ourselves traveling the path alone. She taught us how to stand up for ourselves even when we were outnumbered. She taught us how to recognize trade winds and how to tack our sails whenever the winds of opportunity blew our way. She taught us that love in your heart will give you the strength to cross an ocean. She taught us that without grit, there is no pearl.
Jean is preceded in death by her husband, Joe Rabon; mother, May Jenkins; father-in-law, Severino Rabon and mother-in-law Celia Salinas Rabon; brothers-in-law, Severino Rabon Jr. and John Gilbert Rabon; sister-in-law, Gloria Rabon; grandson, James Christopher Rabon; lifelong friends, Lillie Pedraza and Olivia Elizondo; and beloved Chihuahuas, Kingy and Pepe – all of Texas City.
She is survived by four sons James, Terrance, John, and Dennis; 9 grandchildren; Keith, Michael, Troy, Jason, Shawn, Caleb, Lyndsey, Jody, and Cody; and numerous great-grandchildren.
Family, friends, and others whose lives Jean touched are invited to Emken-Linton Funeral Home in Texas City, TX on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Mt Olivet Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Jean’s local animal shelter, Animal Resource Center 3412 25th N (Loop 197 N) Texas City, TX 77590.