Antique Vintage 05

Jeanne Garrett

October 25, 1921 ~ June 11, 2022 (age 100)


One hundred years and eight months ago, in a farmhouse in Enfield Illinois, an angel, disguised as our mother Emma (don’t call her Emma) Jeanne Nelson Gouvea Garrett, was born. October 25, 1921 happily brought the first daughter born in her family. She passed peacefully on June 11, 2022, surrounded by family, after receiving many visits from her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and dear friends in her final days. She would have wanted it no other way, calm and elegant till the end…
Her early years were spent in Enfield, IL until a better opportunity to farm led the family to move to New Harmony, IN when she was 5 years old. This is where the family put down permanent roots. Her parents made a life tilling the land and raising their large brood of 6 children. It turned out to be an occupation that served them well during the Depression years. Education was important, especially to her mother, who made sure that all of her children graduated from High School. While in High School Jeanne’s interests centered on bookkeeping and Home Economics. She became interested in fashion, creating her own dresses. Her teachers always looked forward to her hairstyles that changed daily. Graduating in 1939, Hollywood came calling and fortunately her wise parents said “no, not our daughter!” Living through the depression years taught Jeanne important lessons, primarily how to do without, and that even when you don’t have much it’s important to share what you do have with family members who are less fortunate than you.
During Jeanne’s High School years she formed lifelong friendships, maintaining them until the deaths of her special friends. This was a pattern she would maintain her entire life. After High School she went to work at a local bank, and was stunned when people working on the war effort began bringing in checks four times her monthly wage. She promptly quit her job and found work as a Rosie the Riveter in Evansville IN. She worked for the fly boys by riveting the tail sections of the P-47 Thunderbolt starting in1942. Later she moved out to California at a friend’s suggestion and continued working on planes, this time repairing them on the tarmac until the end of the war. A highlight of her time at Hamilton Field was the day President Harry S Truman drove by in an open Jeep, waving to them as he passed. During that time her brothers were all fighting for their country, one as a pilot, one deployed to Burma, and one working as a recruiter. In addition her middle sister worked at the shipyards in Evansville. Their family certainly did their part, and they all came home!
The California life suited her, and even though the thought of working as a car hop made her nervous, she was hired in Petaluma CA at a new drive-in in 1945, and that job changed the course of her life. A man came back to her section more than once. One night he gave her a quarter and asked her to play a certain song on the juke box, but instead of giving him his change back she informed him that she used the rest of it to play her favorite song. He offered to give her a ride home, and four months later she married the charming Joe Gouvea, twelve years her senior, and inherited 3 bonus step-children. They were married for 58 years until his death in 2004. Since she married an outdoorsman, she embraced many of his interests; bowling, fly fishing, cards, accompanied him on hunting trips and enjoyed his family’s large gatherings.
The family moved to Chico CA in 1959 and she and Joe purchased and ran the Safari Motel, which was a 24 hour job, but allowed them to stretch their entrepreneurial wings. She went from being a housewife to being a full-time businesswoman. The motel allowed them to host many family members for memorable parties. After the motel was sold five years later Jeanne and Joe moved to Yuba City, CA, where life as a housewife and volunteer resumed for Jeanne.
They moved to Idaho for the first time after Yuba City, settling in Twin Falls for a number of years. They enjoyed their ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ style neighborhood, and one year our always sophisticated mother helped one of her neighbors by driving a potato truck with holes in the floorboards during the harvest that was late that year and short on farm help after school was back in session. We all wish we could have seen that! She and Joe spent some time in Reno while Joe worked for Bill Harrah, but they always returned to Idaho.
For three years Jeanne and Joe worked as outfitters at Loon Creek in the Frank Church Wilderness. Between hunting seasons we all were able to enjoy magical times without TV, phones and modern conveniences. Trail rides, fishing and hiking filled our days, always followed by a soak in the natural hot springs under what is now classified as an International Dark Sky Reserve as of 2017. The sky never failed to put on a show! One scary incident occurred when mom fell and shattered her ankle there, and Joe and their son Paul scrambled to get back to the cabin to check on her. According to Paul, Joe was running faster than the horse Paul was on. And that is surely love, especially since Joe was in his 60’s at the time!
Next on Jeanne and Joe’s list of ‘dream jobs’ was a stint working as caretakers for the Dreyfus Estate, known historically as Thunderbird Lodge outside of Incline Village, NV. Was it a lot of work for certain, but their seven years spent there were like something out of a fairy tale. Our entire family was allowed to enjoy the estate and grounds, and the memories of our visits there are etched in our hearts forever. Few people have enjoyed such privileges as we have, all because of the choices our parents made.
Idaho was calling Jeanne and Joe home again, and they settled in Boise, where their son Paul and family lived. It was an excellent decision. Jeanne became a widow in 2004, and she led a peaceful life playing pinochle with her friends, and enjoying family time and traveling to visit her California and Arizona daughters and extended family.
After several years of widowhood we received a phone call from mom, telling us about the ‘new man’ that she met playing cards at the Boise Senior Center. Truly she sounded like a teenager with her first crush… Things move quickly when you are in your 80’s and experiencing love again, and Mom and Duane Garrett were married in 2011. They had 5 happy years together until his death in 2016.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Golsten Nelson, her 5 siblings, Curt, Paul and Clifford Nelson, Martha Hornback, Helen Ruth Symanski and her two step children, Gary Gouvea and Gail Quick. She is survived by her children; Judy Gouvea (Ian Nyquist), Cathy Burford (William), Paul Gouvea (Dena), and daughter-in-law Mary Hite. She is also survived by her grandchildren Greg Gouvea (Janie) Brian Gouvea (Melissa) , Corinne Sawyer, Amy Truncale ( Michael), Brea Crager ( Hans), Nicole Gouvea (Mike Owens), Jenna Barrett (Michael), Allison Daniels (Chris), and Cori Gouvea (Carley Williams). She also has 16 great grandchildren! Let’s not forget her dear friend of many decades, Virginia Cole, and her sister in law Liz Nelson since 1945.
Jeanne loved many people, places and things in this life, but tops on her list are “the little ones”. Never a gossip, if you told her something in confidence it was safer with her than if it had been at Ft Knox. Her secret to leading a long and serene life:”If you can’t change something, don’t fret about it.”
Mom spent these last four years at Grace Assisted Living on Allumbaugh in Boise. We can’t say enough about the care she received, and it’s a testament to the relationships she formed there that her personal caregivers all had tears in their eyes as they saw her slipping away. We would like to especially thank Crystal, Shanna, Jolene, Ellen, Rita, Destiny and Obie for their compassionate care. All Care Health Solutions Hospice also deserves praise for helping all of us, we will always remember them.

A celebratory Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, August 20th, 2022 at 2pm at Cloverdale Funeral Home’s Event Center, 1200 N Cloverdale Rd. Boise, ID 83713.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Celebration Of Life
August 20, 2022

2:00 PM
Cloverdale Event Center
1200 N Cloverdale Rd.
Bosie, idaho 83713
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration Of Life begins

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