Born on Memorial Day in Waldron, Kan., Jean was the third daughter of Iro Blaine Krider and Henrietta Frost. At age 10, Jean saw a newsreel of the Steamboat Winter Carnival and promised herself she would go to that magical place. A natural athlete with dreams of the Olympics, Jean held the unofficial Kansas high jump record of 5 feet, 5 inches. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl made lasting impressions on Jean and her family.
Jean met John Donaghy while playing bridge in Muskogee, Okla. Later, he went to Washington, D.C., to join the U.S. Army and Office of Strategic Services, now the CIA. In 1942, Jean joined John in D.C., and they married in Virginia. They relocated to Arlington, Texas, with GSA and raised two kids, John and Linda. Socially active, Jean played bridge, attended First Presbyterian Church and volunteered at a hospital.
The sudden death of John in the late 1960s convinced Jean to move. “Texas is just so hot!” she said. After spending several months at various Colorado resorts, Jean chose Steamboat because of the ranching community and new ski resort. She moved into the Rabbit Ears Motel, met longtime bridge friends, purchased a lot and participated in all aspects of building her mountain home. Jean managed the A-frame, Thunderhead and Stagecoach restaurants and worked at the Beckett drugs and liquor store.
Skiing was Jean’s passion. She skied almost every day, and she won a NASTAR bronze. She introduced her grandchildren to skiing at ages 2, 3 and 4. At 82, she discovered her ski boots were cracked and took it as a sign that her skiing days were over.
Jean was a competitive bridge player for many years, playing three times weekly and in a monthly marathon. She was a talented golfer, seamstress, weaver (spinning her own wool), pianist, singer and potter. She loved riding horses, her Honda 450 motorcycle and driving her 1969 Cougar. The ultimate people person, Jean visited every state and traveled the world — Asia, Norway, Europe, China, Russia and Australia — with her sister Kay and friends. She was a talented gardener and cook, famous for her secret green pepper jelly recipe. She took politics seriously, but always said the “pendulum swings.” She also was active in the United Methodist Church.
Jean shared her life with family, two children, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and countless friends. They’ll miss her endearing humor, sharp intellect, fun-loving spirit and zest for life. Modest, compassionate, unassuming and generous, Jean was most admired for her strength of character. We’ll remember “oh, lordy,” “my gussy,” “hecky darn” and “Let’s get ’um, Patty.”
Survivors include Linda D. Young, Garrett and Michelle Young, Brian and Denise Bettcher, Kelli Reese, Sue Donaghy, Brent and Christina Haworth, Bill and Denise Haworth, Kurt and Abby Pankau, Trudy Hinkle, Ron Phillips, Pam and Donovan Cahill, Margaret and Pat Rever, Chris Claborn, and George and Hazel Dennis.
Her family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Louise Thielen for her dedication to Jean and the staff of hospice and private certified nursing aides for their compassion. We appreciate Jean’s longtime friends and enthusiastic bridge players for their thoughtfulness and grace.
Memorial donations may be made to the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association hospice, American Heart Association or www.jillshouse.org.