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Jean Olive Stover

October 11, 1925 ~ June 2, 2017 (age 91)

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Jean Olive Stover died June 2, 2017 while a resident at Salem Hill Haven.  Jean was the daughter of the Harry and Olive Gilmore and the wife of Stanley Stover, all who preceded her in death.  Jean was the beloved sister to many brothers and sisters who preceded her in death leaving her to be the last of her immediate family.  Jean is survived by many nieces and nephews whose lives were enriched through her presence and example.  At the time of her death, Jean was 91 years old. 

 Jean was born on the family farm on the outskirts of Spring Mills, would spend her life as a resident of Spring Mills, and would die halfway between the two locations while at Salem Hill Haven.  Jean was a child of the Great Depression and the WW II Era.  She watched brothers, Stanley, and friends march off to war to save her way of life, with some returning and others lost in the war efforts.  It would be during those times that she learned the life lessons of conservation, outreach to neighbors, and appreciation for everyday pleasures.  These would be the guiding principles of her life supported by a strong faith in God.  Jean was never tethered to trends, fads, or passing styles.  She was self-defined, self-directing, and self-determined.  Her life experiences were tied to the ribbon of Route 45, running through the bountiful fields, flanked by wildlife and mountains of Penns Valley.  This environment was observed and appreciated by Jean each day.  There were few nooks that she had not explored.  Jean would describe any meal as a feast, if accompanied by a slice of fresh, white bread and creamy butter topping it.  Jean enjoyed working in her lawn, vegetable garden, and flower beds.  Many survival lessons were shared with family at butcherings, harvests, and shared work gatherings.

 In her youth, Jean worked with her family to run the family sheep farm.  She was described as having a trademark “pep in her step and a sideways grin”, as someone who could hang tough on the basketball court, and soccer field, and who would drive anything fast and furiously.  Jean would trade in her calico farm dress and driving horses and tractors, for a starched, white blouse and khakis to become the first female school bus driver for the Penns Valley Area.  Jean would spend the next 40 years delivering generations of children to Coburn, East Penn, Spring Mills, and Penns Valley Schools.  She found great joy as “the kids who rode her bus” would recognize her and share a story about a specific moment experienced on her bus.  There were few faces that she didn’t recognize, even into her later years.  At times, Jean would recall the story being shared from a different perspective than the person telling the story.  She always respected the innocence of youth and the wisdom that grew from reflection on childhood experiences.  Many children learned the importance of being on time, according to schedule, when the bus rolled on in route as they might have missed getting aboard.

 Jean’s life can be accurately described as stoic, disciplined, simple and quiet.  These terms are descript but do not communicate the wealth of her life in her honesty, generosity, kindness, and respect regarded to her by others.  Jean was meek and humble considering these attributes as strength of character to meet the celebrations and challenges of life.  Each chapter in the story of Jean’s life can be told as lessons for others to grow from and her unique story will continue to be told by those fortunate enough to be part of her life.

 At her request, services will be private with no public visitation and celebration of her life by family members at service and graveside.  Contributions in Jean’s memory may be given to Salem Hill Haven, 424 Heckman Cemetery Road, Spring Mills, PA 16875.  Jean’s family is forever grateful to Salem Hill personnel for the fellowship and care that enveloped her through her final years of life.  

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