Jean J. Isaak, 87, peacefully passed away in her sleep on Saturday, July 13.
Jean was born Aug 22, 1931, in Atwood, Colorado, to George Lauer and Alexia “Rex” Werth Lauer, joining her older siblings, Louise & Verne. After a few years in Colorado, her mom gathered up the three kids and moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. Rex later married Gus Johnson and Jean gained brothers, Edward and Larry; and sisters, Pat and Carolyn. Gus adopted Jean, Louise and Verne. The Johnson family farmed in Moore, Idaho for awhile, then settled in Rupert, Idaho, where Jean’s youngest sister, Bennie, was born a few years later. Jean graduated from Rupert High School in 1949. She married James H “Jim” Isaak on August 28, 1949. They lived in Rupert; Moran, Wyoming; and Palisades, Idaho for the next ten years, and daughters, Mary Alexia, Cindy Lee, and son, James “Bo” were born during this time. They moved back to Rupert in 1960.
Jean and the family were active in fishing, hunting, camping, water skiing, little league sports, Masons, and Eastern Star. Jean worked at several stores through the years, including Reeve’s Market, Roper’s Clothing Store, Miracle’s Market, CAL Ranch, and Prices Café.
When Jim & Jean became ‘empty nesters’, they purchased an acreage nearby, in Acequia, and started a small operation of raising registered Brangus cattle. Their grandchildren have many fond memories of times staying with “M-Bear” and “P-Bear” and exploring the country neighborhood. Unfortunately, Jim had several heart attacks and passed away on Jan 1, 1986. Jean sold the cows and acreage and moved to Paul, Idaho. For the next 20 years, she was active in Eastern Star and being a grandkid-spoiling Granny to her six grandchildren – as well as any other kids she knew. She and several other widows became very close ‘family’, calling themselves the ‘Golden Girls’. The Golden Girls frequently met for meals, and trips to Jackpot to double their money. With Jean’s passing, Elaine Lamun is the last dear Golden Girl, and Jean’s family is forever grateful to the devoted friendship Jean, Elaine and the others shared. Also, Jean and a number of local RHS Classmates called themselves the ‘Forty-Niners’ and they got together for lunches several times a year and she greatly enjoyed their friendship and support. She loved playing pinochle and bridge, and frequently met with friends to play cards at the Rupert Elks lodge.
Her life changed permanently on Sept 25, 2008, when she was in an automobile accident while going home from a bridge party. With limited recovery from the wreck, she could not continue to live alone, and she spent her last ten years living in assisted living at Highland Estates, Autumn Haven, and Parke View care centers. She received excellent loving care at all three facilities and the family can’t thank the staff enough at each of the care centers. Anyone who knew her knows she can be a sweetheart or ‘challenging’. She only escaped once in 10 years, but she was caught many times during attempts to do so.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, Gus and Rex Johnson; her husband, Jim (1986); daughters, Mary (1970) and Cindy (1995); brothers, Edward, Larry and Verne Johnson; and sisters, Pat Gutwein, and Carolyn Payne.
She is survived by her sisters, Louise (Neil) Schmitt of West Richland, Washington, and Bennie (Robert) Asson of Las Vegas, Nevada; son, James “Bo” (Vicki) Isaak of Burley; son-in-law, Mike Lee of Utah; six grandchildren, Chad (Jen) Lee of Utah, Michelle (Cory) Short of Utah, Russ (Darlene) Isaak of Buhl, Emily (Brent) Suchan of Boise, Cassie (Adam) Warr of Boise, and Angie (Broden) Matthews of Oakley; twelve great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nephews and nieces.
The funeral was held on 11 a.m. Monday, July 22, at Ebenezer Congregational Church, 129 N. 2nd W., in Paul, with the Rev. John Downs officiating. Burial will be in Paul Cemetery.