Jean (Betty) McDonald Zwiebel

Jean Zweibel

Jean Zweibel

Jean (Betty) McDonald Zwiebel, a  granddaughter of Seattle pioneers, was born in Seattle on August 29, 1916 and passed away on May 3, 2009 at age 92 surrounded by her loving family.

Jean’s grandfather helped rebuild Seattle after his arrival the day after the Seattle fire in 1899.  Jean attended Queen Anne High School and graduated from the University of Washington in 1936, where she was a Kappa Alpha Theta sorority member, gaining many lifelong friends.

Jean was always active in outdoor activities from an early age.   She learned to figure skate when she was in high school and choreographed and danced with her ice skating partner for many years in local skating shows.   She was also an avid skier and hiker, enjoying both Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.  She and friends used to hike up to Mount Rainier’s Paradise Inn often,  where she had a cabin nearby.  They would often have to tunnel in to it as there was so much snow.  Then they would ski down to Narada Falls and hike back up on skins.    She also used  to row from the Seward Park area to a little family cabin on the banks of wooded Mercer Island for short vacations.  She married the love of her life, Gordon in 1940 after he set out to capture her heart by building a sailboat and becoming a charter member of Seattle Yacht Club.  They enjoyed many years sailing the San Juans and intercoastal waters up North and on the Mediterranean aboard the Alotola.  They loved to travel the world, and entertain family and their many friends with their films and stories.    They passed on their love of skiing and boating to their children with family ski trips and by spending summers on the water at their Indianola cabin and later Whidbey Island.  She and Gordie celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Sun Valley together with all their family.  He passed away shortly after their 61st in 2001.

Mom and Dad at Taj Mahal

Mom and Dad at Taj Mahal

Mom on Sailboat 1942

Mom on Sailboat 1942

After Gordon’s death, Jean continued to live in Redmond’s Emerald Heights Retirement community where they had lived after they sold their Windermere home in 1994. She continued to play golf in her mid-80’s at Broadmoor, and enjoy the family beach place she and Gordon built on Whidbey Island.  She was active for many years in her Children’s Orthopedic Guild (Charles B. Ford), her Theta sorority, Bridge Club, Garden Club, Women’s University Club, Ancient Skiers and the U of W. Alumni Club.

Jean’s family was very dear to her and she will be sorely missed.  She was preceded in death by her husband Gordon in 2001 and her son Richard in 1996. She is survived by two sons Donald and wife Marylynne, Robert and wife Sharon Nichols and daughter Susan and husband Joe Wishcamper, seven grandchildren: Jennifer Zwiebel-Henninger and husband Erich, Robert and wife Lydia, Brian and wife Rebecca, Andrew and wife Katie, and Kelsey and Stephanie Zwiebel, and Jonathan Wishcamper.  She has 3 great-grandchildren Camaryn & Griffin Zwiebel-Henninger (Jennifer), Madeleine  Zwiebel  (Brian), and another on the way(Andrew ).  She also leaves her cousin Margaret Pontius who currently lives in Tennessee.

At her request, a private family service will be held.  Remembrances may be made to: Children’s Hospital Foundation, PO Box 50020/S200, Seattle, WA 98145-5020 or to Evergreen Hospice,c/o Evergreen Healthcare Foundation,  12040 NE 128th St., MS#5,  Kirkland, WA  98034-3013

4 Responses to “Jean (Betty) McDonald Zwiebel”

  • Bobbie & Ben Smith says:

    We’re so glad we had a short visit with you not long ago. You were my golfing buddy and jigsaw player friend on Whidby when we visited. Loved you Jean and loved being with you and Gordy on Maui. Bobbie

  • Trudy and Harold Stack says:

    Jean was a close friend for so many years. We enjoyed mutual friends and neighbors. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she shared her passion for travel with us. Our trips were adventures and I envied the way she was eager to make albums of each one. My photos are still in boxes !! Farewell Jean – we will miss you.

    Trudy and Harold

  • Molly, Jerry, and Jeff Walton says:

    We, as a Windermere family, remember so fondly our relationship with all your family members. Our Dad, Ernie, was a man of few social relationships outside of his work, just really valued his friendship with Gordon, and our Mom, Joanie, the same with Jean. We are sadden to learn of your last parent’s passing. Ernie passed away in 1984 and Joanie, passed on 20 years later, in 2004 at age 90. We are gratified to have had her with us into her 90th decade. We had been pushing her to make 100. She was so full of life and exuberance always. The Windermere days are remembered with fondness. But now we keep their memory alive by preserving the family legacy at Dabob Bay on Hood Canal like other families there such as the Bob Montgomerys at Camp Harmony, and John Laughlin and Dan Evans families over near Quilcene among others we bump into. Our thoughts are with you in remembrance of your parents.

  • Susan Wishcamper says:

    Thank you Bobbie and Ben, Trudy and Harold and Molly, Jerry and Jeff Walton for your comments. It brings back a lot of fun memories of special times and people. Mom was so fond of all of you. We had mom’s ashes spread over Useless Bay out in front of the beach house that she and dad loved so much and were all there for a final goodbye to her. Blessings to you and your families.

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