Jerina A. Minahan

image of Jerina A. Minahan

Jerina A. Minahan

Jerina A. Minahan passed away on October 7, 2020 at the age of eighty-four.  She was born on May 19, 1936 to Charles H. Riley and Frances Lucille (Auker) Riley.  The Puget Sound area was her home for most of her life, and was always home in her heart.  When she could see the Olympic Mountains on one side of her and the Cascade Mountains on the other, she knew she was where she belonged.

Seattle was the place of her birth and residence of youth.  But, some of her fondest childhood memories were the vacations her family took to their summer cabin in Suquamish that featured a wood burning cook stove in the living area, and a family of skunks in the crawl space.  Just yards away from the cabin, she walked the beach and breathed the salt air of Puget Sound.

Jerina attended Bagley Elementary School, and joined a Campfire Girl group, developing friendships with “the girls” that lasted all her life.

Jerina met her first husband, Warren Bean, while attending the University of Washington.  She married Warren on September 8, 1956, and in little more than a year gave birth to her first son, Duncan.  During the first few years of marriage, Jerina worked clerical jobs.  However, she became a fulltime homemaker not long after her husband was hired at Boeing.

In 1963, her husband’s Boeing job took her to New Orleans, Louisiana.  The heat and humidity of the South was difficult for her to bear, and she longed for the Pacific Northwest.

Jerina moved back to the Seattle area for good in 1967. That year, she obtained a divorce, and was informed by a mutual friend that her high school sweetheart had also been recently released from his nuptials.

Michael I. Minahan and Jerina originally met as teenagers through a square dancing group that her father organized.  They had dated after getting to know each other through a few “allemande lefts,” and “do-si-dos,” but did not continue the relationship despite their fondness for each other.

In 1968 they picked up the relationship again, and were married on May 29th of that year.  Before this marriage, it was clear to Jerina that she and Duncan were a duo.  Jerina’s condition for accepting Mike’s marriage proposal was that Duncan gave his approval, which was easily purchased with the promise of the acquisition of a family puppy.  Always true to her word, a puppy was joined to the family by midsummer.

Domestic cats were dear to Jerina’s heart, having had at least one in house since she was a child, but a dog was something new.  An automobile’s collision with the puppy necessitated Jerina’s tender nursing care, and a strong bond was formed between nurturer and canine.  Ever since then, she has loved dogs, and has taken on at least one as a pet during most of her remaining life.

More important to her than any dog was the birth of her second son, Michael R. Minahan in 1970.  Jerina would attest that her two sons differed in many ways, and required different parenting approaches, but she loved them both very deeply, and never gave the slightest hint of favoritism.  Although she felt that she was not a perfect mother, she was exemplary in teaching her “boys” love, honesty, empathy, goodness, and right.

Jerina lived practically, sought to make informed decisions, and was far from whimsical.  However, she had an imagination, and an urge for creativity that drew her to crafts and the visual arts.  To fulfill her need to create, she focused on home décor.  Early in her married life, she made a coffee table out of plywood, and sewed geometric, primary colored furniture pillows.  Holiday decorations from her hands increased through time, and adorned the houses that she made homes.  Macramé, batik, and decoupage were artistic crafts that Jerina enthusiastically learned and experimented with resulting in decorations for her houses, and gifts for friends and family.

The talents that Jerina developed did not stop there.  She was outstanding at cooking what she called “Midwest food,” and took great pride in preparing her family’s meals.  Inspired by her second husband’s Norwegian heritage, Jerina worked at developing the skills to bake Krumkaker cookies and Swedish Rosettes until she had them perfected.  Although she didn’t consider herself a seamstress, she knew her way around a sewing machine.  She could also, knit and crochet.  She made afghans for her children and their spouses, and later for her grandchildren, and their spouses.  She had an eye for form, pattern, texture, and color, and used it whenever she could.

Before her second, and final divorce in 1992, Jerina went back to college to study textile design.  She bought a portable loom, and learned the ins and outs of warp and weft.  She ran out of steam, however, and did not complete the textile design program.  It was a tough time in her life, and she diverted her energies into working at Puget Sound Power and Light.  There, she made more friends, known as “The Call Girls” because of the customer calling that the group performed for Puget Power.

Jerina had an outgoing, and engaging personality.  She made friends easily, but was discerning of character, and thereby was selective with whom she maintained associations.  She was open minded with people she did not know, but for the long term, one had to earn her trust.  Those she claimed as close friends were very dear to her, she was deeply loyal to them, and she took pains to keep in touch with them.

Jerina had broad interests, and an inquisitive mind.  She was curious about religions, and passionate about civics.  Her interest in cultures and history took her to England, Ireland, Italy, and Australia.

Jerina was preceded in death by her brother Mark Riley, and both of her parents.  She is survived by her sister Jan Moser and brother-in-law Dale Moser, her two sons previously mentioned and their wives Marilyn Bean, and Olga Volgin, her grand children, Elliott Bean, Angela (Bean) Roothoff, and Mira Minahan, her great granddaughter, Kennedy Roothoff, and her nieces, Marsha (Riley) Zimmerman, Laura (Moser) Land, and Lynn (Moser) Medutis.

A date for a memorial service has not been planned.  However, any desired memorial donations may be made in Jerina’s name to a local animal shelter, the Humane Society, or to Public Broadcasting Service.

4 Responses to “Jerina A. Minahan”

  • Lynnet Auker Keihl says:

    Jerina, a dearly loved cousin who brought joy to my life. Heartfelt sympathy to all her family. With love, Lynnet

  • Darlene Pawlak Dihel says:

    What a beautiful thoughtful piece you wrote about my beautiful cousin, Jerina. I can only add that I will
    miss her dearly and wish I could have visited her this
    past year. My heart goes out to everyone in the family who were all special to her as she was surely a special
    person to all of us in the family as well as the many
    friends she had. I’m going through my photo albums and
    enjoying the many pictures of Jerina I’ve found through the years. Mom and Dad had so many family parties at their house in Maple Valley celebrating Jackie, Jerina, and my birthday as well as the Seafair
    races. Each year we got older and the kids kept growing
    up. “Time marches on” as Mom used to say.
    Best wishes for all of our hearts to mend.
    Love, Darlene

  • Sara K says:

    Jerina was an absolute delight. I was so honored to have met her in her later years. She was so knowledgeable about different things and I especially enjoyed our conversations about histories of different country’s. She was friendly, welcoming and great company. I will miss her a lot

  • Marsha Zimmerman says:

    I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since her passing. I still miss her. Long telephone chats about the world.

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