MISSOULA – Elizabeth Jean Graves Dinsmore passed away peacefully listening to Bach on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at Edgewood Vista in Missoula of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Jean was born in Henderson, Kentucky on April 19, 1923, to James Cleveland and Teressa Leary Graves. She grew up in Cleveland and Gralea Farm near Chardon, Ohio. She loved spending her summers with family in rural upstate New York.
Jean was proud of her education from Shaker High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Skidmore College, where she was an art major. She worked at a drafting company after graduation while awaiting the return of the love of her life, Army Capt. Robert E. Dinsmore from the Pacific Theater in WWII. Following the war, they married on May 11, 1946, in Chardon at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Their early years were spent in Kansas, where Bob attended Kansas University, and they had an extended honeymoon in “Sunflower Village”, which was a tarpaper postwar family housing complex.
After Bob’s graduation, they settled in northeastern Ohio in their family home with their children Jane and Jim. There, Jean completed her master’s in education. She taught first grade in Chardon until the family moved to East Aurora, NY where Jean completed her 25 years of teaching, before retiring to Montana.
She had a log home built on the side of Sugar Loaf looking up Lower Willow Creek. If there was a chill in the air, there was a fire in the wood stove.
She doted on her dog and cat, and took great joy in the bluebirds that nested behind her house. She braided beautiful rag rugs and painted a wall mural depicting Montana mountains in her hallway. Picnics with family and friends high in the mountains were joyful days and driving out over horrendous roads in her Jeep even at 80 years of age was a “piece of cake.”
Jean was a dedicated community volunteer. She spent fulfilling years reading with the children of Hall and Drummond Elementary Schools. She was a member of the Read and Feed Book Club at the Drummond Community Library, where she also shelved countless books. Jean and several Hall ladies became the self proclaimed Hall Beautification Committee planting lilacs, flowers and bright corners. She was a longtime member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Drummond.
She will be livingly remembered by her children, Jane (Roy) Snyder and Jim (Becky) Dinsmore; her grandchildren, Bill (Meg) McCabe, Patrick McCabe, Jim (Lisa) McCabe, Anne (TJ) Ostler and Kate Dinsmore; her great-grandchildren, Ashley, Bill, Alexia and Skye McCabe and Jackson and Eli Ostler; and by her dog, Maggie. Jean was predeceased by her parents and her husband, Bob.
Graveside services will be at St. Patrick Cemetery, Brasher Falls on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM with Fr. Garry Giroux officiating.
Memorials may be sent to the Drummond Elementary, District 11, P.O. Box 349 Drummond, MT 59832, or to Hall Elementary, District 8, 109 W. Main St., Hall, MT 59837. Please make note that this for the “Jean Dinsmore Reading Fund.”
She kept the following poem titled “The Coin” by Sara Teasdale tucked in her dresser mirror: “Into my heart’s treasure I slipped a coin; That time cannot take nor a thief purloin; Oh better than the minting of a gold-crowned king; Is the safe-kept memory of a lovely thing.”