Jean (McDonald) Deal Stine Schaaf passed away on October 29, 2019 at the age of 87. Jean traveled many complex paths in her life with one common theme, service. She was born and raised in the Boston area. As a teen prodigy, she played the xylophone for the troops in the USO, receiving special security clearance to do so. After graduating from her beloved Oberlin College with a degree in sociology, she married Ralph Deal and moved to Baltimore, where she served as a social worker while Ralph did his PhD. Over the next decade, they would move to England, New Hampshire and Kalamazoo, Michigan. During those years, Jean gave birth to three daughters: Rebecca, Heather and Deborah. While in Kalamazoo, Jean was very active in social causes, including the Peace Center, ACLU and People’s Unitarian Fellowship youth group. She ran for office and was elected County Commissioner. She later married Reverend Wendell Stine and entered decades of life in service through the church. Wendell’s children Cynthia, David, Wendell Jr and Rebecca were very much a part of their lives and continued to be a very important part of Jean’s life.
Jean worked as a social worker and for Senator Don Riegle, helping countless people in the community. After retirement, Wendell and Jean moved to Wendell’s centennial family farm and enjoyed providing a home for a menagerie, including Copper the dog, Tony the Donkey, and the tree chickens. Wendell and Jean loved to travel. After Wendell passed in 2004, Jean met and married George Schaaf. George and Jean enjoyed 5 years together, including travel and volunteering to encourage people to vote. In 2016, Jean moved to Clark home, where she loved the staff and loved being pampered and dancing down the halls. She was very much part of the social fabric of her floor.
Throughout her life, Jean loved music. She loved singing in particular, although the xylophone occasionally got dusted off for an impromptu recital. From church choirs to a gospel choir to singing at Clark home, if there was choir, Jean would join in. She also loved ocean beaches and the shells she found there, and “Jean’s Genealogy” is legend in the family.
Jean’s life was filled with music and she lived in service to helping her fellow human beings. Her family is very proud of her accomplishments, her passions, her feistiness, her durability, and the amazing example she left for her family and all who met her.
Jean is survived by Rebecca Deal Culver (Jim), Heather Deal, Deborah Deal Berndt (David), Cynthia Stine Human (Garry), David Stine, Wendell Stine Jr (Ginny), Rebecca Stine Swoboda (Jeff), and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A service will be held 11:30 am Monday, November 4, at the Chapel at Clark Retirement Community, 1551 Franklin Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI. Reception following.
Donations in lieu of flowers should be addressed to: The Southern Poverty Law Center, donate.splcenter.org
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Southern Poverty Law Center
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