Adios, dear one. You’ve had a long, wonderful ride, and now it’s time to rest.
Jean Elizabeth Buchanan, 99, passed away Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Lewiston.
Jean was born March 26, 1920, in the White’s Hospital, to Lafe and Myrtle (Rowe) Mounce, who farmed south of Lewiston. In her early years, she spent much of her time in her grandfather’s house. The large, two-story home was on the Mounce farm, just south of the Webb-Waha intersection in Tammany. Many grand times were spent there with Grandpa Lafe Mounce Sr. and Grandma Anna (Hayes) and other Mounce relatives.
The Mounces were part of a large family from Iowa who homesteaded land in various places in Nez Perce County in the late 1880s. Her great-grandfather had 10 children, of whom five were alive at his death at 99. Much of the Mounce land was lost in the Depression years. Lafe Jr., her father, later bought land adjacent to the old ranch and lived there for years. Jean attended Upper Tammany Grade School, where her mother also taught, riding her horse to school.
One day in 1936 at Lewiston High School, Jean looked up and saw a new student enter the room. “He looked like Adonis,” she told us in later years as a tall, blond Galen Buchanan entered her life. They married Oct. 10, 1939, in Grangeville, which is as far as they had the money to go. The Depression raged around them and war loomed. Galen worked for the county road department for 20 years and farmed at night and on weekends for his father-in-law. The family hardly saw him, waving as he left in the morning and farmed at night. Eventually, they expanded the land holdings, bought the “Clark place,” farther south on Waha Road, and then land on Webb Ridge.
Jean was dedicated to community service for many years, as well as being very involved on the home front with her children, Larry, Marsha and Cheryl — gardening, canning, Scouts and 4-H. Her community involvement included a lifetime membership in the Tammany Pollyanna Club, the Tammany Grange and Tammany PTA. (She helped start the PTA at Lower Tammany School, as well as the first hot lunch program at that school, taking garden produce and canning it with other moms at the local cannery.) She also helped the Meals on Wheels program in the area and served as precinct registrar in Tammany for years.
Jean was a lifetime member of the Extension Homemaker Council, having been elected treasurer of the Northern Idaho Extension Council and chairwoman of the Extension Youth Advisory Program. She was chosen the Outstanding 4-H Leader of the Year in 1965, and the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Farm Citizen Award in 1981, for her many years as a 4-H leader and extensive fair judging in Nez Perce, Clearwater, Asotin, Latah and Whitman counties.
During her high school years, she was active in the Glee Club, the Honor Society and Sesame Club, among others. She always said she had two dresses for school, in those Depression days, ironing and washing them constantly. She loved to sing and continued to do so.
She attended the Orchards Community Church for years and was doing so until two weeks ago.
She submitted human interest articles about farm life and trials to numerous magazines, among them the Idaho Farmer, Mobile Travel Guide, Farm Journal and the Lewiston Tribune, as a way to make extra money. She made and sold beautiful Swedish tea rings in town, along with cream and eggs.
An avid genealogist, she was a long-time member of the Twin River Geneological Society, spending hours researching the Mounce, Rowe, Autrey and Buchanan families. She and her daughter traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they found the farmhouse that the Mounce family left behind when they traveled west.
Jean enjoyed sewing, fishing up on Deer Creek with “Granny” Myrtle, huckleberrying and mushrooming on the family land above Kruse Meadow. She always eagerly awaited the first buttercups in the spring so she could take grandkids on a hike to the draw below the house and cook hot dogs over a small fire, as a way to welcome another season.
Jean, Galen and family also helped keep the Blue Mountain Pioneer Picnic going for many years.
Jean’s husband, Galen, passed away in 2002, shortly after they celebrated 60 years of marriage. Her beloved daughter, Cheryl, passed away in March 2015. Her parents and her sister, Dorthy Wharton, are also gone, as well as cousin Bonnie Flinn, and many other Mounces and Buchanans. Survivors include son Larry Buchanan and wife Michele; daughter Marsha and husband Edward Swartz; four grandchildren, Adrian Swartz and wife Nazia, Alia Turner and husband Brent, Steven Buchanan and wife Gina and DeWayne Kaizer; great-grandchildren include Emaan and Armon Swartz, Amaya and Zarina Turner, Clayton Buchanan and two Kaizer daughters. She is also survived by nieces Sharon Auer, Lori Coons, Toni Whitney, Rena Davis, nephew Pat Sarbacher and families.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home, 920 21st Ave., Lewiston. As a note to all Jean’s friends and family, if you have special memories of this extraordinary woman, please share them with us at the funeral. Interment will be held after the funeral at Lewis Clark Memorial Gardens, Seventh Street and Cedar Avenue, in the Lewiston Orchards. A luncheon will be held after the interment at noon in the Stern Wheel Room, at the Quality Inn, 700 Port Drive, Clarkston.