Margaret Jean Smith was born Nov. 30, 1936, at Shaw, in rural northern Lincoln County.
She was the only daughter and the second child born to John Oscar Smith and Erma Dorothy Cross Smith.
Jean was raised with her three brothers – Gordon, Bob, and Rich – on the farm 20 miles north of Arriba.
She attended Schnyder Country School for two years and then moved to the town of Arriba with her family and attended Arriba Public School through eighth grade.
In 1950, the family moved to Stratton where her parents began teaching and Jean graduated with the Stratton High School Class of 1954.
As a youth, Jean was active in Girl Scouts, 4-H, Youth Group and Sunday School.
After graduation Jean went to Colorado A&M for two years and then she married her high school sweetheart, Max Mason, on June 24, 1956.
They lived in Lamar where Max worked on an oil drilling rig and later moved to Liberal, Kan.
They returned to Seibert where their first two children were born – James Lee and Margaret Maxine.
Max went to Colorado Barber School in Denver where they lived for a brief period.
In 1959, Jean returned to college and graduated from CSU in 1961 with a bachelor of science degree in Home Economics Education and was named to Omicron Nu Home Economics Honor Society.
Between her junior and senior year, Linda Lea was born. Jean did her student teaching at Fort Collins High School and they continued to live in Fort Collins another year after her graduation where Max barbered.
In the fall of 1962, Jean began teaching in the Arriba Public Schools. The Masons lived there for the next 10 years where Jean taught Home Ec., Publications, P.E. and Junior High Science, as well as, a year of kindergarten. Shortly after Carol Lynn and William Dean were born.
During this time the family was also engaged in raising cattle and swine, plus, farming and custom cutting.
In 1972, the Masons sold their property in Arriba and moved two miles north of Seibert which was Jean's home for the next 23 years. In 1973, Jean was hired to teach Home Economics in the Hi-Plains High School. In 1974, Donald Eugene joined the family.
On June 24, 1981, Max and Jean celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and that Oct. 15th the family, friends and relative said goodbye when Max died from cancer after a valiant two and a half year battle.
In 1988, Jean decided to go to Alamosa State College and get a master's in secondary education, which was valuable as she finished raising their three younger children.
Jean's primary assignment through the years was teaching home economics, but she also taught Psychology, Sociology, and in later years acted as the librarian for both the high school and elementary schools, taught 8th grade English and supervised Spanish lab for several years.
Jean taught for 25 years and enjoyed the personnel and teaching staff throughout her career.
On Jan. 15, 1995, Jean married Willis McGriff and they made their home in Stratton on the east side of town. Jean and Willie enjoyed their time together until he passed away in 2004.
The MSA Club was important to Jean as she enjoyed working with the group of ladies who make a difference in Stratton, as they reached out to support other district, state, and national events.
She also enjoyed belonging to Vona Worthwhile Club which is another volunteer group.
She was a member of the Stratton United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women and served as Lay Delegate to Rocky Mountain Conference for many years, as well as attending Methodist Women's Assembly in Orlando, Fla.
She was the Colorado Literacy Chairman for the GFWC/CFWC for six years. She went to Washington, D.C. to attend to conference on Literacy and Mentoring.
Jean was a Quiet Disciple and took the Disciple Class, an in-depth Bible study. Jean's many hobbies included sewing, quilting, crafting, reading, journaling, decorative painting, gardening and the ministry of music.
Jean's life was blessed with wonderful parents, lovely family, six beautiful children, 13 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Jean loved them all! She went to be with the Lord on Friday, April 25, 2014.
Jean is preceded in death by her father John Oscar Smith, both husbands, and sister-in-law Judy Smith.
Jean is survived by her mother Dorothy Brown, her brother Gordon and wife Elly, her brother Bob Smith, brother Richard Smith and wife Margene. Her children: James Mason and wife Marla, Margaret McPhilomy and husband Michael, Lea Poulin and husband Serge, Carol Embrey and husband Jeffrey, William Mason and wife Orfe-Linda, and Donald Mason.
Jean's grandchildren: Michael Mason, Jayme Mason, Michael McPhilomy, Matthew McPhilomy, Mitchell McPhilomy, Jade Poulin, Eli Embrey, Brenna Embrey, Amanda Mason, Kristy Kahle, Mindy Mason, McKenzie Mason, and Mia Mason.
Great-grandchildren: Emily Mason, Spencer Guscette, Connor McPhilomy, Kellen McPhilomy, Cameron, Aubri and Kambree Lilly, Brynlee and Pierson Kahle.
Funeral services for Jean will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Stratton United Methodist Church with Pastor Jamie Nieves officiating.
Burial will follow in the Arriba Cemetery, Arriba.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hi-Plains Scholarship Fund or the Worthwhile Home Demonstration Club and may be left at or sent to Colorado East Bank and Trust, 141 Colorado Ave., P.O. Box 286, Stratton, CO 80836.
Friends may go to www.lovefuneralhomes.com
to sign the family's online register book and to leave an online message of condolence.
Funeral services were entrusted to Love Funeral Home in Burlington.