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Mary Jeanne Sorenson

1924 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Mary Jeanne Sorenson Obituary
MARY JEANNE SORENSON Jeanne Sorenson died peacefully in the presence of her children on July 13, 2014 after a long life and a brief illness at the age of 90. Jeanne was born on June 14, 1924 in Chenoa, Illinois, to Margaret and Clyde Grubbs, but spent most of her childhood in Piper City, Illinois. She attended local schools and graduated from high school at age 16, having skipped an elementary grade. Because of her academic abilities, Jeanne was offered a college scholarship, but unfortunately could not attend. Instead, she went to work to help her family financially. Like so many women of her generation, Jeanne was not able to reach the full potential that her intelligence promised. In 1947, Jeanne came to California to marry Richard Sorenson in San Mateo. When her husband was called up to serve in the Korean conflict, Jeanne told Dick that she wanted something of him in case he did not return. That "something" was the couple's first child, Christina. Following the war, the family lived variously in Anderson, Redding, and finally Chico, where they lived in on-campus veterans' housing, while Dick attended Chico State. In 1954 and 1955, Jeanne gave birth to two more children: sons Richard and Russell. Later in life, Jeanne confided that she and Dick had planned on having four children, but Jeanne worried that she might have a third boy. In a way, Jeanne ended up with a third son through her close relationship with her son-in-law Raymond Hurt. The Sorensons moved next to Central Valley, California, where Dick took a teaching job and Jeanne worked as a secretary. Finally, in 1960, the family returned to Chico to stay. Jeanne started working for General Adjustment Bureau as a secretary; a job she held until her retirement over two decades later. Jeanne's attitude toward her work also reflected the values of her generation: there was an official end of the day, but Jeanne did not leave her job until her desk was cleared of work, even if it meant working beyond business hours. But Jeanne's life is not simply comprised of what she did for a living, or what opportunities were not available to her. Jeanne was most importantly a mother to three children who were fed, reared and educated into productive professional adults. Jeanne was a companion to her husband Dick for 66 years until his death in February. She was a good friend and neighbor who spoke to everyone - young and old - as she made her daily walks around her block with the help of her trusty walker Hugo. Jeanne possessed a wicked sense of humor and a talent for writing, whether it was a personal essay, or a parody of Omar Kahayyam's The Rubaiyat. Her typical day began with the crossword and other puzzles in the newspaper. In recent years she was most happy in front of her favorite slot machine at Rolling Hills Casino. Jeanne is survived by her three children; Christina Hurt (Raymond) of Chico, Richard (Diane) of Rocklin, and Russell (Kay Kaiser) of Chico. She also leaves six grandchildren; Dr. Emily Hurt, Jessica Pfeiffer (Dan), Tim Hurt, Zack Sorenson (Lindsey), Nick Sorenson, Josh Sorenson (Sarah), and one great-grandchild, Adele Pfeiffer. In addition to her husband Dick, Jeanne was preceded in death by her two brothers, Ernest and James. If Jeanne Sorenson resembles any literary character it would be Penelope of Homer's The Odyssey. A woman who is rarely recognized as heroic, but remains constant and patient, doing what she can because of her love for her family. No services are scheduled. Donations in Jeanne Sorenson's name may be made to the Jesus Center of Chico, and to Trinity United Methodist Church of Chico.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on July 16, 2014
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