Jean Lois Hale Birkenstock


Jean Lois Hale, born February 12, 1915, descended from British immigrants who first settled in Rehoboth, Plymouth Colony in 1644; fought for independence during the American Revolution; rewarded with a Parke County Ohio land grant and spent a generation there. As part of the westward migration, the Hale family continued westward settling in Pleasant Grove in the southeastern corner of Iowa along the Mississippi River after the Iowa Territory opened as a result of the Louisiana Purchase from France. During the great depression years, Jean?s father, James Ross Hale, moved his family the short distance from the rural farming economy of Pleasant Grove to Burlington, a major rail-head and river port, to support the family as a skilled carpenter. While attending Burlington High School, and later working in a department store, Jean met and was romanced by James W. Birkenstock, a University of Iowa graduate and IBM employee who also grew up in Burlington. While James was home from his IBM job in St. Louis, Jean and James were married over the Thanksgiving holiday on November 30, 1935, and returned to St. Louis to reside later moving to Kansas City, Missouri. Three children were born in Missouri : Michael James (b. Apr 1938, d. Jul 1939); Robert Hale (b. May 1940); and Joyce Ann (b. Oct 1942). After WW II, James was transferred to IBM World Headquarters in New York City and Jean and the family settled into a home in the suburbs becoming involved in corporate American suburban life and its vast associated responsibilities. As a result of her husband?s notable IBM career, Jean traveled throughout the world becoming a hostess on the corporate international stage. During 1960, Jean and James designed and built a vacation/retirement home at the Village of Golf, Palm Beach County, Florida, and moved there permanently after retirement from IBM to engage in part time work and full time leisure activities at the Country Club of Florida, the Ocean Club, and the Little Club. James died May 12, 2005. Jean Lois Hale Birkenstock died in her Village of Golf home on Saturday morning, December 15, 2012, the day after saying good-by to her gathered children and grandchildren. Jean masterfully cemented her family together with unwavering soothing love, brilliant wisdom accumulated from life experiences, and encouragement based on a deep insightful understanding of each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Each family member remembers and savors her guidance and compassion as a gift from God and will deeply miss her, but with the knowledge that she is with the faithful at the foot of the throne of the triune God singing praise to Him. She is survived by her two children (Joyce and Robert), three grand children (Brian, Lee Ann, and Lisa), and six great grandchildren (James and Rebecca Birkenstock; Lucas Durkin; Bailey, Casey, and Michael McColl), all residing in Florida. Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at 9:30 AM at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, where Jean was a member. Entombment will follow at the Boca Raton Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church School, 840 George Busch Blvd., Delray Beach, FL 33483. Lorne & Sons Funeral Home, Delray Beach

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Funeral Home

Lorne and Sons Funeral Home - Delray Beach
745 NE 6th Ave. Delray Beach, FL 33483
(561) 276-4161

Published in The Palm Beach Post from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, 2012