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Cecil Norma Jean Slagle
1926 - 2021
Dear family and friends: Cecil Norma Jean Slagle lived a long and full life. With all the certainty one can have, Jean has been in heaven since her passing Feb. 8, 2021.
Cecil, the name her mother always used, was born in Dallas, Texas on Feb. 1, 1926. But her childhood and high school years were in Atoka, Okla. Her family's small farm and their hardwork provided a good and loving life. Mom shared vivid memories of her mother, Biddie, picking cotton, canning everything from peaches to chickens, and midwifing; and of her dad farming and raising hogs and chickens; and of going to church.
Mom loved her childhood and maintained phone contact with two of her childhood friends, her cousin Clarita and her high school friend Katherine, even through this January. What an amazing thing - 90 or so years of friendship – so strengthens life.
In 1944, Mom and her friend went to the Atoka Bus Station to greet her friend's boyfriend. Traveling with him was his army buddy, James Slagle, who was quite a guy and who was very taken with my Mom. This was the start of my Mom and Dad's courtship and 50 Year Marriage.
After the war in 1945, Mom and Dad made the tough decision to move to California in search of work. They rode the bus to Castroville, but Soledad is where they made their home. Mom's sister Marie, who already lived in Soledad, always called Mom - Jean, much to Jean's delight. So from then on, it was Jean.
The search for work provided their first jobs in the fields – tying carrots, etc. In time, they found other jobs, including Jean waitressing at the Head Hotel in Soledad. And then, Jean's stenography and secretarial classes paid off; and she was hired as the Soledad School Secretary (singular because she was it back then). During all of her 35 years of work there, Jean so enjoyed her job and the people. She loved seeing all the students grow up and then their children and grandchildren. The number of names she recalled was incredible.
Outside of work and then through her retirement, Jean put her love for her churches (Soledad Methodist and Gonzales Community) and her community into action – worship and church activities (always), Companions of the Forest (1950's, Chief in 1957), Eastern Star/ Rainbow Girls Board Member (1970's), Meals on Wheels (1980's), Soledad Lionesses (1980's to current, Charter Member and Past President), Soledad City Council Member (1980's -the second woman to serve – with the first being her sister Marie), Soledad Planning Commission (1980's), and Soledad Community Healthcare Foundation (2010's). In 1989, Jean was recognized as an Outstanding Woman of Monterey County by the Board of Supervisors.
And always, Mom put her love for her family and friends first. By the 1950's, all Mom's family had moved to California, and most lived in Soledad, which delighted her. In 1961, Dad used his new 8mm movie camera to capture that moment outside the Oakland adoption agency - Mom holding this baby girl, their daughter. My mom was the best and an absolute gift from God, truly.
Mom was a wonderful daughter and sister and aunt. Her two nieces, Jerry and Geanie (along with their families), made our holidays and summer vacations to Disneyland and camping just the best. But it's the shared raising of the children together weekdays that so wove our family together.
Being a grandma was a huge joy for Mom, which she savored by taking such good, good care of Quinn and Ali – as babies through afterschool and occasional weekend nights . As Quinn said, "Grandma was a second Mom to us." Grandma just adored her grandkids and was so very proud of them.
And, Great-Grandma was so happy to hold her great-grandson James. In fact, if you were to see the whole of the lovely picture of Jean, you'd see James is sitting on her lap on that beautiful Thanksgiving Friday 2020, where she's enjoying this time in the sun with family as Allan barbecued the turkey.
Jean was always there to make our home welcoming to family, friends and neighborhood kids and to hear our stories, listen to our troubles, offer ideas, and help any way possible. One story: two months after Dad's fatal car accident in 1995, Mom had a triple bypass heart surgery. Sitting in her recliner and clutching the heart pillow from the hospital, she was asked, "Who's going to take care of Quinn (6) and Ali (3)?" Mom sat up straight and gently inhaled and firmly said, "I am."
That determined love we all felt. And that determined love, we all learned and gave back to "Aunt CC"/Grandma/Mom/Friend, our beloved Jean.
Speaking of determination, Mom choose to live independently in her own dear home, which she did until her last 10 days in the hospital and home hospice. How did such a woman of 90+ years live on her own? With a strong will and a keen mind and good humor and just bit of support and a lot of friendship and an active life that still gave back. Mom loved to help people (be it balancing their check book, baking cookies, frying the best chicken, etc.). On behalf of Jean, we, her family, so sincerely thank mom's community of wonderful friends/ neighbors/ helpers: Vonnie, Nancy, Graig and Pat, George, Crystal, Dr. Abundus, Dr. Faddis, Cece, and Liz and so many more – each uniquely a part of mom's life.
Jean deeply missed family who passed years ago: her husband, James Slagle; mother and father, Biddie and Olen Denney; sister, Mariene Jones (Earl); sister. Marie Treado (Ralph); cousin and foster brother. Carol Kinikin (Ruby); niece. Jerry Behymer (Kenny).
We, Jean's current family, are blessed beyond words for all these beautiful years with her: daughter, Kim Snowden (Allan); granddaughter, Ali Snowden; grandson, Quinn Snowden (Lindsey); and great-grandson, James; her niece, Geanie Chappuis (John); her great-nieces and nephew: Anna Behymer (Leslie), Joanne Brown (Wayne), Kenny Chappuis (Sandye) and Lynne Bartlett (Bruce); and many great-greats.
A private, family service will be held at the Soledad Cemetery in April. For friends and family, a church service will be planned later, when we can gather together. In lieu of flower, donations to Jean's church, Gonzales Community Church (P.O. Box 715, Gonzales, CA 93926), would honor Jean and bless her congregation.
Published by Salinas Valley Tribune from Mar. 24 to Mar. 30, 2021.
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9 Entries
Jean was my mentor on the Soledad City Council in the early 1980's. She showed me the ropes and was a guiding light. She and my Mom were good friends. Say "Hi" to Mom and all the other Soledad folks who have passed. I'm sure all knew you, Jean. RIP.
John Laughton
April 21, 2021
I remember Jean when I attended Soledad Main St. School through 1957. Her smile and kindness. I remember her in her last years as she went about the town especially at the market. She always had that smile. She was a great neighbor on Walker Drive.
Jessie Mills
April 16, 2021

April 12, 2021
I am so sad to hear of the passing of your Mom. She was a wonderful lady, full of grace and wisdom. I remember her as a great neighbor, and of course as Dad's secretary at the school for so many years. Dad often said Jean was the one who made things run smoothly. I know her faith was such an important part of her life. Cindy and I pray for God's peace and hope for you and your family at this difficult time.
John Broom
April 7, 2021
I remember her in school, she was always in the office to help and direct the students for their needs. May she rest in peace.
April 2, 2021
All the wonderful memories of growing up on Walker Dr come pouring back, and your Mom, always kind, is one of the last of the memories and joy of growing up there. She accomplished much in life, but I know her greatest "legacy", will always be you and your children. Rest Easy Jean, say "Hi" to Mom and Pop and all the neighbors.
Fred Ledesma
April 2, 2021
What a blessing to have known Jean. Such a sweet, God loving lady. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Bible study with Kim. Beautiful words Kim. Your Mom loved her family as you love yours. Gods Bless you all. Cherri
Cherri Johnson
April 1, 2021
An array of thoughts & feelings arose, as I read about Jean's beautiful loving relationships, God loving, & community serving life. I was blessed to have Jean in my life, especially during my childhood. At times, she was my second mom, too! As I reflect, I am most grateful for Jean & Jim loving & raising Kim, their daughter, who is my dearest longtime friend....In love & gratitude, Cathy Gutierrez
Cathy Gutierrez
March 27, 2021
An array of thoughts & feelings arose, as I read about Jean's beautiful loving relationships, God loving, & community serving life. I was blessed to have Jean in my life, especially during my childhood. At times, she was my second mom, too! As I reflect, I am most grateful for Jean & Jim loving & raising Kim, their daughter, who is my dearest longtime friend....In love & gratitude, Cathy Gutierrez
March 27, 2021
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