Myra Jean Wynn was born in Picayune, Mississippi on August 26, 1950 to Ira Donan Powell and Elva Alberta Snelgrove Powell.
She passed away on Saturday, October 21, 2017 in Gilbert, Arizona.
Jean leaves behind her husband, Robert “Bob” Wynn.
Her eldest daughter, Leslie Joan Wynn Clarke; Leslie’s children Virginia Hendry, Elizabeth Hendry Mendoza, and John Hendry.
Virginia’s children Bailey, Rylan, and Ryter.
Elizabeth’s husband, Angel and children, Brenton, Noah, Madison, and Abigail.
John’s children, Larissa, Summeranne, and Alecc.
Also, Jean’s younger daughter, Elva “Ellie” Denise Wynn Monteaux and her husband, Kenneth Monteaux; their daughter, Jean’s namesake, Myra Erin Katherine Monteaux and Erin’s twin daughters, Alyssa and Brylee.
Jean is also survived by her brother, Billy Powell; her sisters, Joyce Lang, Barbara Powell, Iva Keasey, Marilyn Cruz, and Joan Todd.
And, as Jean would put it, “a preponderance of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.”
Jean and her twin sister, Joan, were the youngest of 11 children. When Jean was about 2 years old, her Uncle Roy left Mississippi for California looking for work. He happened to break down in Miami, Arizona and discovered that there were good jobs at the mine. Roy called Ira and told him that he had to get out here. So Ira and Elvie packed up the family and headed west.
The family settled in Miami, which is where Jean and her siblings grew up. She had a happy childhood, playing outside with her sisters and neighborhood friends. As a little girl, Jean loved all animals. In fact, she loved cats so much that she informed her daddy that when she grew up, she would have a cat house.
She also loved horses. Jean and her best friend, Claudia MacGregor (who passed away recently as well), would run around the canyon, pretending to ride horses. She even had an extensive collection of horse figurines. One time, one of her little tin horses fell off of a shelf. When she discovered that its leg had broken off, one of her sisters (either Iva or Joan) told her that since it’s leg was broken, it would have to be put down. Well this upset Jean so much, she got rid of her whole horse collection.
When Jean was 16 years old, she met Bob Wynn in California. Bob wanted to marry her right away and he asked her parents for permission. Her dad said yes, but that he didn’t have that many daughters to give away, so Bob would have to wait a year. So they waited one year and then Bob drove in from California and they were married at the Baptist church in Miami. November 28th of this year would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.
From that point on, they were inseparable. Jean and Bob started their little family and had two daughters, Leslie and Ellie. They lived in Iowa for while, but after one particularly harsh Iowa winter, Jean raised her fist to the sky and declared, “With God as my witness, I will not spend another winter in Iowa again!” They moved to a warmer state, Texas where Jean, who had always been artistic, learned how to give tattoos under the direction of Bob’s long-time best friend. She thus began her career as a tattoo artist.
Bob and Jean eventually settled in Globe. She continued to give tattoos out of her home for awhile, but eventually, the state changed the laws so that all tattoo artists had to be licensed and work out of a shop. So, she sold her tattoo guns and supplies because she didn’t want to break the law. In her own words, she stopped tattooing because she was too old to be a felon.
Bob built them a house which she was so proud of. She decorated it in signature Jean style and even got her own sewing room. When Jean wasn’t at home, you could find her at church, or volunteering at the library, the clothing bank, the senior center, or helping a friend or loved one who needed care.
Anyone who knew Jean knew that her family and her faith were the most important things in her life. She became active in the church around 2000 and treasured the fellowship she found there with her church family. She began running church camps and doing everything she could for the church and its members.
It was amazing how, for someone who didn’t drive, she was able to be wherever anyone needed her. If anyone was sick, recovering from surgery, needed a baby sitter, needed help packing up for a move, or even just someone to talk to, Jean was there for anyone.
And of course, Jean was famous for her many artistic talents. She threw herself 100 percent into whatever project she was working on: sewing, macrame, crochet, or glazing ceramics. The Halloween costumes she made for the kids are legendary. She was an avid reader and soaked up all the random trivia she could. Her church nickname was “Sister Britannica.”
Many of us are lucky enough to have something she made. Whether it’s an afghan or blanket, a beanie or a scarf, or some comfy pajamas, or maybe a ceramic figure all of these are special because she made them with love and you’ll have them to remember her by.
And while the material things she left us are priceless, I think the memories are even more important. We will always remember her distinctive laugh and her sense of humor. We’ll always remember how she was there for us when we needed her. She leaves us with memories of her generosity and her huge heart. She was always doing something for someone else, no strings attached. She always had a kind word, or a funny story to tell; a new book or show she was excited about. We’ll remember how much she loved us all and how she did what she could to protect us and make us happy.
I think it’s also important to carry on her legacy. One of the best ways to honor someone who has passed away is to try to live by their example. In Jean’s case, she left us a wonderful one: We could all stand to be more caring, more accepting, and more joyful.
Since her brief illness and passing, the outpouring of sympathy has been overwhelming. The common theme in all of the memories that people have shared is one of love, generosity, and joy. Jean was a happy, optimistic person who always found the good in people. She had a genuine love of life. She gave to others selflessly. Even when tragedy struck, Jean was there for everyone else. She was a rock in all of our lives. Now, as we grieve her passing, we call on the memory of her strength to get us through this hard time.
I want to assure everyone that if you were in Jean’s life, she loved you and you were important to her. We will all miss Jean’s sense of joy, her focus on what was important in life, and her unlimited kindness and love.
Funeral services were held on October 23, 2017 at the Apostolic Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church.
Assisting the family; Lamont Mortuary of Globe.