Jean W. Vondemkamp, 91, passed away Monday, July 12, 2021.
Jean was born in Akron, Ohio on February 18, 1930 to John and Susan McGrath (Dempsey). She attended St. Vincent High School graduating in 1948.
As a young girl, Jean always knew she wanted to become a nurse. After graduating high school, she attended St. John's College in Cleveland - graduating from St. Thomas School of Nursing in 1951. Her first job was in the Operating Room at St. Thomas Hospital where she worked until retiring in 1988 after 37 years of service. She loved working in the "OR", and always said it takes a special type of person. Jean was a member of the St. Thomas School of Nursing Alumni for 70 years, where she was the Secretary of the class of 1951.
Jean loved her Irish heritage; she especially looked forward to St. Patrick's Day. She called it the "Holy Day" and always took the day off work to celebrate.
In November of 1955 she met the love of her life, Jim, while attending a dance at Annunciation Catholic Church. Jim, who had just moved to Akron from Nebraska, was alone at the dance so Jean went up and introduced herself to him. The two fell in love and were married on June 2, 1956.
Jean and Jim bought a new home in Firestone Park and became very active members of St. Paul's Catholic church in 1957, where she participated in the Ladies Guild and the Sorrowful Luncheon Program. She and Jim were also Eucharistic Ministers - primarily to shut ins. In later years Jean, along with her very good friend Mary DiDonato, would work hard on planning the annual Nurse's Mass at St. Paul Parish.
Jean was preceded in death by her loving husband Jim of 63 years; her parents John and Susan; brother Patrick McGrath; sister Susan Boles; brothers-in-law Ed Boles, Steve Vargo, Jerry Vondemkamp, Jim Straughn, and Gene Wepler; and her beloved son-in-law David Cook. She is survived by her sister Theresa Vargo; sisters-in-law Betty Vondemkamp, Marlene Straughn and Ruby Wepler; brothers-in-law Paul (Arlene) & Dick (Nancy) Vondemkamp.
She is also survived by her four daughters who took care of her around the clock during her final journey: Mary (David - deceased) Cook, Susan Garrett, Johanne Wagner, and Valerie (Scott) Scalf. Her ten grandchildren: Dr. Jill (Brian) Barnes, Jessie (Fiancé Jay Kahlon) Cook, Kelli (Leon) England, Katie (Corey) Solomon, Megan (Brian) Wilson, Aaron Garrett, Patrick and Tom deAguiar, Kristina (Sean) Hartman, James Scalf; and her four great-grandchildren: Zachary, Camden, Reagan and Davie May.
A very special thank you to the wonderful Hospice staff who assisted Jean: Anita, Jen, Pam, Carol, Kathy, Raven and Patty.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11AM on Monday, July 19 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 1580 Brown Street in Akron, where the family will receive friends beginning at 10AM. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to her son-in-law Scott Scalf's non-profit: Small Seed Ministry, 3732 Fishcreek Rd., #180, Stow, OH 44224 or to St. Paul's Church, 1580 Brown St., Akron, OH 44301.
To be a nurse is to walk with God,
Along the path that our Master trod;
To soothe the achings of human pain,
To faithfully serve for little gain,
To lovingly do the kindly deed,
A cup of water to one in need,
A tender hand on a fevered brow,
A word of cheer to those living now;
To reach the souls through its body's woe
Oh, this is the way that Jesus would go.
Oh, selfless nurses with hearts so true,
Our Great Physician is working through you.
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