As a teenager, during the Christmas season and in the summertime, Jean worked in the gift wrap department at Feldman's department store where her mother worked. She worked in office at Central Soya when she first moved to Delphos. She also worked briefly at the Dairy Whip Restaurant, where Jim's Diner is now located, sometime between 1962 and 1964 and at the Delphos Herald, sometime between 1965 and 1970. The waitress job only lasted a week or two until the boss made her wash windows and she let them know she didn't do windows. The job at the Delphos Herald only lasted a week or two. She didn't like it and Chuck didn't really want her working anyway so she quit.
When Debbie was little, Jean belonged to a garden club and a mother's club. When Debbie was in elementary school and joined Brownies and then Girl Scouts, Jean was a troop leader. She was in charge of Camp Woodhaven Girl Scout Camp in Lima one summer.
Jean was a faithful volunteer at the monthly Red Cross blood drives in Delphos for over 20 years. She had pins for each five year interval that she had been a volunteer. They were supposed to give her a 20 year pin but for some reason, she did not receive it. She remained a volunteer until Chuck's health became serious and she needed to be home to be his caretaker.
She was an avid reader who enjoyed romance novels. She frequently would finish her housework in the morning and before the afternoon was over, she would have read a whole book. The Delphos Library would put paperback books on a table by the side door and library patrons could take them home to read without using their library cards to check them out. Jean would take a grocery bag and fill it with books. She would read all of them within a week and return them and get more.
Jean was very artistic and creative. When she and Chuck were young and didn't have much, they would paint ceramic wall plaques and knicknacks and sell them to supplement their income. Jean continued doing crafts most of her life, until her senior years when the arthritis in her hands began making it difficult for her to do. She did many different kind of craft projects.
For a brief time, her crafts were sold at a consignment shop in Lima. The shop owner had seen some items she had made and thought they were so good and wanted to sell them. Jean did it for several months but they sold her items so quickly that it became like a job to keep up with supplying the demand. She stopped making them for sale because she said that it was taking the joy out of it for her.
She donated some of her items to the Trinity Methodist Church Bazaar every year.
Among the projects she did over the years were mod-podge, deco-podge, wall plaques, wreaths, dolls made of craft paper, and stained glass. She used techniques such as crackling and 3-D layering on plaques. She also learned calligraphy.
She made her own "stained glass". She would go to the auto salvage yard and purchase a window shield. Then she would paint stripes of different colors on it with a special "stained glass" paint. When the paint was dry, she would throw a blanket over the windshield and tap the edge with a hammer. The windshield would shatter into hundreds of little pieces of glass. Charles and Debbie frequently helped her sort the pieces of glass by color. She would glue them on all sizes of brandy snifters, shot glasses which became toothpick holders, drinking glasses, bottles, and whiskey decanters. She wold grout between the pieces of glass and paint the grout gold. The brandy snifters were called "romance candles". When a candle was placed inside and lit up, it glowed through the "stained glass" and was beautiful.
She made placemats and coasters using yarn on a frame. The placemats and coasters have a pattern in them that looks like miniature flowers. Debbie still uses them daily. She still has a lot of items her mom made.
Jean also loved working crossword puzzles. She was so good at crosswords that she could complete the difficult New York Times puzzle that was in the Sunday newspapers. She worked the puzzles in the Lima News and Delphos Herald for years. She alway kept a dictionary nearby. She learned a lot of words that most people would not know and was rarely ever beaten at Scrabble because she knew all of these odd words.
When Debbie was young, her friends used to tell her that her mom looked like a movie star because she was so pretty. Chuck always said he fell in love with her because she had great legs. She hated being photographed so Chuck always kept a photo of her great legs in his wallet but her face wouldn't be in the picture.
Jean was a wonderful cook and baker. Like her sisters, she prepared a lot of dishes the way her mother had made them. Her mother was an excellent cook. She made potpie, which was a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe passed down from her grandma, Jane Uncapher Cheney. It was like noodle dough cut in squares and dropped into meat broth to cook. To make meals go farther, she would add macaroni to leftovers to get an extra meal out of them. Chuck's favorite food was macaronni and he told her she should just put in the macaroni when she initially cooked the dish.
Jean always had fresh baked cookies in the cookie jar, usually oatmeal because they were Chuck's favorite. Debbie loved the cookie cutter shortbread cookies Jean baked at Christmas. She would made an assortment of cookie cutter cookies, oatmeal cookies, cookie press cookies, and little balls that would be rolled in powdered sugar. Sometimes, she would also make fudge, mints, and caramels. She baked and decorated a birthday cake for Debbie every year until 2002. She once made a wedding cake. Her cakes rivaled those in the Wilton cake books.
Her favorite foods were pork chops, chicken, and chocolate.