A memorial service for Jean Lancaster, 86, of Big Spring, will be held Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 1:30 PM at Stewart Family Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Stephen Stine officiating. Jean died Thursday, December 31, 2009, at her residence.
Jean was born May 29, 1923, at Bay Springs, Mississippi, to Minnie Louvina Haire Herrington and William Lemuel Herrington. Jean was the oldest of seven siblings born during the Depression. When her mother’s sister died, leaving behind four young children, her mother added them to her brood. They all played in the East Texas pines and ate cornbread or cold sweet potatoes after school. Jean’s father was a farmer and occasional oil-field worker. Jean’s grandfather operated one of Texas’ first public swimming pools. Located in Arp, Texas, it was spring fed and outfitted with a spinning top, carts on rails, and a zipline into the water.
Jean began school at the age of four, a student in her aunt’s first grade class. The family moved to Texas when Jean was six, where she graduated in a class of 16 from Arp High School in 1941. Intending to become a reporter, Jean went to Austin to register as a student at University of Texas. However, her mother fell ill and Jean returned home to care for the family. She never returned to Austin but was later sent to nursing school by generous neighbors. Jean graduated from Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Nursing School in San Antonio in 1944.
Jean joined the Army as a Lieutenant after graduating from nursing school. She worked on a military psychiatric ward in Texas and at Texas and Florida hospitals after she left the Army.
She married her soul mate Jim Lancaster in 1947, and continued her nursing career until 1962 when she began to work with Jim at the Cable TV office in Big Spring, retiring in 1984. Jim preceded her in death on December 20, 2002.
Jean pursued a lifelong love of reading for pleasure and learning, studying among other topics Spanish, sign language, nutrition, and nature. She was an avid gardener of fruit trees, vegetables, and native plants. Little made her so happy as the appearance of plant shoots from the springtime soil. Her preserves and fruit butters won first place ribbons at the county fair. Jean was a beautiful, intelligent, strong-willed redhead, much loved by her family and friends.
Jean was a member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church since 1962; having served on the Vestry at St. Mary’s and also worked a number of years at the church’s Bargain Box. She also served a number of years on the board at Canterbury.
Jean is survived by two children: Stephen Lancaster of Big Spring, and Pamela Lancaster of Austin; son-in-law, Peter Marsh of Austin; three grandchildren: Todd Lancaster of Granbury, Lucas Marsh of Little Rock, AR, and Madeleine Marsh of Boulder, CO; two great-grandchildren; five nieces and seven nephews; three sisters: Louise Ornelas, Ann Kimrey, and Ellen Thurman, all of Tyler; and two brothers: Al Herrington and Billy Herrington, both of Tyler.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her brother Charlie Herrington, and her daughter-in-law Polly Lancaster.
The family extends their sincere gratitude to Evelyn Bennett, Beatrice Franco, and Cindy Mendez for the skilled and loving care provided to both Jean and Jim Lancaster during the last ten years.