If we are lucky, as a child, each of us has a kind soul (someone other than our parents) who watches over us and gently nudges us in the right direction when we seem rudderless.
For me, my Aunt Jean was that human being.
Jean Grandin Huber passed peacefully from this world early today, Sept. 3, 2011, just four days shy of her 92nd birthday.
Born Jean Laurean Grandin on Sept. 7, 1919, in Nova Scotia, Canada, she immigrated to Dunbar, W.Va., with her family when she was four.
Pictured at right in July 1924, in Sprigg, W.Va., are Jean (in front) standing with her bothers, Milton (left) and James Franklin (my father), and her mother Jane MacDonald Grandin.
As a striking young woman 20 years later, she met and married my devastatingly handsome Uncle Dick during WWII.
Their union produced five equally handsome children (Ruth Ann, Richard, Frank, Mary Jane and Robert). They were married 53 years before Uncle Dick passed 15 years ago.
Simply put, my sisters (Josam Grandin Bullock and Nancy Jean Grandin Butler) and I would not have evolved into the women we became without the gentle guiding hands of Aunt Jean and Uncle Dick. When we were youngsters, they were always there when we needed the love and security of extended family.
Along with my mother’s, Mary Frances Grandin teachings, Aunt Jean’s life lessons helped shape my core values. Her pure kindness set a standard for me that I still strive to achieve. She had a huge heart and I reaped the benefit.
I will always love and remember her as a beautiful, engaging and gentle soul.
Photos: (Top) Jean Huber November 2010. (Julianne G. Crane). (Middle) Jean Grandin Huber (in front) standing with her bothers, Milton (left) and James Franklin (my father), and her mother Jane MacDonald Grandin. (Bottom) Jean, circa 1936.