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Jean Ann Moles

January 7, 2019

My dear friend Jean Ann Moles died last week.county 76 jean ann moles Jean Ann was a proud Master Gardener from Saline County. She joined as soon as she retired, and jumped in with both feet. She had leadership roles in Saline County but also was heavily involved at the state level through County 76. She was a character than will not soon be forgotten.

In her obituary one of the last lines is:jean 7 villa medici al fiesoli (13)Next time you meet someone else who knew Jean Ann, share a couple of “Jean Ann stories”. You will separate with smiles on your faces.  I have been smiling for a week thinking of all the Jean Ann stories I have.

Jean Ann started traveling with me as soon as she became a MG.As soon as a trip was advertised, she was signed up. She was a shopper! Regardless of where we stopped, she found something to buy, and not only for herself. She bought gifts for everyone. She also brought along NO WHINING stickers and passed them out at the airport before we left whining

She held down the back of the bus on every trip and was always the last person to be back on the bus. Once in New Zealand she was over 10 minutes late to the bus, and I yelled, “Jean Ann, we are going to leave you!”.  She yelled back “I’m LOST!”  She was in the middle of the garden and couldn’t find the path back out.  We waited and guided her out.  Her health  prevented her from traveling the past few years, so we nominate a new “Jean Ann” on every trip.  She was an institution!ds jean ann, karen.shjean ann and andrea.attea party jean ann.shjean ann and her award

If a dog or cat crossed her path, she had to investigate.jean-ann-cat

As smart as she was, organization of her personal items was not a strong suit. She misplaced her phone on several trips, and actually lost it twice. The first time was in Costa Rica and she had a huge bill once she got home and notified them of her loss.  A second time she lost it and she got a call from her husband in the hotel.  He wanted to know where she lost her phone?  She wondered how he knew, but of course the person who found it “called home”.  She got that one back.  We ribbed her often, so she was overjoyed when we were in Panama and I left my small purse at breakfast and she got to be the one to return it to me.

She had a quick wit and did not suffer fools easily, but she had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back.  She worked diligently in gardening projects  all over Saline County putting not only her time into the efforts, but her money as well.  She was recognized for her efforts by her peers as well as her county.  jean ann award ceremony.04jean anns tribe

There will never be another Jean Ann Moles.  I was so saddened when she was diagnosed with her lung ailment, and although she gave it the college try, it overcame her best efforts, and she took that in stride. jean ann feb.17 (2) She regularly emailed me articles of interest on a wide array of subjects, and suggested books I might be interested in.  I knew something was up when I quit getting emails from her, and she didn’t respond to mine.

RIP Jean Ann, the world will not be the same without you!mrs. chair jean

Here is her official obituary:

JEAN ANN MOLES, 74, of Benton, died January 2, 2019, in the Saline Health System Hospice Unit. Predeceasing her were her parents, John W. and Matta Jean McDonald; paternal grandparents, Arch and Hallie Denman McDonald; maternal grandparents, Clarence and Grace Taylor Ratcliff. She is survived by her husband, J. Louis Moles, Jr., and three “critters” (Abe, Hu, and Little Bit) of the home; and her sister, Sue Ellen Montgomery (Ron) of Siloam Springs. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom she enjoyed watching grow into adulthood as long as she didn’t have to change their diapers.

Jean Ann was born in Gentry while her father was elsewhere engaged with the Battle of the Bulge. Following WWII, the family settled in Huntsville. She graduated from Huntsville High School in 1962, University of Arkansas Fayetteville (B.A.) in 1966, and LSU (Masters in Library Science) in 1970. All her life, she had a love for books and reading, leading to a work history from librarian/associate professor at the Peabody School Library of the UAF College of Education to 30 years service at the UAMS Medical Library in Little Rock.

Following her retirement from UAMS in 2004, she joined the Saline County Master Gardeners achieving SCMG Rookie of the Year in 2006, SCMG Master Gardener of the Year in 2010, and along the way three terms as SCMG president. She was on the board of the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show serving as secretary. She spent countless hours tending “her” corners in downtown Benton and digging plants to save them from approaching construction activities. And the educational training. And then the tours, domestic and foreign. Jean Ann loved every minute of it. A perfect retirement.

Throughout her life, Jean Ann had strong mentors and friends, some of whom got her involved in the creation of the Arkansas chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and later creation of the Little Rock Rape Crisis Center. She was justifiably proud of being one of the “founding mothers” of these two organizations

At the request of Jean Ann, the body will be cremated and the ashes scattered at appropriate locations in Arkansas. There will be no service. If you knew Jean Ann and wish to honor her, you can mentor someone; you can befriend someone; you can become involved. She was a ray of sunshine. Next time you meet someone else who knew Jean Ann, share a couple of “Jean Ann stories”. You will separate with smiles on your faces.

On line guestbook at

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Frances Ables permalink
    January 7, 2019 10:08 pm

    Such sad news….my “Jean Ann” story is her dancing on the table at an Irish pub dinner. She made the trip so great with her enthusiasm and spirit.

  2. Karen Sherman permalink
    January 8, 2019 6:17 am

    Lovely tribute to a fellow MG’er Xoxo May her memory always be a blessing .

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Arline Jackson permalink
    January 8, 2019 7:18 am

    Janet for you to single out this beautiful Story of your friend and MG Is so kind and special of you. Praying your loving your retirement.

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Hilde Simmons permalink
    January 8, 2019 7:59 am

    Thank you Janet.
    I was glad to know Jean Ann working with her at County 76 and during the state convention in 2015. She was my go to person until I knew my way around. You are right, she will be missed.

  5. January 8, 2019 6:49 pm

    What a lady!!!! Thanks!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Ketha Buck permalink
    January 9, 2019 5:08 pm

    I will miss you Jean Ann …

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