Cheney Free Press -


Jean Elizabeth Breitenfeldt


Jean Elizabeth Breitenfeldt (Nelson) (Age 79) passed away March 3. Preceding her in death were her parents, Edrie and Clarence Nelson, her sister Claris Bontjes and her brother Robert Nelson.

Surviving Jean are her three children, Todd Breitenfeldt of Whitehall, Mont.; Cathy Smith of Medical Lake and Lisa Breitenfeldt of Spokane, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jean was born in 1934 in Minneapolis.

She graduated from Keewaydin Elementary School, Nokomis Junior High School and Roosevelt High School, where she was 25th highest scholastically in a class of 500 students.

Jean earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary dducation at the University of Minnesota in 1956. She married Dorvan Breitenfeldt in 1955. They lived a short time in Virginia, Idaho, Illinois and Ohio before settling down in Cheney, where Dorvan taught at Eastern Washington University.

Jean was asked to serve on the Cheney Public Library board of trustees, which she did for several years. When the library manager’s position opened Jean applied and won the job. She served almost 20 years.

During that time she was instrumental in starting a “Friends of the Library” group, which succeeded in building a lovely new library for the city of Cheney.

Jean and Dorvan divorced in 1992, and when she retired in 1994 she moved to Minneapolis to spend time with relatives there.

Jean and her sister spent their summers at the family lake cabin where they enjoyed bird watching.

Jean moved to Spokane in 2008 to be closer to family, and lived at Harbor Crest Retirement Community.

In 2012 she moved to Riverview Terrace Assisted Living, where she enjoyed reading and family visits.

Jean was buried at Greenwood Memorial Park on March 10 at a private family ceremony.

There is a Celebration of Life event planned for the Fourth of July.


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