Farajean Colbert

Farajean Jean Colbert

1930 - 2018

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Obituary of Farajean Colbert

COLBERT, Farajean (Jean) Frances 88, died following a short illness on Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Santa Rosa, CA, surrounded by her three children. Born in Sioux City, IA on April 1, 1930, she moved to San Francisco with her parents in 1942. While she had mostly lived in California since that time she returned almost every year to Sioux City in her adult life to visit her grandparents. Always loving a good road trip, the tradition continued with her children and the annual summer pilgrimage to Iowa in the family station wagon was something the whole family looked forward to. After graduating St. Ignatius High School, Jean entered the hustle and bustle of San Francisco work life in the late 40s and 50s. At BF Shear & Company, a furniture manufacturer, she worked for the division that supported the motion picture theater industry. It was during that time that she met her husband, Richard H. (Dick) Colbert, who also worked in the film business. Farajean raised her family in the idyllic community of Terra Linda, north of San Francisco in the heart of Marin County, CA. An active mother in scouting for both boys and girls, she was, for many years, a stay-at-home mom. She was later called back to professional life, which included ownership of an antique store and also a long stint in the late '70s and early '80s working at an advertising agency owned and operated by women. She was also an advocate for social justice and participated in marches and protests particularly on LGBT and women's issues and was a volunteer with the Marin AIDS Project at a time when many avoided what was then a very controversial issue. Retirement introduced whole new areas of widening interests. She went from an admirer and small collector of dolls to a talented artisan who made porcelain dolls right in her own studio. She was also a skillful seamstress and her love of sewing and dolls fused easily. Active in the local Redwood Empire Doll & Study Club and the Santa Rosa Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, Jean was engaged in the community in ways that were both contributive and personally satisfying. Retirement also gave her the opportunity to travel and she was by any measure a prolific world traveler. She went to China the very first year it was opened to the outside world. From there her travels over the next 40 years spanned the globe. But she didn't travel alone. She was always in the company of friends and, in particular, her dear friends, Laura Less and Marge Hurwitz. Their most recent trip was to Palm Springs for ten days in January, an annual journey of theirs for many years. When she contracted Macular Degeneration in the early 2000s, new challenges arose. But even as her sight deteriorated, she remained active in her doll and sewing activities and her friends and colleagues would always gladly come to her side to help complete a hem or position a button. She was an avid bibliophile and even when she could no longer read, she was never without a book. She would listen to books on tape or on her phone, books provided by the Library of Congress. In 2015, at 85 years old, she discovered the Earle Baum Center of the Blind in Santa Rosa, CA. It was there that Farajean was catapulted into the newest and most recent phase of her active life. She used para-transit to take her on the hour-long journey to the Center where she fully participated in cooking and art classes. It was there that she learned new and important skills using technology for low sighted persons. In addition to art history and exercise classes, Jean began taking ukulele lessons at age 86 and performed occasionally with her fellow low-vision musicians at Earle Baum in a ukulele orchestra called the Uku-aliens. They were given that name not because they were from outer space but because they were 'out of sight'. She was attending classes and was fully active at Earle Baum only three weeks preceding her death. She was, as her son often described her, 'intrepid'. The family's grief and sadness are shared by so many friends in all the communities and groups with whom she was so very active. She is survived by her three children, DJ, Ritch and Mary Colbert, her grandchildren, Emma and Noah Baughman, her brother Joe Simon, niece Bridget Simon-Salampessy , nephews Joe Simon and James Colbert and son-in-law, Kenny Taylor. Farajean is held in cherished memory by the Salyers, Bryant, Brown and Petersen families. She is also mourned by her many cousins in Iowa including the Bellers and Wendts. She is predeceased by her former husband and treasured friend, Dick Colbert. A Celebration of a Life Well Lived will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at the Vintners Inn, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, CA. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Earle Baum Center of the Blind, 4539 Occidental Road Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (707) 523-3222; http://www.earlebaum.org.  Arrangements under the direction of EGGEN & LANCE FUNERAL CHAPEL, 1540 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA