Alice Jean Webber, 88, died peacefully at her home in Jackson on Oct. 3 after a courageous battle with cancer. Her family provided the following.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 27, 1932, to Thomas M. and Lois (Greene) Irvine, Alice Jean was raised in Ames, Iowa, where her father ran a local business.
Alice Jean attended Iowa State University for two years and transferred to the University of Minnesota in 1952. There she met Charles Webber at a homecoming dance. In 1953 Alice Jean, now known as Jean, married Chuck before completing her bachelor’s degree in English in 1954.
For the next 40 years Chuck and Jean made their home in Roseville, Minnesota, where they raised four daughters: Anne, Sarah, Marta and Mary. Chuck worked as an insurance broker while Jean was both an active mom in her children’s many activities and worked in retail.
Chuck and Jean loved to travel the country with their daughters, and the family’s most favorite destination was Jackson Hole.
In 1992, Chuck and Jean retired to Jackson, making it their permanent home. Jean became active in St. John’s Episcopal Church, singing in the church choir with Chuck and participating in many other church activities along with earning her EfM (Education for ministry) certificate. She also volunteered at St. John’s Hospital, working at the gift shop for many years and also becoming very active in the Women’s Auxiliary monthly luncheons, where she loved to voice her opinion on many topics.
Another favorite activity was her involvement in the weekly swim aerobics class at the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center, where she would hold court in the pool with her unique sense of humor instead of doing her exercises.
However, her favorite activity of all was being a grandmother to Esther and Isaac. She loved celebrating the holidays and their birthdays with much fanfare.
In 2002, Jean launched an esteemed career as a satirical writer, The Galloping Grandma. The biweekly quasi-autobiographical column that chronicled fictional (perhaps) dimwits from Corn Cob, Iowa, was published in Planet Jackson Hole until 2016.
Jean shared her worldview on numerous subjects like holidays, high school reunions, healthy living, marriage, camping, the Iowa State Fair and reality TV to name a few. Some of her more memorable characters were Lawanda Vogelheim, Gertrude the mama pig, Mavis Grubb, Mother Lilliboe and the Fungo brothers. Former editor of The Planet Richard Abowitz recently referred to her as a “heroic and wonderful writer.”
Jean is survived by her four daughters — Anne Webber, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Sarah Webber, of Tucson, Arizona; Marta (David) Williams, of Austin, Texas; and Mary (Judd) Grossman, of Jackson — as well as her two beloved grandchildren, Esther and Isaac Grossman.
It was with great irony that despite spending nearly 30 years in Jackson, Jean despised camping and all things relating to the great outdoors. In one of her classic Galloping Grandma columns, she summed up her opinion with the following: “I remind myself that God put the outdoors OUT for a reason, that if you’ve seen one tree you’ve seen them all, and that the sunset looks just like the sunrise, only it’s going the other way.”
A celebration of life service will be scheduled at a later date.