Jean E. Sermon Payne Richins, formerly of Idaho Falls and Jackson, died peacefully Sept. 23 in her apartment at Prairie Landing Care Center in Folsom, California, following a year of declining health. She was 92.
Her family provided the following.
Jean was born March 6, 1927, to Henry Sermon Jr. and Louise Elizabeth Bush Sermon on the family farm on Willow Creek in Ririe, Idaho. She was brought up on the farm with three older brothers, Wayne, Frank and Robert, and an older sister, Rita. She attended schools in Shelton, Idaho, and later transferred to Ririe for two years.
In December 1940, when Jean was 13, her father suddenly passed away. When running the farm became too much for her mother, Jean encouraged her to move to Idaho Falls, where Jean graduated in 1945 from Idaho Falls High School.
While Jean was still in high school she met Lowell Payne. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and was shipped off to Italy during World War II for three years of service. When Lowell was sent stateside again he proposed to Jean. She said “yes” and boarded a train in Idaho Falls. He met her at the train station, and they were married on Aug. 11, 1945, in Clayton, New Mexico.
Jean and Lowell had five children. Danny, Sharlene, Michael and Gloria were born in Idaho Falls, and Kelly was born after their 1967 move to Jackson.
In Jackson they purchased a beautiful home on the hillside overlooking the town. There Jean was able to enjoy her grandchildren when they arrived. She had time to pursue her interests, such as astrology and astronomy. She was VFW Girls State Chairman and was involved in Edgar Casey Studies, Teton County Homemakers, the 500 Birthday Club and the Historical Society.
Lowell and Jean were married for 45 years when Lowell unexpectedly passed away in March 1990. Jean continued to live in the hillside home that she loved and remained active in the community.
She had been widowed for three years when, in 1993, she married longtime Jackson resident Howard Walters. He was the caretaker for the Flying Goose Guest Ranch up the Gros Ventre on Lower Slide Lake, where she enjoyed their time together. When he passed away five years later, Jean returned to her hillside home.
In 2001 she renewed an old friendship with Mike Richins when they met again in Overton, Nevada, during the winter. They were married June 14, 2002. They spent five happy years together between Overton in the winter and Idaho Falls in the summer. Mike passed away in 2008 from cancer.
After Mike passed away Jean moved to Folsom to be near her sons, Danny and Kelly, and their families for the final years of her life. She lived at Creekside Retirement Center and later moved to Prairie Landing Care Center. With her gifted ability to make new friends quickly and make people feel comfortable, she was soon enjoying life again.
When Jean turned 90, Kelly and Michelle hosted a Hawaiian luau in their home in Folsom. All of her surviving children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended to celebrate a life that was well-lived. It was a beautiful time of celebration for her and for her descendants.
She is survived by her children, Sharlene (Allen) Budge, of Thayne; Michael Payne, of Saint George, Utah; Kelly (Michelle) Payne, of Folsom; Marilyn Richins (Vance) Nelson, of Ucon, Idaho; grandchildren Casey Payne, Jeremy Budge, Stacy Saunders, Shannon White, Malory Payne, Sophia Payne and Sienna Payne; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Jean was preceded in death by her husbands, Lowell Payne, Howard Walters, and Mike Richins; son Danny (Barbara) Payne; daughter Gloria Payne; grandson Jason Budge; her parents; brothers Wayne, Frank and Bob Sermon; and sister Rita Casper.
A celebration of life was held Oct. 13 for family and friends at Kelly and Michelle’s home. There will be a springtime burial service at Ririe-Shelton Cemetery and a celebration of life at her grandson Jeremy (Sara) Budge’s home in Jackson. The family will announce the date in the late spring of 2020.