Jean R. Riley Davis

Death:Saturday, May 16, 2009
Ogle Co, Illinois

OREGON - Jean R. Davis, 92, long-time Oregon resident and recently of Evanston, passed away on Saturday May 16, 2009. She was born Feb. 5, 1917 in Galena to Mary O'Neill Riley and John T. Riley and joyfully united in marriage to Kenneth E. Davis of Byron on June 6, 1942 in Dubuque, Iowa. Ken died Dec. 16, 1995. Jean graduated from Galena High School and Bayless Business College in Dubuque and was employed by H & W Motor Express as Office Manager until her marriage. As a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Oregon since 1942 she served many years as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector and Minister of Care, taking Communion to the homebound. God, family and community were her priorities, in that order. Jean and Ken moved to Oregon in 1944. In 1954 they founded Town & Country, a women's apparel shop. She produced and presented 30 fashion shows, all benefitting local service organizations. The couple retired from business in 1975 and then Jean worked for several years as a secretary for the Oregon Park District. Jean loved Oregon and when a community need called she answered! In the late 1950's she worked with the OCHS Board successfully promoting public support for a referendum to finance construction of the new high school. Following a series of drownings at the Oregon dam, Jean solicited merchants for supplies and gathered volunteers in her garage to construct warning signs which the IL Dept. of Conservation placed strategically along the river. When Warmolt's Clinic/Hospital closed in 1969 Oregon was left with only one physician with hospital privileges. Jean formed "Lifeline" whose purpose was threefold: to recruit additional doctors through a Physicians' Search Committee; to provide first-aid classes to the community; and to provide personal medical information sheets to be used by residents in an emergency. Over 600 of these hospital-approved medical data sheets were distributed throughout the area and the first-aid classes were such a success that she went on to become a first-aid instructor to meet class demand. Jean was honored by the Oregon Chamber of Commerce in 1970 with the "Mustard Seed" award for her community efforts and in 1977 she was honored by KSB Hospital and Medical Center, Dixon with a full page "Thank You" in the Dixon Telegraph under the heading "People Helping People". It was then that Warmolt's Clinic was re-opened, staffed by KSB Hospital. She accepted a position on the Board of KSB Hospital, the first non-Dixon resident asked to serve. Before retiring from the hospital board in 1988 with a Distinguished Service Award, Jean served on the Executive, Public Relations and Personnel Committees and was credited with the formation of the Hospital's Respite Care program which provided relief for care givers. When Jean began at the Oregon Park District, she worked hard to convince voters to annex the new Byron Nuclear Plant. The effort was successful, with the annexation adding much needed financial resources to Park District funds. In 1985, she was honored by the Oregon Chamber of Commerce as its first (Premier) Citizen of the Year for her efforts to bring medical help to Oregon. The Oregon City Council proclaimed September 14, 1996 as "Jean Davis Day" in honor of her many community efforts. That same day the newly constructed KSB Center for Health Services was formally dedicated to Jean in appreciation for her efforts to bring health services to Oregon. She was so proud of the new medical facilities she often referred to it as Oregon's "Crown Jewel". At the death of her husband, who was an avid reader, she and her family established the "Ken Davis Oregon Library Memorial", which has enabled the library to purchase hundreds of children's books and tapes. For over ten years she made twice weekly visits to the Oregon Health Care Center, visiting with residents and giving hugs to those who needed one. Jean was a member of many local organizations including Catholic Daughters of America, "Chums"(a volunteer group working with 4th graders), the KSB Auxiliary Guild, OCSS, Arts Alliance and Oregon Chamber of Commerce. However she was not as much a "joiner" as a "doer", preferring to recognize a need and working to solve it. Survivors include her loving family: daughter, Jeanie (Bob) Quinn, granddaughters, Kelly (Brian) Bell and Kerry Quinn; sisters-in-law, Viola Riley and Betty Riley;many nieces and nephews; and her extended family of the administration and staff of KSB Hospital in Dixon, the KSB Center for Health Services in Oregon and The Highlands of Evanston. Predeceased by her husband, parents, 6 year old sister Helen, and brothers Owen and Richard. Christian Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00am Friday May 22 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Oregon, with Rev. Richard Kramer, pastor, as celebrant. Burial in Riverview Cemetery, Oregon. Visitation Thursday 6:00 - 8:00pm in Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, Oregon, with an 8:00pm Rosary Service. Jean's wish was that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois. Dear to Jean's heart this private non-profit group has provided a "Home Away From Home" for our military since 1941. Memorial contributions may be sent to USO of Illinois c/o Jeanie Quinn, 628 Isabella Street, Wilmette, IL, 60091.

Source: Mortuary Obit

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