Lois Jean (Schauer) Hastings died Monday, 3 May 2021 of complications from a six-year fight with pancreatic cancer. She fought with grace – an electric smile, laughter, quiet unobtrusive courage, loving faith, hope, humor, and humility.
Jean, the second of two daughters of Monroe “Monty” and Lois Schauer, was born on March 3, 1944, in Bozeman, Montana. She was the product of loving parents, the Bozeman community, good friends and great schools (Longfellow, Emerson, and Bozeman Senior High). Jean met her husband-to-be, Eric, at age 15 and five years later they were married. Together for the next 57 years, they enjoyed a life marked by service: service to the numerous communities that they lived in, to God, this Nation and to countless veterans. Immediately after their wedding, they headed to Pensacola, Florida, for Eric’s Naval Flight training. Happily, a Navy flight surgeon took all the new Navy and Marine wives aside and forcefully espoused the concept that: as a Marine pilot, her husband might die an undeserved and premature death and prove not to have “The Right Stuff” if she sent him to fly disturbed by an argument, or horrors if she failed to fix him a hearty breakfast every day. Thirty years later, after multiple deployments, wars, and 29 moves across the country and overseas, Jean finally figured out that the doctor might not have been right and that just maybe, Eric wasn’t automatically right, and must be able to do something by himself! She no longer turned over the car keys and the checkbook automatically upon his return. After 30 years of active service, Jean and Eric initially retired to New York City in 1994 for Eric to attend music school. Yet still, she continued to cook breakfast (old habits are hard to break) in a tiny 4th-floor apartment on Roosevelt Island, Manhattan with battleship gray egg-shell sound baffles stuck to the ceiling and walls to mute the incessant sound.
Through it all, Jean was humble, smiling, and devoted to making others happy. Her talents were swiftly recognized and put to work as a Deacon of the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in NYC and as a Bible Study Fellowship Leader. She was an inveterate reader—eager to share her broad array of books with anyone and everyone everywhere. The churches she attended across America were rendered more capable because of her presence and service among them. Servicemembers from every Branch and of all ranks knew the magnetism of her quiet leadership by example and her genuine, infectious laughter and smile. Her service proved so effective and inspirational, it was officially recognized by a Commandant of the Marine Corps and several Flag and General Officers from the Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. She set such a good example that both of their sons and their respective families have devoted their lives to serving the Marine Corps, God, and Country.
Active duty, veterans and wounded warriors across all branches of our nation’s armed forces, along with their spouses, were equally rewarded through her servant’s attitude and her efforts to feed their bodies and their souls, from formal dinners for Flag-rank Officers to multi-course meals for warriors, spouses and volunteers—always ending with fresh chocolate chip cookies.
After 34 years, they added a final move back to their original home of Bozeman where Jean led Eric in becoming serial entrepreneurs by establishing multiple veteran-focused organizations. The Aspiring Big Sky Airmen Foundation; the Daedalian Flight #121 “Joe Foss” Skyhawks; and the Gallatin Skyhawk Scholarship Foundation continue to support the Gallatin Valley and veterans young and old due to Jean’s support. However, it was on a fishing trip to Canada where Jean conceptually saw an opportunity to profoundly help Post-9/11 traumatically injured servicemembers, spouses and families by “lead(ing) them beside quiet waters” to the “river of God” through exposure to the natural beauty, joy, hope and serenity to be found on Montana’s pristine trout fishery. This “opportunity” became Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation. Jean’s foundational and developmental work with Warriors and Quiet Waters continues to impact the current care for warriors and spouses during their week in Montana. Her life was quietly, unobtrusively and truly: “purpose-driven”!
On Thursday, April 22nd, the staff & board members along with fellow volunteers, and “Moms” associated with the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, and with many of Jean’s friends and relatives present, hosted her at Quiet Waters Ranch in Springhill for a special ceremony to dedicate the “Jean Hastings Memorial Garden”. With typical humility, she didn’t want to go and be the center of “undeserved” attention. But she was reluctantly persuaded. The “Garden”, conceived by a former Board Chair and the Executive Director, and designed by a landscape architect, will be constructed and unveiled later this summer.
The Lord’s timing proved exquisite as she was admitted to the hospital with a substantial blockage early Friday morning, 23 April and after four days, Jean came home under the constant care of her husband, her two sons, Chris and Kelly, and her extended family.
Jean’s family was abundantly blessed by her unrelenting love, good humor, and good will. Jean is survived by Eric, her husband, their two sons, Chris (April) and Kelly (Shannon) Hastings and their families, totaling four wonderful grandchildren, (Sierra, Shelby, Emma, and Westley). Her children, grandchildren, and daughters-in-law were all precious to her, as she dispensed equal love to all.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Warriors and Quiet Water’s “Jean Hastings Memorial Garden”, supporting spouses, their warriors, and their families, can be sent to WQW Foundation at 351 Evergreen Dr. Ste A. Bozeman MT 59715 or online at: www.warriorsandquietwaters.org/garden/ [warriorsandquietwaters.org]
Or to fellow BUMC members the “Wilkinson Family Foundation” supporting El Salvadoran children.
A live Memorial Service in the Church will be held with slides of her life experiences beginning at 10:30 AM, then with the service beginning at 11:00 AM on Friday, 14 May 2021 at Bozeman United Methodist Church, 121 So. Willson Ave.
Services can also be viewed from afar through a link to the live event also starting at 10:30 at: http://www.bozemanumc.org/live/ [bozemanumc.org]. The live, introductory slide show will play in order to welcome attendees to the Memorial. If further instructions to connect are needed, please call Dokken-Nelson at (406) 587-3184. Tribute and comments can be left on the Dokken-Nelson website at: https://www.dokkennelson.com/obituaries/Jean-Hastings?obId=20990532#/obituaryInfo [dokkennelson.com]