North Grafton – Jean Shirley (Daignault) Whenman passed away Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at the age of 88, in Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Northborough after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jean was born March 9, 1929 in Worcester, the daughter of Lawrence Joseph Daignault and Merle Mae (Morgan) Daignault. At time of her passing, Jean was a resident of North Grafton, but had been a long-time resident of Shrewsbury.
She met her beloved husband, Walter Hamilton Whenman, in Youth Fellowship at Central Church in Worcester in 1945. Jean and Walter were married at Central Church on Sept. 13, 1952.
In addition to her husband, she leaves behind their three children, Annette Rebovich and her husband Frank of North Grafton, Craig Whenman and his wife Constance of Auburn, and Charlene Rischitelli and her husband Marc of Shrewsbury. Jean also leaves a legacy of six grandchildren, Cassandra May, Krystyn Pastor and her husband Giovanni, Joseph Rebovich, Allison Whenman, Jack Rischitelli, and Evan Rischitelli, as well as three great-grandchildren, Roxanne May, Elizabeth May and Giovanni Pastor Jr. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Nancy Hunnewell; her nephew, Roger Hunnewell, and niece, Jane Hunnewell.
Jean had a lifelong love of music. She danced throughout her childhood until the age of 16. She became an accomplished young pianist and clarinetist in the Boston and Worcester areas and was member of the Worcester Philharmonic Orchestra. Jean was also a swimmer and became involved in early days of water ballet in the YWCA of Worcester.
She attended North High School in Worcester, and in 1951 graduated from Framingham State Teachers College with a B.S. in Education majoring in Food and Nutrition.
She worked at Beth Israel Hospital, St. Vincent Hospital, Hubbard Regional Hospital, Shrewsbury Nursing Home, Holden Nursing Home, Holden Hospital, area Masonic rest homes, and many other area facilities as a teaching dietician and clinical dietician.
She was a member of, and served as an officer, in both the Central Mass. Dietetic Association and the Worcester Chapter of the Framingham State College Alumni Association. Jean also won professional awards for her work in the field of dietetics.
Jean was an active member of the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury for over 50 years where she was a Sunday School teacher, served in the Martha Circle and sang in the choir.
In addition to her lifelong love of music, she also enjoyed cooking, sewing, quilting and crafting. As an adult, Jean took organ lessons and played in her home often. She joined a weekly quilting group, and often embarked on new crafting and sewing endeavors with her friends and with her sister in law.
Jean loved spending time in the outdoors camping, hiking and cross-country skiing. Family and friends shared many memorable camping trips in tents, tent trailers and RVs to the White Mountains, Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont, Canada and down the east coast to Florida. In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, Jean and Walter drove their Roadtrek RV out west where they visited many beautiful locations including Glacier National Park.
Jean adored and took great pride in her grandchildren’s academic, arts and athletic activities. In addition to her attending their awards ceremonies, graduations, concerts, performances, football and baseball games, Jean always made sure her grandchildren had special times with their grandparents. She especially loved taking them to zoos, museums, the circus, taking her granddaughters on back to school shopping trips, and the many camping trips and other adventures she shared with her oldest grandson, as he was growing up.
As expressed by her and as exemplified by her time with us in this lifetime, Jean felt that life was meant to be lived, and that to live meant to always grow by exploring and learning.
A graveside service and Celebration of Life are being planned for Sunday, March 11. Arrangements are incomplete at this time. Complete obituary to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Music Ministry at the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, the Alzheimer’s Association, or Tower Hill in Boylston.