Jean Meister Vinyard went home to be with her Lord and Savior on May 1st, 2021 in Montrose Colorado.
She was born on a farm south of Alamosa Colorado near La Jara on December 16, 1931 to Delbert Meister and Elizabeth O'Toole Meister. When she was seven the family moved to Durango for her younger sister's health. The two girls were raised by their mother during their teen years, where Jean was active in Rainbow Girls and the high school band, playing the clarinet. She enjoyed learning and school very much but saw no financial pathway to college. During the summer before her senior year she came up with a plan. With the help of her mother and sister, Jean went out each night collecting night crawlers-hundreds of them. By filling old tin cans (collected from the dump) with worms, she was able to sell them for fishing bait to the local sporting goods store. During the day she worked as a soda jerk at the town drugstore. Between the two jobs she was able to save enough money to go to Adams State College after graduating from Durango High School in 1949.
At Adams State she took a job at the registrar's office because of her proficient, if not legendary, typing skills. As a senior she took the job of secretary to the president of the college while graduating with honors with a double major in English and Business. During her years there she met Jerry Vinyard, also a student. They were married shortly after graduation in 1953. Jerry was drafted into the army soon after their wedding, so they made Manhattan KS, Baltimore MD and finally San Francisco CA their home where their daughter, Jan, was born in 1954.
Once the Army stint was over, Jerry went to dental school at Washington University in St. Louis MO while Jean worked as an executive assistant in an engineering firm. Their son, Jeff, was born there in 1960. Jean made a decision to follow Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior while living in St Louis. Upon graduation in 1961, they moved to Wickenburg on a suggestion from a fellow dental classmate.
Although Jean loved the Colorado mountains, snowy winter weather and fishing high mountain streams, she was always one to adapt and make the most of every opportunity. She soon loved the desert and called Wickenburg home for most of the next sixty years.
She taught English, journalism, typing and shorthand for 5 years at the high school. However most of her working years were spent in the dental office as an assistant, receptionist and bookkeeper. She also taught Sunday school, led a Girl Scout troop, worked at Christian Youth Action camps, led young women's Bible studies for many years and actively worked behind the scenes at many events at First Presbyterian and then Calvary Baptist.
Jean became interested in bicycling in her mid fifties when a group of cyclists known as Wandering Wheels came through town. Jeff went off to Taylor University the next fall, where the cycling group was headquartered and Jean and Jerry were "hooked". She completed three coast-to-coast bike trips, one on a tandem, and then helping as part of the support staff for two more trips. Later she hosted and fed large groups of Wandering Wheels groups, becoming their oasis in the desert while traveling through Arizona. After retirement she and Jerry taught for six years in a Christian school for Navajo children. In their mid seventies they returned to Wickenburg, living in Palm Drive Mobile Home Park. Her last great adventure was a raft trip down the Colorado River, having hiked it in her forties as a Girl Scout leader. Jean was a woman of noble character, strong faith, diligent and industrious in every pursuit, inquisitive, an avid Bible student and faithful in her love of God and family. She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister Joan Metz, her husband of 62 years, Jerry Vinyard and a grandson Matt Inman. She is survived by Jeff (Narlynn) Vinyard and Jan (Lowell) Inman as well as eight grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 12th at 1:00 PM at the Calvary Baptist Church at 930 N. Tegner St. in Wickenburg.