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Jean Lou ‘Jeanie’ Cheek, 82, won her fair share of pinochle games at New Hanover County Senior Center

Jean Lou ‘Jeanie’ Cheek

WRIGHTSBORO — Jean Lou “Jeanie” Cheek, 82, went to be with her Lord Monday evening, Jan. 27, 2020.

Jeanie was born Dec. 6, 1937, to Clifton Oscar Smith and Dorothy Ellen Wright in a log cabin in Pennington County, South Dakota.

She was preceded in death by her daddy and mamma, Clifton and Dorothy Smith; stepdad, Odin Lein; sisters, Jackie, Barbie and Judy; husband, Alvin Cheek; and daughter, Jody Cheek.

She is survived by sisters, Shirley Tomanka (Gene) and Marilyn Putman (Douglas); children, Jennifer Jones (David), Julie Wheeler (Roy) and William Cheek (Lorri); grandchildren, Kenton Cheek (Megan), Amelia Schmid (Ethan), Vanessa Risley (Matthew), Joshua Minyard, Rachel Orbistondo (Abel), Austin Wheeler (Bethany), Benjamin Jones (Carmen) and Darod Cheek; and great-grandchildren, Henrik Cheek, Gabriel Minyard, Hazel Jones, Emelyne Cheek, Keliana Orbistondo, Ezra Jones, Magnolia Cheek and Baby Wheeler.

Jeanie was the second of six girls of whom her daddy said, “I wouldn’t trade any of ’em for a million dollars, but I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for another one.” She inherited her knowledge of cooking and homemaking from her mother; knew what good food tasted like; and, more importantly, understood and used the God-given power of food to bring people together. Jeanie’s hero was her daddy, who in her words, “could do anything he set his mind to,” and was well respected by all who knew him and deeply treasured by his family.

Her intellect, quick wit, ingenuity, kind heart, generosity, at times brutal honesty, and trove of wisdom made her a formidable force for good in her family and her community. She loved to worship the Lord, learn more about Him, read, play card games, travel, garden, eat, converse, work, discuss politics and spend time with her family and friends. She was a stellar student in school. She married Alvin Ray Cheek Aug. 19, 1958, and to them, four children were born. In time, they had eight grandchildren, and so far, seven great-grandchildren.

They made their family home in what her husband affectionately called the “Canaan Land” of Deer Island, Oregon, and what she called, “our little house out on the hill.” They raised livestock, grew and canned their own food and proudly raised their babies. The favor of the Lord, her brilliant personality, incredible intelligence, and her intense work ethic made her successful as a clerk for Grinell Company, legal secretary for Hunnicutt & Smith, Attorneys at Law and co-manager of the family business of cleaning local banks. She also enjoyed a prolific career as a purchasing buyer for Boise Cascade Paper Mill in Saint Helens, Oregon.

In Oregon, she was a member of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Saint Helens and active in the Deer Island Grange. She relished her retirement in Wilmington and was every bit as active in retirement as in her career years. Locally, she was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. She spread God’s love and message all over New Hanover County with her friend, Marilyn White, as “The Sunshine Girls.” Since 2006, she dedicated many hours to the New Hanover County Board of Elections. She enthusiastically volunteered with the GRADS and won her fair share of pinochle games at the New Hanover County Senior Center.

Her greatest joy was being used by God to champion her family. Her hope was to see her descendants succeed as decent, honorable, hard-working, community-minded, patriotic citizens, but most of all, be loving followers of Christ. She will be treasured and remembered always.

Services will be held at Saturday, Feb. 1, at Fellowship Baptist Church, 5709 Murrayville Road, Wilmington. The family will receive friends at 9 a.m. with memorial services following at 10 a.m.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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