Edna Eugenia (“Jean”) Okey, 92, passed away peacefully of natural causes. Jean went to her eternal rest on Thursday, February 9, 2023, with her family at her bedside in her last moments. Despite a long period of declining health, her spirit and determination endured all her life.
Born January 13, 1931, Jean grew up in Graham, North Carolina. She earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Arts Education from North Carolina Women’s College in Greensboro, NC. She taught Art and Social Studies for many years in various public schools in North Carolina and Virginia. She left teaching and moved to Burlington, NC in 1987, after the death of her daughter, Christine, to raise her granddaughter, Stephanie. In 2021, fulfilling a life-long dream of living “on the beach”, she relocated to an independent living facility in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, where she could be near her son, Alan, and his wife, Nancy.
Jean had a strong Christian faith and was the family historian. She made friends wherever she went—she never met a stranger. Jean was fiercely independent—becoming the owner of her first home when she was in her 80’s—despite the concerns of her family. Jean had a love of all things beautiful: paintings, architecture, and gardens/landscapes, and she had an endless collection of seashells and sand dollars. She loved flowers: azaleas, gardenias, and dogwoods; and birds: chickadees and cardinals. She was a self-proclaimed movie buff. Some of her favorite films included: Gone with the Wind, Somewhere in Time, Steel Magnolias, The Man From Snowy River, and Where the Red Fern Grows.
Jean was preceded in death by her daughter, Christine Anderson, in 1987 (who was living in Florida at the time of her death); her parents, Edna Okey Paschal and Joe Okey, and her brothers and sisters, Joe Okey, Jr., Lou Tutterow, and Josephine Phillips.
Jean is survived by her son, Alan Trojan and his wife Nancy of Sunset Beach, NC; granddaughter Stephanie Cutler, her husband Ian, great-grandson, Cameron Cutler, all of Bountiful, Utah, and many nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews, all across the U.S.
Jean’s wishes were to be cremated and interred in the Yorke family plot in Concord, NC. There will be a simple graveside service at the time of interment. Details for interment at still in development, but the family is planning for a Celebration of Life in early April.
Our family wishes to thank the staff at Arbor Landing in Ocean Isle Beach, NC for their care and assistance of Jean, especially over the last month when her health began to rapidly decline. Our family also wishes to thank Lower Cape Fear Lifecare (a hospice facility) for their assistance, prompt care, and compassion during Jean’s final days. In true fashion, until her final days, Jean made many friends with both residents and staff, playing bridge and participating with the arts and crafts department, who were able to keep her actively painting and crafting during her stay.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Jean’s name to your favorite charity, church, or arts council near you, or to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (formerly Women’s College- North Carolina University).
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