In loving memory of Jean Phyllis Marsh who sadly passed away on 25th September 2020
It was Jean’s wish to have donations and not flowers. With the proceeds going to Little Haven Nursing Home in Dibden Purlieu. The nursing staff looked after Jean during her last few months. Jean’s family will work with the nursing home to buy something with the donations raised to help the carers and residents.
Should you wish to make a donation please use the link below:
Born 5th February 1957
Mum, Daisy Edwards
Dad, Austin Leonard Charles Edwards
Jean was born the youngest of 8, with brothers Michael, David, Leonard and Ron and Sisters Maralyn, Jenny and Sue – so she was used to having lots of people around her. They lived at 39 Rossington Avenue in Bitterne.
In her school years Jean went to Glenfield Infants school and Bitterne Park. On one memorable day Jean and one of her school friends hid in the bushes at the end of the road to avoid school because of the school bully. Once her little escapade was discovered, big sister Sue looked after her and took care of the issue and Jean was never bullied again.
When she was very young, Holidays were often day trips to the seaside on the train to Southsea. Later her Mum and dad used to hire a chalet, called Ces-e-Bon at Mudeford beach. The chalet holidays were fun with other family members often hiring chalets at the same time.
Jean had a lot of experience with children and often volunteered for babysitter duties for nieces and nephews which she loved.
When Jean left school she went to work at Jennings Toy shop, below bar, in Southampton where she met Lin, her lifelong friend. They were a bad influence on each other and one summer when sunbathing on the roof they heard a noise below and saw the Manager, Mr Jennings, parking his car. They dashed about and only just got back into the shop without him seeing them by the skin of their teeth, as it was his office they used to get onto the roof.
44 years ago Jean attended a function at the Southampton Guildhall when Steve, who was only there to help a friend set up the disco, saw Jean. By the end of the evening they had agreed to their first date which incidentally was a babysitting evening looking after Debbie, Lin and Gary. Jean and Steve’s relationship developed quickly.
Jean has always had wonderful effect on people. Steve’s Dad never ever made tea, he would come home from work and would wait for the first person to come through the door and ask them to make him a cup of tea. One day Steve could not pick up Jean from work, as he often did, and on this occasion they were going out in the evening and Jean was going to get ready at Steve’s Mum and Dad’s flat, so his Dad said, “I’ll pick Jean up”. So Steve’s Dad, Bill picked Jean up from work, drove her to their flat and for the first time ever, made a cup of tea for someone.
Jean and Steve grew closer together and the time came when Steve had to ask one question. He wanted the love of his life to become his wife. True, it was not the most romantically planned occasion, but Steve had to ask the question… Jean walked away laughing, assuming Steve was joking as he so often did. A few days later when Steve asked again, she threw her arms around him saying yes yes yes. Steve asked Jean’s father if he could have his permission to marry his daughter. ‘Father’, as everyone called him thought it was rather old fashioned but of course said yes.
Jean had one stipulation to being married, her desire to have her own house was strong. She wanted a house to move into after the pending wedding, it was a dream of hers. A dream she turned into a reality. Steve was a spendthrift and useless with money and asked Jean to take his wage packets and control his spending. With her savings and control of their expenditure in two years they had saved enough to obtain a mortgage on their first home in Marchwood.
On the 2nd of June 1979 they were married in Bitterne Church, on a day that started off raining but later in the morning the sun shone on them, and it continued to do so for the rest of the day. 41 years later Steve looks back on some amazing times they shared.
When they had discovered that the first home at Marchwood was more a hotel than a home, they decided to move back to Southampton where they spent most evenings. They moved to 192 Athelstan Road in Bitterne on a rather steep hill. The house was everything they could ask for. Bay fronted, 3 bed, the ideal place to start their family and they did so.
During her first pregnancy when Jean was 6 months and 2 weeks she miscarried twin boys, it was a devastating time and Jean kept blaming herself, but she had nothing to blame herself for. Shortly afterwards Jenny and Rob visited and someone decided that Jean needed cheering up and the film ‘Blazing Saddles’ was selected.
The campfire scene in the film had Jean crying with both laughter and pain. That scene made her laugh so much she had tears in her eyes. At the same time, the stitches from the minor operation she had after the miscarriage were giving her pain from all the laughter. The pain made her want to cry and at the same time her stomach hurt from all the laughing. Steve and Jean often reflected on their loss and the campfire scene effect on her.
Jean was told to make sure she left it at least a year before trying for another child. Jean being Jean was determined to have things her way, in fact just over a year after the miscarriage Jean and Steve celebrated one of the most perfect moments in their lives, Kelly was born, weighing 9lb and with a full head of black hair.
When Kelly was 1 year and 9 months, Jean and Steve moved into their forever home. Together they made many changes to the original house making it what it is today. The house is a wonderful reminder of Jean’s love, and her influence on making a house a home.
Jean’s Mum, Daisy and Father spent many days at their new home helping Jean and Steve get things sorted. The day they moved in they found the house had been cleared… not even a lightbulb had been left. Daisy spent time with Jean and Beryl, Steve’s Mum, sorting out furniture and household things and Father spent hour after hour in the garden.
Jean invited Steve’s Mum to live with them when they were at Athelstan road. The bond between them was strong and they had a live-in babysitter (result). Kelly had two strong women in the house whilst growing up which she loved. Jean and Beryl did everything together; shopping, housework, and the odd tipple (or four) on lazy sunny afternoons in the garden.
In Beryl’s later years she developed Dementia and Jean became her carer for over 5 years. Jean was heartbroken when the time came for Beryl to be taken care of in a nursing home.
Jean has always loved animals and there have been a few. Lucky the cat, they found in a bush in a pub carpark. Brindle, a Yorkshire Terrier who they inherited when Beryl moved in and he got on well with Lucky, although she teased him regularly. After Brindle passed, we had Budweiser who became Bud after a short time – he was a rather lovely Shih Tzu. Then a pair of Westies, Bailey and Barney came onto the scene. Her last dog was Bentley, a Havanese, named so that Steve could finally say “We have a Bentley” and in keeping with her want to have all the dog names beginning with B.
The family enjoyed many holidays abroad. As Jean got older, she became more of a home body and preferred holidaying in the UK. Often in cottages or hotels and one in an especially memorable apartment at Westward Hoe overlooking the beach.
The family had some lovely times as Kelly grew, went through school years, onto college, and then graduating from Southampton University. Jean was immensely proud of her daughter. There was a day that Jean had wondered if she was ever going to experience. She longed for the day she would become a Nanny. With Kelly and James both working, and the fact they had moved into a larger house together they wondered when they may become Grandparents. In 2018 when Kelly told her mum she was going to become ‘Nanny’ Jean was so happy, proud and excited all at the same time.
On the 4th of January 2019 Ivy was born and changed their lives forever. Ivy was very close to her Nanny. It was not uncommon for her Grandad to open the door to let them in and Ivy would breeze past him and on to hug Nanny. It was always a heart-warming moment. Nanny certainly loved her granddaughter and loved spending time with her. Jean’s favourite time of year was Christmas, the build-up, music, decorations, Christmas trees and the day itself was always wonderful. Christmas 2019 got even better as Ivy spent her first Christmas day at Nanny and Granddads and it was very special.
Boxing Day was also special to Jean since she was old enough to understand the time, celebrations and the emotion. Boxing Day was the day when the family gathered at her Mum and Dad’s. Brothers and Sisters with their children filled the day with fun and games. Even after Steve and Jean were married, Boxing Day was always reserved for the day at her parents. It was a day when the adults played with the toys each child bought with them with the children trying to get their toys back. The noise level was, loud, and wonderful, children playing, adults talking, eating and drinking Christmas fare. A beautiful time that has been held as a special day for Jean and Steve every year, with friends visiting and having cold meat and chips with all the trimmings which made Jean feel so very happy.
In early 2020 things started to change. A condition that had been stable for a few years started to deteriorate and in June, Jean was admitted to hospital for two weeks and was not allowed visitors due to the pandemic. It was a very difficult time. A short time after Jean had been discharged from hospital she was readmitted into intensive care as the Liver and Kidney failure started to take its toll.
Jean’s bravery and courage shone at a very difficult time when she was told that her condition had deteriorated, and the hospital were going to commence palliative care. Jean accepted the pathway and her destiny with bravery, courage and grace.
Palliative care began in hospital where Steve and Kelly could visit daily. And her Sisters and Brothers were eventually allowed to visit too. On the 6th of August Jean was transferred to Little Haven a Nursing Home situated just across the road from the family home.
Jean settled in very well with the help from the amazing staff, who quickly showed how professional and caring they were. In the 7 weeks Jean was there she became close to several staff members and them to her as well. Too many to mention all but Lisa, Lauren, Keri and Donna are some of the people Jean became closest to. Dave who is responsible for the maintenance of the facility also made Jean's time special and one day, when a small amount of water was accidently spilt over her, Dave walked past the room and saw what happened and burst into action to get help, so caring. Jean laughed over the issue. On one occasion when Jean needed cheering up the team burst into action with hugs and smiles and some lovely photographs with the staff surrounding her.
Whilst Steve and Kelly could visit daily, Juliet, the manager suggested that they could take Ivy in to see Nanny for a special visit to lift her spirts. This made a huge difference and Jean was so excited to see her granddaughter. Bentley was also allowed to visit which continued to cheer Jean up. All the staff took to him instantly and he loved all the attention. On a few occasions he escaped to visit the lady next door, you could hear the excitement when she saw him, and those little expeditions always made Jean smile.
On the 25th of September 2020 Jean’s journey came to an end and she is finely at peace. It is hoped she has been reunited with her Mum, Father and Beryl. She will be forever in our hearts and greatly missed.
Jean Phyllis Marsh
5th of February 1957 – 25th September 2020