Mary Jean Denning of Big Sandy, 67, beloved wife, mother and grandma lost her valiant 4½ year battle with cancer and died March 3, 2009, at the Big Sandy Medical Center.
She was a retired director of Big Sandy Activities. The memorial service will be at 2 p. m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Big Sandy. Cremation was overseen by O’Conner Funeral Home. Survivors include her husband, Ken Denning of Big Sandy; children: Maaike, Mark, Lisa (Bill), Eric, Bob, Rick (Jeanette), Jennifer (Don), Jeremy (Wendy) and Josh; brother Paul (Kay) Zankich; and 16 grandchildren: Amanda, Jonathan, Jordan, Thomas, Daniel, Aaron, Johanna, Ariana, Michaela, Tristan, Taegn, Ravyn, Sei, Brandon, Justin and Trevor. Jean was born July 1, 1941, in Astoria, Ore., to Luke and Maaike Zankich. Jean attended schools in Seattle and won a four-year scholarship to nursing school. Jean married Ken Denning in 1979 in Big Sandy. She worked as a registered nurse for many years and later became the director at the Big Sandy Activity Center for 25 years. Jean was very active with Girl Scouts at a local and state level. She especially enjoyed leading Girl Scouts for week long canoe trips down the Missouri River. She was past president of Big Sandy Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow. She gave willingly her time to the Big Sandy community. Jean loved to travel and was able to enjoy trips to the Galapagos Islands, Baja to see the grey whales three times, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Alaska, Egypt, Israel and various parts of the United States.