Jaralene Mary Spring passed away during the evening of her 73rd birthday on February 22nd following a five and a half year struggle with cancer. She will be sorely missed by her dear friends and family and by those who knew her through her community activities.
Jaralene was the middle of three sisters born to Clifford and Dorothy Craig. She grew up in Northeast Portland in the embrace of a large extended family that worked, played, fished and went summer camping together. From infancy, she was called “Cherry,” a nickname that prevailed until her 30s and is still used lovingly by family and very long-term friends. After graduating from Madison High School in 1962, she attended the University of Puget Sound, where she majored in Education and met Tom Spring. They married just after she graduated in 1966.
After a year in Seattle, where Jaralene taught second grade and Tom finished his graduate program at the UW, they entered the Peace Corps and served for two years in rural Brazil organizing a system of agricultural youth clubs like 4-H. It was an exciting time for both, resulting in good work, lasting friendships and a solid bond between the two of them. Upon return to Seattle, they started a family, with the arrival of daughter Cynthia in 1970 and son Craig two years later. The family moved from a “starter” house in North Seattle to large old home on Queen Anne Hill. Jaralene loved the child-raising years and savored memories of that time for the rest of her life.
When the kids started school, Jaralene returned to teaching but eventually followed her dream to work in the mental health field. She attended night classes and eventually earned a Master’s in Counseling from Seattle University and set up a private practice in psychotherapy. Her personal strengths of perceptiveness, empathy and wisdom combined with her training to serve her well in her career, which she pursued for two decades. She touched many lives during her career.
Tom and Jaralene both retired in 2004 and moved to Vashon, where they had been coming for several years to see and help care for their grandchildren (Iris, Isaiah and Seamus). Energized by their new freedom and new home, they developed a large garden, which Jaralene designed, with Tom pushing the wheelbarrow. And they embraced — and were embraced by— their new community. Jaralene became a leader in the Vashon Garden Club and a volunteer in the schools. She brought her creative energy to many other activities and along the way formed strong friendships with interesting and stimulating people. She valued time for creative expression and viewed the world through the eyes of an artist. Even after her cancer diagnosis in 2011 she remained engaged with her friends and her community activities, but gradually that tapered off as her disease and her treatment claimed more of her energy. For the first time in her life she was physically unable to do what she wanted. That loss was as painful to her as the cancer itself. “I loved my life,” she said recently. “And the people in it.”
There will be a memorial service for Jaralene at Camp Burton Conference Center, 9326 SW Bayview Drive, at 1:00 on Sunday, April 9, 2017. In lieu of flowers, Jaralene suggested donations in her memory to the Vashon Community Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 1413, Vashon, WA 98070.
Please visit our online guest book at www.islandfuneral.com.