Memories of how an individual affects you is a cornerstone of understanding the merit and impact of the individual.
Jeannette conjures many loving memories and stories, each precious and vivid. She was a mom, a grandma, a lover, a friend, a businesswoman, a collector, a Cajun Zydeco dance enthusiast, a hiker, camper, and biker.
Regardless of what role or activity she was engaged in, her underpinning nature was basically frugal.
Garage sales were an extension of her nature and one of her favorite activities — getting beautiful "deals" for herself and others gave her great joy. She was serious about garage sales and planned efficiently on how to make it to all local sales every week. If she was taking a road trip, and saw a garage sign it would never be passed by, regardless of how difficult it may be to transport her treasures home.
This hobby lent itself well to another love of hers – Victorian Era Antiques. She would frequently visit antique shops wherever she was. She refurbished more than three homes to their original loveliness. She would find molding, hardware, household furnishes and use it to create authentic restorations of these homes. The restoration of her home received a historic preservation award.
Antiquing created some spectacular collections both for herself and her children. She got her children looking for glass candy containers and dolls so they would enjoy antiquing with her.
After working in insurance for 20 years, Jeannette started Wilson Insurance in 1994. As her business grew, you all got to see her grandsons grow through her weekly ads in the newspaper. She became very successful and was able to grow her business substantially because of the special care she gave her clients; each insurance client was important to her, and she felt it her duty to try to save them money on their premiums. She would review the client’s needs and search for the best coverage. Her clients demonstrated unwavering loyalty to her, and her company and Safeco honored her with the Award of Excellence year after year.
In 1981 she met the love of her life, Walt Engel at a park and recreation folk dance. In the 15 years they had together, they spent all free time sailing, visiting with fellow artists, dancing, and hiking. As we all know, Jeannette did not cook, but Walt did. Gone was her chocolate and popcorn diet now replaced with fine cuisine and, of course, wine. None of us can forget her lovely "boxes of wine" in the fridge. Sad to say peer pressure may have influenced her to change to bottles.
Her love of dancing led to the creation of monthly local Zydeco dances which brought in well-known musicians who often would say that the venue created was one of the best and most enjoyable. They were astounded that people danced and had fun!
In addition to the local dances she went to New Orleans to dance Zydeco; participated in dance cruises, one was a Washington ferry overnight dance through the San Juans Islands; and often could be found in Seattle or Bremerton if a dance was advertised.
Jeanette was open for adventure; regardless. As we all know, many of the adventures did not have the most favorable outcome, but they were always fun and entertaining. And remembering them makes us all smile, just because we were traveling with her.
Jeannette was born Nov. 9, 1944, in Port Townsend, Washington to Lester and Charlotte Leischner. She graduated from Port Townsend High School in 1963. She married Walter (Jim) Wilson; they later divorced. They had two children, Steve and Amy.
She leaves behind her son Steve and daughter Amy Khile (Terry); grandchildren Ezra Wilson, Austin Khile (Alycia) and Keegan Khile; her brother, Gary Leischner (Barbara and son Garrett); sisters Madeleine Thompson (son, Rick; daughter Denise Arey), Holly Blankenship (sons Jonathan, Ryan, Jesse), Gaye Baker (J.C), and Verna Llyod ( sons William and Stephen).
She was preceded in death by her parents; the love of her life Walt Engel; and her grandson Ian Wilson.
Jeannette Wilson passed away on Sept. 18, 2022, holding her daughter’s hand. She had been afflicted and battling with Alzheimer’s disease for three years.
Please join us to celebrate Jeannette’s life at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at North Beach Park.