Jean Ahlstrom Trey

Honored by:Elly Wynia
Brick location:E:25  map

Jean is my mother-in-law and I have had the privilege of knowing and loving her for 13 years. When I first met Jean I was 20 and had never met anyone of her generation who had gone to college. I was deeply impressed by the fact that not only had she gone to school at a young age but that after a couple of years of teaching decided to further her education by going to Iowa State. She always spoke proudly of her time at Iowa State and loved the classes she took there. It was soon after that she then found the man of her dreams and decided to have another career of raising three children. Jean has always valued education and is an avid mystery book fan. She has also taught a lot of Sunday School classes and women's bible study groups. She has been very active in her community of Parkersburg, Iowa while always ensuring that her children knew that she was their mother over and above anything else. It has been Jeans love for children, dedication to education and sticking by her husband despite disagreements that has been a constant guiding force in my life.

I was a young person when I met Jean and it was due to her strength of character as a woman that she served as a strong role model for me in encouraging me to get a BA. Years later I obtained a BA and went on to get a MSW from the University of Chi ago. Her love, encouragement and constant listening ear is what partly enabled me to acquire the degrees I did while raising a young daughter and nurturing a relationship with her son, George, who eventually obtained a Ph.D. from Loyola U. in Philosophy. It is because of Jean’s love for children that I was able to continue to be a good mother as she gently showed me ways of nurturing that I had never been taught. Finally, I am a good cook and even though Jean never sat down and taught me she invoked in me a strong sense of good health and nutrition while having fun in the kitchen I now make many meals which my family enjoys and many friends of ten call me for baking, cooking, and canning instructions.

Jean is my friend, mentor, and inspiration. Jean would be touched to know how deeply I respect her. I have tried to let her know over the years that I love her dearly and admire her chosen path. I often think that she does not truly understand all her gifts (she is also an accomplished seamstress and has given that talent to her two daughters ... tried with me but I am truly not able) and the gentleness in which she has touched so many people. It is because of Jean that she has children, grandchildren and in- laws who adore her and many friends and neighbors who genuinely enjoy having conversation and coffee with her. I hope that before Jean leaves this planet to again be with her husband (who died much too young last year) that she will understand the impact she has made and is making on many people's lives including mine. When I saw last summer that you were engraving women's names in bricks to be commemorated I knew that JEAN TREY needed to be etched in stone as well. I am looking forward to having her name laid down in granite and hope that in years to come her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will walk over the brick and it will stir up memories of a dear lady who knew how to love and loved fiercely.

Jean graduated from ISU in 1951 with a BS in Home Economics. She started her teaching career after graduating from Iowa State Teachers college with a two year degree. At that time, one only had to have two years college in order to teach elementary grades. She taught first at Lakota, third and fourth grades for three years. She then taught at Pocahontas before returning to college to get a four year degree. She taught Home Economics at Durant and then at Parkersburg.

Submitted on 10/31/91