Jean Frances Halfant
May 11, 1922 - Feb 16, 2017
Jean Frances Halfant passed away peacefully on February 16, 2017, at the age of 94. Jean was born on May 11, 1922 to parents, Grattan H. Eddinger and May E. Crase, and raised in Taft, California. She graduated from Taft City College in 1942. Soon after at a USO Hall dance, she met Manny, a handsome staff sergeant in the Army Air Corps. Jean and Manny were married in 1943 and many moves and four children followed: Michael, Becky, Karen, and Gary.
Jean loved sports and was an accomplished athlete, playing softball, tennis, bowling and golf throughout her life. She won the San Joaquin Valley Singles in tennis and the Texas State Singles Championship in bowling among other awards.
After Manny retired from the Air Force in 1964, the family headed west to Sacramento. Jean quickly became involved in the community. In 1965, she joined NCJW (National Council of Jewish Women), a women’s organization focused on social advocacy. She was a devoted member who rapidly became a driven and passionate volunteer. After two years, Jean was elected president of NCJW Sacramento Section and thereafter served in almost every Board position as well as chairing just about every NCJW committee for the section. She also served as NCJW District President and was elected to the National Board in 1981. As the NCJW California State Public Affairs Co-Chair, Jean served as a delegate to the State House Conference on Children and Youth and as a Delegate to the White House Conference on Families as a Governor’s appointee. Among her achievements was her appointment as a consultant, identifying ways to improve a program for the disadvantaged at the Baltimore School of Social Work, Pearl Willen Institute. Additionally, Jean was one of 30 NCJW women nationwide selected for consultant’s training at the Vanderbilt University Graduate School of Management. She took the greatest pride in being awarded the Hannah G. Solomon Award in 1989, the highest award given to anyone in NCJW for the countless contributions she made over the years.
Jean was an integral part of her local community, volunteering at the Juvenile Hall Clothes Closet, the Starr King School for Exceptional Children and chairing many individual efforts such as the Emergency Food Closet, the Countrywide Survey on Day Care Centers, the seminar for Community Action on Welfare Mothers, the Statewide Legislative Conference, the National WICS (Women in Community Service) Day, and the Juvenile Justice Committee. Jean discovered a need and thus developed the Delinquency Prevention Program for Sacramento County junior high schools, as well as serving as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to establish the Urban Coalition. This ultimately led to her appointment as commissioner of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Commission of Sacramento County by presiding judge of Superior Court in 1979 and being elected Vice-Chair of that commission in 1981.
Jean’s commitment to serving the interests of others resulted in her taking many leadership roles including her NAACP Legislative Advisory Committee membership, served as the Project Director for Women in Community Service (WICS), appointed by Mayor Joe Serna to serve on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Police Practices, elected to the Board of Directors of the Center for Early Detection of Breast Cancer, elected to the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Community Commission for Women, and served as a member of the organizing committee of the Black-Jewish Coalition.
Through her work with the organizations mentioned above, Jean has exemplified her concern and devotion to furthering the welfare of all women regardless of their socioeconomic status. She has diligently championed the cause of the underprivileged, regardless of race, color, creed or sex. In all of Jean’s endeavors she has demonstrated her true compassion for humanity.
Jean was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Manny, and her loving son, Gary. She is survived by her son Michael, daughters Becky (Gary), and Karen (Bill, deceased); her nine grandchildren—Adam, Benji, Brooke (Jason), Tracy, Jason (Sheryll), Rachel (Estuardo), Billy (Christina), Jenny (Andrea), and Garic; and five great-grandchildren–Hailey, Sophie, Dudley, Clover, and Eleanor.
A graveside service will be held Friday, March 10, at 10am at East Lawn Sierra Hills Memorial Park, 5757 Greenback Lane, Sacramento with a reception immediately following in the St. Francis Community Hall on the grounds of the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NCJW, Sacramento Section (www.ncjwsac.org).
East Lawn Mortuary
5757 Greenback Lane