Jean Louise Gillen was born on January 17, 1934, in Bigler, Pennsylvania, to Frank Cloddeo Gillen, Jr., and Rachel Catherine Richardson. She grew up in Madera, Pennsylvania, the ninth of twelve children in the family and one of nine sisters. Growing up on the family homestead in coal mining country, Jean’s childhood was poor but happy. She was especially close to her younger sisters Jeanette and Sandra Kay (Sandy) and to her niece, Freda (Honey) Beal Hook.
On February 20, 1960, Jean married Matthew Edward Supko at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania. Before long, they had moved to Queens, New York, where their first son, Jeffrey, was born in 1962. After moving to their own home in Deer Park, New York, Jonathan was born in 1969. Jean devoted her time and energies to homemaking and child-rearing, while remaining active in St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Dix Hills, New York.
Jean always made herself available to friends in need, often driving and accompanying church neighbors to doctor’s appointments and providing food and companionship. She had a strong group of friends from church and the neighborhood and remained in touch with many right up until the end of her life.
Although their means were modest, Jean and Matt managed to travel with their children and, later, on their own. Trips to Hawaii, London, the Grand Canyon, Disney World, and Portugal, and cruises to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean provided many fond memories for her and for the family. In later years, travel videos brought the world to Jean, and she continued to enjoy seeing faraway places.
Jean’s favorite holiday and season was Christmas, and she threw herself into the preparations and festivities with great energy and enthusiasm. No Christmas wish went un-granted when Jean was involved! Having family around was her biggest joy, at Christmas and all year long, and she loved to decorate her tree with ornaments from her past as well as new and beautiful decorations.
Jean and Matt moved back to Dubois, Pennsylvania, in 1995 to be closer to their brothers and sisters as Jeff, Jon, and their wives left Long Island. Granddaughters Rachel (“Rae,” to Jon and Paige) was born in 1996, and Catherine Grace (“Katy,” to Jeff and Maryann) followed in 1998. In 2005, Matt and Jean made their final move to Odenton, Maryland, rejoining their children and grandchildren.
Jean was pre-deceased by her parents, Frank Gillen, Jr., and Rachel Richardson; and her siblings Lillian Jane “Lil” Beal, Irene Washic, Evelyn Fowler, Hazel Willey, Marie Dawkins, Velma “Sis” Dinant, Robert, and Floyd.
She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Matthew Edward Supko; her children, Jeffrey (Maryann) and Jonathan (Paige); her grandchildren, Rachel “Rae” and Catherine Grace “Katy”; and her siblings James, Jeanette Gavlak, and Sandra Kay “Sandy” Shedlock.
Family will receive friends Thursday from 5-8 PM at Kruise-Spewock Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc., Madera. Funeral will be Friday 11 AM at the funeral home with Rev. Fr. David Lewis officiating. Interment will follow in Alexander Cemetery, Madera.