Jeanne Eris Fisher Hamilton, age 91, of St. Petersburg, FL, peacefully passed away in the early morning hours of December 25, 2018, into the arms of her loving Savior Jesus Christ. Jeanne Eris was born in 1927 in Indianapolis, IN, to Ruth Eva Laing Fisher and Gordon G. Fisher whose first wife died in 1923 leaving behind four sons: Gordon Jr., Delmer, Bernard, and William (Billy). Being the only girl and the baby of the family, Jeanne was doted on as well as teased by her older step-brothers, but close bonds were formed with her siblings and their families resulting in loving relationships that remained throughout her life. Memories she shared of her early years included her parents selling their home during the Depression to move into an apartment over her father’s business, G. G. Fisher Garage and Body Shop; spending extended times at the large Fisher farm in Shelby Co., IN, which was homesteaded by her great grandfather in the early 1800’s for $1.25 an acre; and a catchy rhyme written by her brothers after her long hair was caught in a wringer washer: Jean, Jean the butter bean, stuck her head in the washing machine!
Jeanne’s 1945 high school graduation gift was a trip to visit her much loved grandmother Cora Young Laing, who lived in St. Petersburg. There she met Kenneth Hamilton, a decorated WW II Medic veteran, and his two sisters in the church choir. The foursome became quick friends, and Jeanne fit right into the warmth and love of the Hamilton family. Kenny and Jeanne corresponded throughout the next year, and when she returned for a visit in 1946, he chose a Hamilton family outing at Silver Springs, FL, to say privately that he would pick her up the next morning to elope! He did, they married in Valdosta, GA, and lived in St. Petersburg until moving to Chattanooga, TN, where Kenneth graduated in June of 1951 from Southern Missionary College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In September of 1951 daughter Susan Kay was born. The couple moved back to St. Petersburg, bought a small home, and in September of 1953 daughter Carol Elaine was born. Ken and Jeanne worked diligently to build a successful accounting business, faithfully served in their church, enjoyed many times of love and laughter with their own daughters as well as the extended Hamilton family, and always took a family road trip every summer. In the early 1960’s they moved to a larger home near the Pasadena area on 6th Avenue South and 62nd Street in St. Petersburg.
In 1970 daughter Susan married Dennis Jannetti and along came their daughters Lisa Kay in 1973 and Robyn Jo in 1977. In 1972 daughter Carol married Richard (Rick) Harris and along came their sons Brian in 1977 and Brent in 1978. Not to go unsaid, Dennis and Rick were welcomed and treated as sons. Both wholeheartedly agree and avow that Jeanne was the BEST mother-in-law a man could ever have! Ken and Jeanne, aka Gram and Poppy, adored their grandchildren and took an active part in every opportunity to express their love and encouragement. They showered our families with many happy times: sleepovers, dinners out, dinners in, outings, movies, school and sports events, trips, fun beach days at the Bath Club, concerts and symphonies, annual Christmas events and plays at the Bayfront Center, and a “couldn’t be loved more” lifetime of memories that will be treasured by each one of us. Gram also became a great-gram to Robyn’s daughter Kaylee in 1996 and to Brian and his wife MJ’s sons Kenneth in 2003 and Nathaniel in 2006. She added these great grands to her fold with love and encouragement and is loved greatly by yet another generation. One more very special touch of love…each family member received a phone call on their birthday with Mom/Gram/Mom-mom singing, “Happy Birthday to You!”
In 1977 Kenneth’s declining health required the sale of Hamilton & Associates Accounting, and he passed away in 1985. With Jeanne’s active mind and love of people, she continued as a self-employed accountant/bookkeeper until she retired at the age of 80! Soon after the sale of the business, she and Kenny shared a love of travel, taking numerous cruises, traveling to Europe several times, joining annual 94th Infantry Reunion trips in various states as well as in Europe, and vacationing in Hawaii, Canada and Alaska. In 1998 Jeanne moved to Mainlands Unit 5 where she lived until April of 2017. Jeanne found a companion in Tom Garrity who loved to play golf, dance, and travel. He and his family were adopted into her life and enjoyed great times together. Tom passed away several years ago, but his family has remained close to her.
With Jeanne’s health declining, she moved to The Fountains of Boca Ciega Bay independent living for a short time and finally to daughter Carol and Rick’s home in Bradenton where she received an abundance of love and attention. Needing an increasing level of nursing care, she moved to The Sheridan at Lakewood Ranch Assisted Living in November 2018 where she quickly became a favorite of the staff and her table-mates. On Sunday, December 23, she fell in her apartment, was transported to a nearby hospital, and admitted with two pelvic breaks. Though in pain, her positive nature continued to declare she was going to enter rehab and get back on her feet, but the added trauma to her physical condition took its toll on December 25.
Jeanne was a woman of strong character and integrity, welcomed everyone into her well-kept home, prepared thousands of delicious meals, loved having her Indianapolis family stay with her for visits, invited neighbors for dinner who were alone for the holidays, took her daughters with her to visit people in nursing homes, and became “mom” to many of her daughters’ high school friends. There was no family-only barrier in Jeanne’s heart and mind. She spoke kindly to everyone, sought out those she sensed needed encouragement, listened to others’ tales of joy and woe, and shared her ready smile with all. She was a vibrant, congenial, intelligent, gentle, and compassionate woman who dearly loved her family, and they her. She NEVER complained, even though she had a number of challenging health issues in her last few years. Her varied interests included traveling to approximately 40 foreign countries and most of the United States; Eastern Star member who served twice as Worthy Matron; golfing; singing; dancing; sewing; reading; civic participation; American Legion member; and VFW Lifetime Member.
We close this brief description of Jeanne’s life and legacy by sharing that her most favorite time of the year was Christmas! We see the awesome, miraculous fingerprint of God’s blessing by giving her a Christmas celebration that will never end! She is in the presence of Jesus Christ who was born for us on Christmas Day, gave up His own perfect life to die in exchange for the imperfect life we are all born with, came back to life as He said He would, and returned to heaven to give eternal life to anyone who will believe and trust in Him to do what He promised.
We rejoice in your Merry Christmas dear mom, gram, mom-mom, and friend. Until we join you in heaven’s celebration, we celebrate you now, the life you lived and the love you gave! We love you!
Jeanne is survived by her daughter Susan Jannetti, son-in-law Dennis Jannetti, daughter Carol Harris, son-in-law Rick Harris, granddaughters Lisa Jannetti and Robyn Jannetti, grandsons Brian Harris and his wife MJ and Brent Harris and his wife Leigh Ann, great granddaughter Kaylee Jannetti Meade, great grandsons Kenneth Harris and Nathaniel Harris, and step-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Hamilton, mother Ruth Laing Fisher, father Gordon G. Fisher, step-brothers Gordon Fisher Jr., Delmer Fisher, Bernard Fisher, William Fisher, and nephew Delmer Fisher, Jr.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Jeanne Hamilton’s Memory to:
Shriner’s Hospital for Children
12502 USF Pine Drive
Tampa, FL 33612
Funeral services will be 12:30 PM Friday, January 4, 2019 at David C. Gross Funeral Home in St. Petersburg. The family will receive friends from 11:30 AM thru service time.
Burial will follow in Bay Pines National Cemetery.
David C. Gross Funeral Homes, Central Avenue Chapel in St. Petersburg is serving the family.