Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Patricia ‘Sis’ Jelen— A Woman Whose Passion ‘Burned like a Wildfire’ and Always ‘Spoke Her Mind’ (obit)


MendoFever wants to provide a place for the community to honor those who have lived their lives and passed on. If you want to share the story of someone with the community, please send a photo and a written piece to matthewplafever@gmail.com

Patricia “Sis” Jelen
January 19, 1959—February 19, 2022

As you may know, there was a fatal crash on Albion Ridge Road on Saturday, February 19th around 3:45 pm. The one fatality was my mom, Patricia “Sis” Jelen. This is not a story of how my mom passed, but the kind of person she was and how she should be remembered. She was a genuine and passionate woman who was born and raised in Contra Costa County, she loved, lost, and prospered in California. This included growing up with her cousins and their friends in high school and going to parties with all of the flair of the late 1970s. Including an Afro.

Everyone that I talked to the day after the accident remembers her as a remarkable person; hardworking, loyal, a gracious host and passionate. That passion burned like a wildfire or was the calm in the storm. She would drop anything for her family, both chosen and blood. This included helping her own dad in his last days. She drove four hours at the drop of a hat. Along with helping keep Queenies in Elk running for the past few years alongside her life long friend Lynn Derrick, the legendary Queenie. She had lived on the Mendocino coast off and on in the 80s and we moved here as a family in 2004. Even after family and business struggles, my mom stayed in her adopted home in her beloved California until her last day.

She was a person who spoke her mind, whether or not that was a good idea. This made my mom either your most valued friend or someone you didn’t like. Either way, she was a larger than life person who had an impact on anyone that got to know her. As of now, we don’t have plans for a remembrance service, but it will be later in the spring, one on the Coast and one in her hometown of Martinez. But in the meantime, please remember any good memories you have of Sis. I have been thinking of all of the times we shared as I grew up from trips to the beach, Chinatown and the mundane parts of life like getting ready for school. It’s never the wrong time to tell someone they matter to you, but it can be too late. As my grandpa said, “life is too short to be mad over stupid things.”

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  1. Sincere condolences on the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing her with us, and thank you for sharing your memories in such a beautiful and compassionate way. Your mother left us all a gift: you. May memories bring you great comfort. If you’re not a writer yet, you ought to be. Bless!

  2. Farewell
    If you would kiss me on the cheek and bid me a warm goodbye
    The time has come for me to leave this world
    Please don’t let me see your tears or hear your mournful cry
    Just remember all the golden times we shared

    Man is born to suffer like the sparks blown in the wind
    Time passed slow when I was just a child
    Till the reaper came to call and my life was at an end
    I wondered whatever happened to the time

    You must understand please this is always how it’s been
    We purchased this ticket in the womb
    Just as sure as I was born so my life it stood condemned
    And every newborn child faces doom

    Tell me did I live a life that was worth a hill of beans
    Will I be remembered when I’m gone
    Or will a broken stone be all that remains of me
    All my toil and sweat beneath the lawn

    Tell me did I die a noble death or did I die in fear
    Was my finish swift or painful slow
    And did I die of wounds or of some disease unclear
    But most of all did I die alone

    As I see these faces now all gathered round my bier
    I’m sorry and I’m also glad
    That I’ve left something behind that other may hold dear
    Maybe my life was not so bad

    Well if you’d kiss me on the cheek and bid me a warm goodbye
    The time has come for me to leave this world
    Please don’t let me see your tears or hear your mornful cry
    Just remember all the golden times we shared

    Douglas Wayne Coulter Jan 31 1994

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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