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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”