UPCOMING SERVICE Celebration Of Life Nov. 12, 2023 2:00 p.m. Assistance League of Santa Ana Send Flowers Jean Wahlberg Obituary
Beloved by her grateful family and an extensive network of incredible friends and devoted caregivers, Jean Sutherland Wahlberg, 98, passed away peacefully at her home on August 1, 2023. A fourth generation Californian, Jeanie was born on August 27, 1924, in Anaheim, California, to James Foster and Carrie Louise Evans Sutherland. Her brother Jim was born two years later. In those early years, her father farmed in Anaheim, but the family lived on Anaheim Landing in Seal Beach. When Jean reached school age, they moved from their home in Seal Beach to Anaheim, returning to their little beach cottage for weekends and summers. As a child, she was given great freedom, and it might be said that Jeanie developed her penchant for adventure and mischief as well as curiosity and intellect during those times. Life changed tragically for the family when her father died in an auto accident while on his way to join the family and friends at the beach. The country was also facing war. Jeanie graduated from Anaheim High School in 1941. After earning her B.A. at Occidental College, she attended the University of Southern California. With a secondary teaching credential in hand, she was hired on as an English teacher at Garden Grove High School. During her tenure, many students were returning from war and others from internment camps. Jean valued her time with these students. Jeanie met Brent Wahlberg, the cousin of her best friend, during their high school years. Following graduation, they remained in close contact throughout Brent's studies at UC Berkeley and his service in the Navy, including the invasion of Normandy. They married in 1946 and made their first home on a citrus and avocado ranch on the outskirts of Anaheim. Their two daughters, Karol and Kristen, came soon after. A few years later the family moved into town, with their son, Chip, on the way. When the children were of school age, Jeanie was always happy to help in school activities: PTA, scout troops, athletic teams, to name a few. They were always surrounded by family and long-time friends from their days growing up in Orange County. Early on, Jeanie was eager to take an active role in her community. In 1947, she became a member of the Assistance League of Santa Ana, assuming larger roles and more responsibilities as the years went by. She remained an active member well into her 90's and was still a contributing member until her passing. She was also a longtime member of PEO Chapter DI and a longstanding member of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana. For many years she also supported the Ebell Society, St. Joseph Ballet (now The Wooden Floor), Orange County Pioneer Council, Town & Gown of Chapman University, Crescendo (OCPAC Guild), Bowers Museum, and the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary (where she loved joining friends on the street "ringing the bells" during the holidays). She always enjoyed her stock group, her journeys with LIPS (Lunch in Paris), her bridge clubs, and sharing so many books with her friends. Jean always remained true to her roots. Even into her early 90's, she stayed involved, organizing reunions and high school class newsletters. Jeanie loved traveling: Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe and Russia. She had no fear! She bungee jumped off a New Zealand bridge in her 70's, skydived in her 80's and zip lined in her 90's. Jean is preceded in death by her husband Brent Wahlberg, her daughter Kristen Wahlberg, her parents James and Carrie Louise Sutherland, her son-in-law Robert Goldsmith, and her brother James Sutherland, along with extended family members and many, many dear friends- all deeply loved and deeply missed. She is survived by her daughter, Karol Wahlberg Goldsmith, of Manhattan Beach, California, and her son, Chip Wahlberg and his wife Julie, of Clarkston, Washington, extended family members and her much loved dog LuLu. A Celebration of Life for Jean will be held on November 12th at 2 p.m. at the Assistance League of Santa Ana, 1037 West First St. Santa Ana, California. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Assistance League of Santa Ana to further the philanthropies so dear to Jeanie's heart. That would put a smile on her face. Published by Orange County Register from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, 2023.