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Jean Marie (Tubbs) Fritts

Jean Marie (Tubbs) Fritts, 96, died in her home, with her daughter Donna Jean by her side, in Butte, Montana, on Jan. 25, 2023, after a short illness. Jean was born to Winifred and Edna (Peoples) Tubbs in Okanogan, Washington, on Jan. 8, 1927. She grew up a tomboy and only child, working in her father’s apple orchards and occasionally singing and dancing on top of the family chicken coop. Jean lettered in both track and basketball and was a talented vocalist in weddings, funerals, and musicals. She graduated from Okanogan High School in 1945. Jean married the love of her life, Donald Harry Fritts, in Okanogan on Dec. 27, 1947. They raised two daughters: Donna Jean (DJ) and Abigail Kathleen (Abby). In 1955, they moved to Bozeman, Montana, where Jean began a 30-year career doing accounting, sales, and budgeting with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Soil Conservation Service. After Jean's retirement, she returned to Okanogan to care for her mother, prompting Don and her to settle there anew. In 2000, they traded Okanogan's apricot and cherry trees for lemons and grapefruit when they moved to Sun City. Jean loved to perform, as a singer, pianist, and accompanist. She filled her retirement with acting, writing and directing musicals. She directed and sang in productions of “The Pajama Game” and “Guys and Dolls,” among many others, and cajoled Don into designing and helping construct the set for “Camelot.” Her love of drama didn’t require an actual stage—she frequently broke unprompted into song or theatrical character, always looking to entertain. She gained additional fame for her themed parties featuring costumes and dancing and singing ensembles. Among the most memorable was a Prohibition-Era party—complete with a password required for entry, bathtub gin, and a poker table. Jean composed witty, sometimes silly, poems and sent them to family and friends on special occasions. She was a voracious reader of mysteries, an accomplished bowler, a devoted Episcopal church member, and a habitual downhill skier. Jean enjoyed traveling with Don, outdoor concerts, her P.E.O. sisterhood, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority alumnae gatherings. Following Don’s death in 2015, Jean moved to Butte, Mont., to be close to her daughter DJ. She loved having visitors, including her daughters, grandkids, church friends, theater friends, and Chapter CK P.E.O. sisters from Arizona. Though suffering from arthritis, she continued to sing and play her piano. She joyfully opened presents, ate dinner out, and witnessed the entire restaurant singing Happy Birthday to her when she turned 96 just a couple weeks before she died. Jean is preceded in death by her mother Edna (Peoples) Tubbs, father Winifred Tubbs, and her husband Donald Harry Fritts. Jean is survived by her daughters Donna Jean (Frank) Pickett of Butte and Abby Fritts of Phoenix; grandchildren Matthew (Meredith) Pickett, Olivia and Carter of Missoula, Holly Pickett of Butte, Josh (Amy) Karl, Gabe and Mia of Franklinville, New Jersey, Nick (Kristi) Karl, Alexa of Centennial, Colorado, and Nathan Karl of Denver, Colorado. Cremation has taken place. A service is planned for Summer 2023. Memorial donations can be made via check to Chapter AC P.E.O., 175 Bantry Way, Butte, MT 59701 (memo: Jean Fritts).