October 7, 1927 – February 1, 2019
SOUTH BEND — Jean Mercedes Day was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 7, 1927 to Eugene and Barbara Day, their only child. Jean grew up blocks from the 76th Street beach on Lake Michigan, and from an early age, had a love for the water. Jean and her girlfriends spent their summers at the beach. In the evenings, they would go to the Trianon Ballroom, where they would dance the night away. It was there that she met the love of her life, our father, Joseph Hauflaire.
A handsome couple, Jean a beautiful browned-eyed blonde, and Joe would spend the next 70 years together. In the late 50’s, they made their home in South Bend, Indiana and raise their five children in the “Wonder Years” neighborhood of McKinley Terrace. There were monthly block parties, swim meets at the McKinley Terrace Pool, and family trips with their neighbors and best friends, The Powells. In their later years, Jean and Joe would travel to Europe, London being Jean’s favorite. But Jean’s most favorite stop was the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. She yearned to get back to the water.
Jean had an authentic style with her short cropped blonde hair and hip sunglasses, and always had a comb in her back pocket just in case. Eco conscious before it was popular, recycling with purpose and her “Jeanware”, old plastic anythings for leftovers. She much preferred the windows open over air conditioning, the radio over TV, and of course family above all else. You could pick her handwriting out of a lineup, always neat and precise with the aid of a ruler. Her secret beauty ingredient, Vaseline, it worked wonders and it showed. She loved to read and had a green thumb, growing cactus outside that thrived the Michigan winters. She was intelligent, quick witted, pocket sized, and our darling. She will be missed.
In the 40’s Jean started out her career working for the Pullman Train Company as a switchboard operator. In the 60’s she worked at Goldblatt’s in the Town & Country Shopping Center meeting some of her closest friends. In her own words, “At the grand old age of fifty, I attended Indiana University at South Bend. It was quite a challenge and most intimidating to me. I managed to make it through and ended up with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.” Her hard work was rewarded with a position in the South Bend office of the Department of HUD.
In the 80’s her dream came true. Jean and Joe built their home in New Buffalo on Lake Michigan. Here is where they made wonderful memories for their children and grandchildren. Nothing made Jean happier than hosting every holiday dinner. She never sat down, always in the kitchen making her holiday specialty – AMBROSIA! Her passion was tending her garden, the beach, with rake in hand she was happiest, making it all beautiful again and did this well into her nineties.
Jean is survived with love by her husband of over 71 years, Joe. She was preceded in death by two children, Nancy, their only daughter, and Jeff, their oldest son. She is also survived by sons: Joseph, Dean (Kim) and Douglas Hauflaire. She is cherished by thirteen grandchildren: Jessica, Gregory, Spencer, Heath, Allison, Blair, Julie, Barbara, Nathan, Dani, Bridget, Drew, Kelsey and Drake, and seven great grandchildren.
A family graveside service and memorial will take place at a later date. Jean wanted her family to know that she always tried to be fair; she listened, and loved them more than life itself. We loved you too Mom. Special thanks to Center for Hospice, and America’s Best Care. Donations may be made to “Save the Dunes” savedunes.networkforgood.com