Jonee Grat, 86, of Santa Barbara, CA, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2015 surrounded by her family and friends.
Born on August 19, 1928 in Bruneau, Idaho to Joseph and Hermina Harley, Jonee was one of seven children. The early years of her life were spent in Bruneau and later Boise, Idaho. At age 23, after receiving her nursing certification from Mercy Hospital in Nampa, Idaho, she joined the United States Air Force as a registered nurse.
While stationed at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam, she met a dashing young navigator from Depew, New York. Eleven days after finally agreeing to his fourth request for a date, she was engaged to Edwin Grat and they were married on June 16, 1956 in El Paso, Texas.
After leaving the Air Force, Jonee and Ed moved to California in 1961 and began their life in the Golden State by building their first home in Santa Ynez. Jonee always loved children, and in 1964, she and Ed adopted their daughter Amy. Two years later, they adopted their twin sons Matthew and Andrew.
In 1970 the Grats moved down the hill to Goleta and soon ended up in Santa Barbara, where they made their residence for the next 45 years. Jonee welcomed the world into her home and thanks to her generous hospitality and fine cooking skills, the door was always open to friends from near and far.
Besides being mother to her three adopted children, Jonee was “mom” to many others from as far away as Japan, Germany, Spain and Brazil. We share our loss especially with our Spanish “hermano” Jorge Ibanez and his family. Jonee’s warm smile, sparkling eyes and willingness to share a beer will be deeply missed by her friends and family around the world.
Over the course of her career, Jonee’s nursing skills were well used at Rochester University Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, and Cottage Hospital. She also provided care and comfort as a hospice nurse and regularly volunteered with the Red Cross. Less officially, she was always ready for scraped knees and bumped heads at school, on field trips and at summer camps.
Jonee is survived by her husband of 58 years Edwin Grat, her daughter Amy Grat, her sons Andrew and Matthew Grat, four grandchildren, and her sister Erma Rae Kane.
A Celebration of Life will take place on April 11 at 2:00 p.m. at Vista Del Monte Retirement Community’s Main Lounge (3775 Modoc Road). All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jonee’s wonderful presence in our lives. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Fact Foundation (www.frontporch.net).