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Remembering Jean Harberts

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It’s never easy when a loved one or close friend dies. For Jean Harberts family, as well as dozens of friends and associates, the loss was felt deeply when she passed away last month. Jean was well-known in the community for her work as a marketing manager for Chick-fil-a and other businesses and as a tireless supporter of the American Cancer Society.

On Sunday, June 30th, Jean’s friends and family will gather at St. Theresa Catholic Church at 1107 Commercial Way in Spring Hill to honor her and share their love. The memorial service will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Immediately following the service, “Jean’s Walk to Remember” will take place in the gymnasium located across the parking lot from the church. The purpose of this is to recognize the many years that Jean organized the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Dawn Triconi, Executive director of Brooksville Main Street knew Jean well. They were not just co-workers at the Chamber of Commerce for a number of years, they were also close friends.

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Dawn chuckled when she stated, “Our offices were across the hall from each other. Many times we would yell across the hall forgetting other people were in the building. We developed such an easy and fun relationship−she put a smile on everyone’s face when she met them. Her favorite introduction was ‘Hi, I’m Jean Harberts. You can remember me as HI JEAN’.”

Jean was bubbly and super-friendly and “probably the nicest person I have ever met,” Dawn added. “Jean gave the BEST backrubs! When we had a stressful day at the office, she would know right away that I needed a quick neck or shoulder massage.”

Jean displayed kindness, as well as devotion to her family and her “can-do” attitude was evident in her career and in her volunteer work.

Her three grown children, Kyle, Zachary and Bethany, organized the memorial service and walk. Of course, they knew her best and spoke fondly of their mother.

“She had an undeniable compassion for people and accepted everyone for who they were. She loved her family deeply and cherished her three grandkids,” said Bethany

Jean was always there to lend a helping hand and give support to whomever she met.

“We were at dinner and a person walked in wearing a Relay for Life shirt. She walked right up to the woman and started talking about Relay for 10 minutes. Turned out the woman was fighting breast cancer and mom gave a her a bunch of local resources for this lady to use while dealing with her cancer,” said Kyle.

Each of Jean’s children shared what they had learned from their mother.
“I learned patience, understanding and how to love from my mom. She was and will always be my best friend. She led her life with such an infectious warmth and compassion for people, I truly hope I can live up her legacy” said Bethany.

Kyle commented, “Mom taught me not to judge a book by its cover, that there is good in everything. She was a light in the dark. I want to continue to carry that light into a world of darkness.”

Zachary added, “Mom never tired of putting people first even if it was at her own expense.”

John Mitten, owner of Chick-fil-A in Brooksville, hired Jean as his marketing director in February of 2020−just before Covid hit.

“She was the perfect person to be visible in the community and demonstrate care during a difficult time for everyone,” John remarked.

“She showed love and care to everyone she met. Jean understood the heart of Chick-fil-A –Care–on a visceral level, and was a wonderful brand ambassador each and every day,” he continued.

According to John and almost everyone Jean knew, she was a professional “hug-giver” and had an amazing ability to discern when someone was hurting or struggling. Then she would plan and implement something to help or encourage them.

“Jean had the ‘youngest heart’ in our organization. She taught us all how to better care for and celebrate each other. Now that she has graduated from this life, we must live her lessons for others. Like Jean, we can share a word of encouragement with someone, and yes…then give them a hug!” John concluded.

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