Jean Gearhart

Obituary of Jean Rose Gearhart

Jean Rose Sovey was born on August 30, 1926 in Detroit. She was one of four children born to the union of the late Peter and Hazel (Berry) Sovey. At the age of 3, Jean’s family would move from Detroit to settle in Estral Beach. They made their home at the Estral Beach Hotel and Bar which her parents owned and operated, until they built a home on the property next door. Jean soon began her education at St. Charles School in Newport.

Running the hotel, bar and other family businesses was a family affair and Jean soon found many ways to assist with daily operations. She often helped with cooking and cleaning for the hotel guest, she helped to distribute ice each summer to the summer cottage goers from the family ice house, she also worked in the family grocery store which was attached to the hotel and bar. Jean continued her education at Monroe High School graduating with the Class of 1944.

On July 12, 1944, she married her husband the late, Otto “Bay” Gearhart in Bowling Green, Ohio. Although, Jean’s main responsibility was caring for the needs of her husband and two children as a homemaker, the hotel bar remained an integral part of her life. She continued serving in many capacities to run operations and worked as a bartender, and very much enjoyed it all.

Jean was known to be quite stubborn, sassy and strong willed, but these personality traits merely contributed to her infectious charm. She was very witty, sarcastic, and yet very kind. Jean loved to go shopping and she was always up for a trip to the casino. She and her casino friends were known as the “Casino Diva’s”. She loved to take any kind of day trip, spend time vacationing and weekend getaways with family. Nothing pleased Jeanie more than having family dinners and gatherings. She also really enjoyed sun bathing, working outdoors, and beer. She was never one to sit still for long and always up to something. She was always first to help and to take care for her family even fill the request to make her special ‘puddin cuddin’ when someone wasn't feeling well. Jean held a special relationship with her family, that was unique to each of them.

Jean, affectionately called “Jeanie Rose” age 93, of Monroe passed away at home with family on Saturday, March 21, 2020. In addition to her parents and her husband, Bay on September 20, 2008 her passing was preceded by siblings: Robert, Elwood, and Phyllis Sovey; and her son-in-law: Joseph Lemasters on February 13, 2004.

To cherish her memory Jean leaves behind a daughter: Sharon Lemasters of Monroe; a son: Ronald (Kathleen) Gearhart of Estral Beach, two grandchildren: Tawnia “Tawny” (Randy) Arnold of Ottawa Lake and Ronald Gearhart II of Estral Beach, and her six great grandchildren: Jacob (Katie) Lemasters, Joseph Gearhart, Kymberlee Flores, Nicholas Gearhart, Luke Arnold, and Brandon Arnold.


 Due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, a private gathering and funeral service was held at Merkle Funeral Service, North Monroe; 2442 North Monroe Street (734)384-5185. Father Kevin Roelant officiated and procession followed to St. Charles Cemetery for burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting


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