Harriett Jean Burton

July 2, 1926 ~ December 31, 2022 (age 96) 96 Years Old


Harriett Jean Burton, a fixture in the Marin arts and crafts community for over 50 years, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2022 at the age of 96. The last of her generation, Jean was known to her family for her patience, endurance, and industriousness. Self-taught in many areas of art, Jean was a life-long learner and bookworm. She loved live theater and music, attending shows in the city as often as she could. She still had an encyclopedic knowledge of films and movie stars dating back to the 1930’s!  Born in Chehalis, Washington on July 2, 1926, Jean was the youngest of six children with four sisters and one brother. She relocated to San Rafael in the early 1940s and attended San Rafael High School where she wrote for the school newspaper. Jean took business courses at College of Marin, wrote and edited the school paper and put on variety shows with friends at J.C. before marrying Jim Burton in 1946. The two built a custom home designed by Warren Callister in Los Ranchitos in 1956 where they raised their three children. Jean and Jim opened Creative Merchandisers in 1956, and began importing mosaic tiles from Italy, Mexico, India, Greece, and Japan. She designed mosaic tables, wall panels, dishes, and floors, in addition to teaching mosaic skills to her customers. The business grew to include avariety of other art and craft supplies, poster shop and custom framing. Jean and Jim also acted as distributors of art and craft supplies to small shops around the bay area.  The store was very much a family affair with many family members working there until its closure in 2004.  An avid outdoorswoman, Jean spent many happy hours on the trails of Marin. She appreciated the backroads and took her family on adventures to the Sierras and beyond. She lived life to its fullest, and instilled a sense of wonder for our world in the three children, nine grandchildren, and the three great-grandchildren she left behind. Donations can be made to KQED in Jean’s memory.

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