Regina “Jean” (Martin) Stoots was born on July 27, 1950 in a small town in Harlan, Kentucky to Jennings (Marty) and Frankie Martin. Her daddy gave her the nickname “Jeannie Buck”. Life was rough there. The family was poor and often went hungry. Her father worked in the coal mines to make a living for three hungry little mouths. After some years, the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. There, two more little mouths came to make a total of 5 sisters. (Linda, Carolyn, Jean, Marilyn and Tammy).
She grew up among her cousins and relatives, decided to quit school in the 11th grade, and she has worked ever since. She worked for an insurance company, a jewelry store, and a medical doctors’ group. She was the best accounts receivable clerk out there when it comes to recovering money. She would work with all kinds of people and work out all kinds of deals to get people to pay their bills. She really enjoyed talking with the patients and their families and it gave her pleasure to be able to assist them and do a great job for her employers.
While living in Maryland, she met her first husband, Bill Benson and had two children. Life seemed good and they moved to the suburbs like the typical 1970/80s family. She was the president of the Ladies Auxiliary in the VFW of which Bill was member. She wore beautiful long dresses and sported that sweet beehive. She had such a beautiful face and demeanor. She was always in charge of the poppy sale for the VFW.
She loved to eat crabs, especially with her sisters and friends, sitting around the table talking, laughing and listening to music on the radio. You weren’t allowed to eat a crab by yourself until she was sure you could pick all the meat out of the entire thing. She even checked the shells before she would give you another crab to eat! She loved to dance and she would move the kitchen chairs and table out of the way and she and her sisters would dance in the kitchen. Sometimes they put baby powder on the floor so the booty scootin’ would be easier! She watched the TV show Dallas religiously. Her best friends in Maryland was Jessie Caraballo and her sister Joanne. They lived on the same street and Jessie would babysit her kids. Jessie was also a hair dresser and would set Jean up with a sweet beehive! The ozone layer has a hole in it because of Jessie and that AquaNet hairspray and Jean would have about two cans on her head alone. Even when Jean left Maryland for a new life in West Virginia, they remained extremely close friends. Jean also loved taking her kids to the beach in Maryland. Having picnic lunches and swimming or fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. She didn’t get in the water too much. Only stood in the sand and let the waves wash up on her feet and legs.
Unfortunately, life gets in the way and things ended with Bill. Jean moved with her family to Rock, West Virginia in the early 80’s. Boy what a change from the city life!! Jean lived on a mountain where your nearest neighbor may be miles away. You made a trip to “town” once a week. The road you drove on had mountain on one side and a shear drop off on the other. There was one channel on TV and it didn’t have Dallas on it! She lived with her children and parents with her sister Carol and her family just yards away. After a few years, Jean met Warren Stoots. He was a widower with three young boys of his own. They decided to give it a try together and on Valentine’s Day 1986, Jean and Warren married and the new Stoots family was born in Beckley, West Virginia. Debi, Rusty, David, Jamie, and Scott (Scottie when he was younger) became the new sibling pack. They like to beat each other up, play tricks on each other. Typical sibling rivalry but don’t even think about messing with one of them. You have the whole sibling pack swooping in!
Jean loved to eat out. Every weekend when she shopped or did errands, she would stop and eat out. Even the brothers would tag a long because they knew they were getting to eat out. Her favorite places were Red Lobster, Tudor’s Biscuit World (she always got the “Mickey”) and crab houses in Maryland.
For 33 years, Jean and Warren raised their family and gathered wonderful friends and people that would stop by Warrens produce and greenhouse store next to their house. They would often vacation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and fish their hearts out. And of course hit all of her favorite restaurants!!
Jean and Warren were Christians and raised their family in the church. Jean enjoyed listening to gospel music, specifically a family band named The Duggars. She always tried to make every concert they had. In later years, they were physically unable to attend church, but they still held firm in their belief that Jesus died for their sins and they accepted him into their hearts. They lived by the principles of the Bible and raised their kids in the right way. Jean loved Jesus and while she enjoyed her life here, she greatly anticipated the promise God made of a new life and a new body for those who were faithful. The thought of no more suffering, of golden streets and pearly gates, meeting Jesus and rejoicing around his feet kept her going through the bad times.
She was an amazing cook. Every Saturday she made a homemade breakfast with biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, etc. She wouldn’t make it until 10:00 in the am then it took like an hour to make so really it was more like brunch!! But you better not complain! She would try to duplicate foods she loved from restaurants like Shrimp Scampi and fish recipes. She had two or three refrigerators and a couple of little pantries plus what was in the kitchen cabinets to hold all the food. She always made sure her family had food. You may not get a new pair of shoes, but you will not be hungry. She always made sure her kids had chips and candy and snacks, all generic brands. But in her bedroom in her nightstand drawer, she hid the premium chocolates, Keebler cookies with the coconut in them, Slim Jims, etc. If you hung out in her bedroom and watched TV with her, she might slip you a piece or two if you don’t go telling everyone. Once you told, no more for you.
One of the saddest times in the Stoots family was the loss of one of the sibling pack, David, who died of complications of diabetes at the age of 33. David was Jean’s buddy after all the other kids moved out. David lived with Jean and Warren for many years and the loss of David was a devastating heartbreak for everyone. Jean felt lonely and bereft of David until her passing. Hopefully they are together again.
In her later years, her favorite TV shows were the all the HTV cooking shows, Golden Girls and Naked and Afraid. Once when she was in the hospital, she threw a fit because they didn’t have the channel that Naked and Afraid was on. She was ready to go home then.
She was a loyal friend, mother and wife. She was always thinking about ways she could help her family or friends. Food, financially, or just a place to stay for a bit. She and Warren were adult foster care givers and they both took excellent care of the folks that stayed with them. She would give you her last dollar and if she didn’t have that she’d take it off a credit card for you! She just wanted to make sure you had what you needed. If you called her upset, didn’t matter the situation, she would always be on your side. For better or for worse. Once she told one of her sister’s boyfriend, “Good riddance to bad rubbish, and that means you!” She had no problem “telling you all about yourself’. Nothing could fire her up more than knowing one of her kids was hurting or needed something and someone wasn’t treating them right. She has 6 grandchildren (Samantha, Kaitlyn, Nicholas, Cheyenne, Serenity and Caleb) and 1 great-grandchild born in November of 2019 named Eden. They all loved Mamaw and Papaw very much.
She loved to play Yahtzee. Whenever she would play with her dad and he hit a Yahtzee, he would say “Yakadoo, Yakadoo!!” When she played with her kids, she would question every decision they made. “Why didn’t you put that on chance?” was her go to saying. She also enjoyed playing Bingo down in Beaver or a few other places. She was a whiz at it and of course everyone knew her and talked to her. She met her best friend Dreema at Bingo. Dreema was a wonderful friend to Jean. Very patient and loving. Always with a smile on her face for Jean. During Jean’s final years, her favorite activity was riding her scooter around in Walmart. One night not too very long ago, her and her Dreema were in there so long the store closed and they had to get kicked out! She would drag you up and down every single aisle, touching stuff, saying “oh, will you look at that. You could use that for… (Fill in the blank)”. She talked to EVERYBODY!!!!! Running over people and knocking over displays. Jean was always thankful for Dreema and her family appreciates the love and friendship Dreema provided Jean over the years.
On June 23rd, the hospice nurses told the family that it wouldn’t be long. The sibling pack and their spouses and kids came from all directions of the Unites States to be with their mother and say goodbye while she was still able to recognize them. She said “Wow, it’s been a long time since all 5 kids were together in the same place.” Still including Brother David. On June 24th, sometime between 1:30 am and 6:00 am, Jean’s beloved mom, dad, Sister Marilyn and of course David opened their arms and accepted her into heaven to be with them in eternity. No more pain, no more suffering, no more loneliness and heartbreak. Only love and peace and light for Jean now.
While she always thought her life did not really make an impact in this world, the people that knew her felt differently. This world will forever be changed without her. The lives of her family and friends will never be the same again. There is emptiness without Jean in this world. Her family and friends are thankful to God for the time they had with her, will always carry her in their hearts, and look forward to seeing her again on the other side. God Speed Jeannie Buck. We will see you soon.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Regina Gail (Martin) Stoots, please visit our floral store.