Cover photo for Jean Zehr's Obituary
Jean Zehr Profile Photo
1933 Jean 2020

Jean Zehr

January 21, 1933 — December 2, 2020

Jean Zehr, age 87, of Fairfield, passed away December 2, 2020 at her home surrounded by her family.

She was born January 21, 1933, in Rubio, Iowa, Dorothy Jean Payton, to J. Mace Payton and Mabel (Mayne) Payton. She attended elementary school in Rubio, Iowa and high school in Richland, Iowa graduating Valedictorian of her class in 1952.

She married Cecil A. Zehr in January 1955 in Illinois. After their marriage they lived in numerous places across the U.S. as they followed his career as a union electrician. In November 1960 they moved to Fairfield, Iowa and started Zehr Electric.  In addition to being a co-owner of Zehr Electric and nearly 60 years as the receptionist/bookkeeper of the business, Jean worked in the admissions office of the Jefferson County Hospital and later as a librarian at the Fairfield Public Library.  Jean was also a Girl Scout leader & Cub Scout den mother for many years.  She was a 60-year member of the Fairfield First United Methodist Church and was active in the Ruth Circle at the church and served on the funeral committee for many years.  She was an avid reader and loved sewing and crafting.  Jean’s was a life well lived.

Jean is survived by her children: Deborah (Patrick) Danaher of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Randy Zehr of Fairfield, and Dana (Todd) Nash of Iowa City, a brother, James Payton of Cedar Rapids, and 3 grandsons Ryan Danaher, Wade Nash and Eric Nash.

Jean and Cecil were married 55 years before he passed away in 2010.  She was also preceded in death by her parents and her sister Barbara Sparks.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Iowa City or the First United Methodist Church in Fairfield.  Please mail cards and memorials to Zehr Electric, 104 East Adams Avenue, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

Celebration of Life Service will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 15, 2021 , at the First United Methodist Church with Pastor Al Coffin officiating.    Inurnment will be 1:00 pm, at Evergreen Cemetery.  Masks and social distancing is required to attend the service.

Arrangements are being handled by Behner Funeral Home.  Online condolences may be made to the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean Zehr, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Fairfield First United Methodist Church

201 North Court Street, Fairfield, IA 52556

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