Jeanine Birkenmeir Booker, beloved mother, wife, friend and employer, died peacefully at home on September 30, 2023.
Born in Buffalo, NY on February 27, 1931 to Richard G. Birkenmeir and Beatrice M. Gay, she lived the first half of her life in Lancaster, NY where she married her first husband, Hank Barrow and raised their four children. In 1972, the family moved to Bristol, VA, and one of the first things they did, after settling in was open a pizza shop, where she used her experience as a wonderful cook, to insist on the best ingredients and recipes for the restaurant, which was named Bellas Pizza, meaning Beautiful Pizza.
Years later, she married William M. Booker and moved to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Together they opened a cat themed business called Jeanine’s Cat House. Meanwhile she continued to run Bellas from afar. The were both lovers of travel, and art, and so through their many travels were able to accumulate many pieces of art, and thusly created a showplace in their home.
Jeanine was a devoted wife and mother, but she also was a Bridge enthusiast, playing Bridge two or three times a week; she loved golf, and played at least once a week; the outdoors was her favorite place, and she loved taking her dog walking every other day; she was a gifted writer of poetry and journaling, with the dream of writing a book one day.
She spent her last years back in Abingdon, wanting to be close to her daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Tom McIntyre, who she ultimately lived with. And also, to be near Bellas, which she continued to run.
She is survived by daughter, Donna Barrow McIntyre (Thomas), sister Mary Frances Beyer (Jake), step daughters, Leslie Booker (Barbara), Lucy Duncan (Gordon), and Susan Woolard (Blake); grandchildren Casey Brehm Warner, Forest Duncan, Chris Duncan, Laura Blanton; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, William M. Booker; daughter Lynda J. Barrow; sons Robert H. Barrow (Karen) and James R. Barrow; and grandson, Kristen Brehm.
A celebration of life will be held on Wednesday October 11, 2023 at Bellas, 872 E. Main St., Abingdon, VA, from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M.. The family invites the community to come and share memories of her.
A funeral service will be held on November 11, 2023 at 2:00 P.M. at the Kingston Parish Episcopal Church in Mathews, VA. All are welcome to attend.
Frost Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Ms. Jeanine Booker.