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Namesake of MaMa Jean's dies at 89

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Last edited 2:30 p.m., March 19, 2024 [Editor's note: An incorrect name spelling has been fixed.]

The namesake of MaMa Jean's Natural Foods Market LLC has died.

Jean Farbin, 89, died March 8, according to an obituary posted to the website of Ava Family Funeral Home.

The company, which does business as MaMa Jean's Natural Market, announced Farbin's passing in a Facebook post yesterday.

"Jean was a legend, a mentor, a mother, a grandmother, a friend and the namesake of MaMa Jean's Natural Market," the post reads. "She was 'The MaMa Jean.'"

Farbin started Jean’s Healthway in Ava in the late 1970s, according to the post. Farbin and the business were the inspiration for MaMa Jean's, founded by her daughter, Susie Kawamoto, and business partner Diana Hicks, according to Mama Jean's website.

MaMa Jean’s, which was established in 2002, now has three locations in the Queen City.

Jean Farbin sold Jean’s Healthway to one of her employees, Rachel Barry, in 2020, according to the Facebook post.

"Jean’s Healthway became a cornerstone business and served the Ava area for more than 40 years by offering organic groceries, quality supplements, local goods and more," the post reads. "Jean's legacy will live on for many years to come through Jean's Healthway in Ava, MO, and also through MaMa Jean's Natural Markets in Springfield, MO."


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