Member BenefitsMember Stories
Mar 4, 2024
2 Minute Read

Jean Tamburello, the Inner Artist She Discovered

Jean Tamburello, 87, gives a new meaning to being a late bloomer. After raising a family, caring for her ill husband and elderly aunt, decades of running a restaurant, and putting her interest in art on the backburner, she picked up a paint brush and rediscovered her talent. That was only a few short years ago. She now has so many paintings that there are too many to hang.

Jean grew up in North Kansas City. She counts herself lucky to have this creative outlet, to be in good health, and have a very active life with lots of family and friends. This includes another Blue KC member, Flo, who lives with Jean.

Jean and Flo are two friends with a rare and special living arrangement—their children are married! The moms live together with their children and three dogs—two Great Danes and a Border Collie. The house is always bustling with daily engagement with family around meals and frequent visits from grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Jean fondly recalls the time she met her daughter-in-law. It was at an Italian restaurant her husband owned in North Kansas City. A woman walked in dressed in pink proudly carrying a baby dressed in all pink. Many years later, that baby become her son’s wife and the woman became her dear friend, Flo.

Jean’s husband had always been in the restaurant business and Jean eventually joined him. For about 25 years, Jean, her husband, and two sons owned and operated Marty’s BBQ restaurant. They were well known for their unique sauces and innovative dishes. Everything was made from scratch. She claims she didn’t know anything about the restaurant business initially, but she asked a lot of questions and decided, “I’ll just treat people the way I like to be treated when I’m out.”

Jean later found her way back to painting when she connected with local artists affiliated with The Art
Study Club, which is more than 100 years old. She specifically credits her aunt for encouraging her to paint again and to take a class. She also credits the local artist who manages the Club for offering a studio where she could go to learn and paint for hours without interruption. This provided her with an even larger social network that she is happy to have found.

Nowadays, Jean paints primarily with oils; however, she has worked with other mediums including copper tooling. She enjoys painting a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and has even been known to take requests. When she started, she began by trying to reproduce some of the great masters. With the talent she exhibits, it’s hard to imagine she has not been painting all her life. When asked what advice she would give others to encourage painting or drawing, Jean responded, “I think you’re always learning.” She encourages everyone to keep an open mind, even as they age.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s Blue Medicare Advantage includes both HMO and PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Blue Medicare Advantage depends on contract renewal.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The HMO products are offered by Blue-Advantage Plus of Kansas City, Inc. and the PPO products are offered by Missouri Valley Life and Health Insurance Company, both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and both wholly owned subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

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