Jean Joseph Irola

April 7, 1934April 26, 2012

Jean Joseph Irola April 7, 1934 - April 26, 2012 Jean J. Irola passed away on April 26, 2012. He is survived by his three children Alain Irola, Gisele Stuewe and Jan Irola, Jr. and also a granddaughter, Brianna Stuewe. He passed away peacefully with his family at his side after a brief battle with melanoma. Jean came to the U.S in 1951 from Bardos, France where he apprenticed in a culinary program. After meeting his wife, Germaine "Gigi", he opened his first restaurant in Los Angeles at the age of 22. They moved to the Inland Empire in 1965 with their three children where they purchased the Thorpes Coffee Shop. After 5 years of introducing French cuisine to their patrons, the restaurant was remodeled and renamed Jean's French Restaurant. He has been a successful Chef for over 50 years and received numerous awards for the culinary feats and was recently awarded Best in Dining for 2012 in the February issue of Inland Empire magazine. He greeted everyone he met with a charming smile, kindness and compassion. He loved people and was always making new friends, whether it be while traveling on vacation or going to try out a new restaurant in L.A. or Orange County. He loved what he did and continued to work until his 78th birthday saying that he would be lost if he had retired and was not able to continue to provide the community with his new creations. His wonderful staff, Edelmira, Andy, Blanca, Rosie, Jessica and Maria have also been his family over the past 25 + years and he has credited them also for the success of the restaurant. His passing creates a deep void in the lives of all who loved him. He will be greatly missed and we will forever keep him in our hearts as our father, grandfather and friend. A memorial mass will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Monday, May 7th at the Montecito Memorial Park Valley View Chapel in Colton and a viewing will be on Sunday, May 6th from 4-8 P.M. with a Rosary being said at 6 P.M. also in the Chapel.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, May 7, 2012


Jean Joseph Irola

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Colleen Frye

April 23, 2013

My husband (Ralph) and I ate at Jean's at least once a week for the twenty five years we lived in the Inland Empire. It was by far the best restaurant in the area and for French food beat out the famous restaurants in L.A. and Orange Counties that took several hours to drive to. We loved that restaurant and Jean as well, as he had become our friend during that time. I was able to go back and lunch at the restaurant and visit with Jean around Christmas, 2011 and am so glad that I did. Jean will be missed.

May 7, 2012

Jean was one of the first people to welcome our Dad to the neighborhood when he opened his Service Station two blocks from Jean in 1967. We would describe Jean as an Honest, Loving, Caring, Wonderful, Compassionate man with Integrity who loved his family and friends deeply. He always had such a sweet and gentle spirit about him. Not to mention, he was the best Chef on the Planet! He is preparing wonderful French Cuisine for the Lord now. We are so blessed and honored to have known him and call him a dear friend of our family. We miss him so much but know we will see him again in Heaven. Love & Blessings, Harvetta (San Bernardino, Ca.) & Cordelia Fox (Fairfield, Ca)

May 5, 2012

My Mom took me to Jean's in 1971 when I was 16 yrs old for Bouillabaisse. And I have been going to the restaurant ever since. All but 4 times I managed to make reservations on a Friday and I always had the same dish. Even the other 4 times I loved what I ordered. I miss him already, and my wife, mother, and all of the people we ever invited to meet him will miss him too. I certainly hope that the restaurant will continue somehow, because we have come to love Andy and the rest as well. Long May You Run, Jean.

Sam & Carol Smethers, Redlands

Dave Parks

May 2, 2012

We will miss him very much. We ate many meals over the years. He always made a grand marnier souffle on our anniversary, which was delicious! He came & talked to our family when we dined. We send our love to the family in their sorrow. Dave & Sue Parks

Martin & Isabelle Lassa

May 2, 2012

Martin and I went to Jean's place when we lived in Colton in 1965, we were just newlyweds. We also saw him at the Basque picnics. We will miss him.

Bill & Janet Coleman

May 2, 2012

My family has been going to Jean's for four generations. We will surely miss Jean,his smile and his lovely heart. We loved it when he would share his memories. He will be truly missed.

Sylvia Robles

May 2, 2012

Celebrating a life well lived. Jean's was a respite for us for a few decades. A beautiful spot on Colton's lovely La Cadena Drive. To your children and employee family, our condolences. Bob and Sylvia Robles, Grand Terrace

May 1, 2012

I will miss him. He was a great man. I thank God that I had the chance to know him.

Doug Stephenson

Ernie and Erin Salazar

May 1, 2012

You have been a part of my wife's family all the way back to her great grandfather. The very first time that I met you I felt like I was part of your family. Your kindness and sincerity was always present from talking with you to the emotion that came out in your food. My wife was very thankful that she had the chance to apprentice with you and learn so very much. We will miss spending special occasions with you at your restaurant. Au revoir, Merci beaucoup and reposer en paix Jean.

Gilbert Lanathoua

April 27, 2012

I will also remember the love and kindness Jean always showed me and my family. We will miss you Jean, you definitely left a positive mark on this world. I pray that we could be as kind, loving, and accepting to each other as you were to everyone.