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Jean Purdy Rosseau, 88, of Sherborn, MA, and Meredith, NH passed away peacefully with her family on March 10, 2023. She is reunited with her husband, Lee, who predeceased her in 1973. She is survived by her two children: Laurie Flowers, and her husband, Jeff; Todd Rosseau and his wife Stephanie; and her grandchildren: Rachelle and Olivia Flowers; and Austin and Jessica Rosseau.
Jean was born in Elmira, New York to the late Frederick Albert and Mary Margery (Johns) Purdy. She went to East Aurora High school, where she was known as “Purd,” and her ambition in her yearbook was to be a model. She loved being active and was talented in sports – playing on the basketball, field hockey, senior bowling, volleyball, and softball teams. She was also involved with the National Honor Society, art club, library, and service club.
She graduated from Cornell University in 1956, with a degree in Home Economics and a Master of Science in 1957. With a different father, she would have studied architecture. At Cornell, she was a sister in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and continued to be active in sports and student government. She met and fell in love with her husband, Lee, there. He taught her how to ski, which became a life-long passion. They married in 1958 and moved to California to finish Lee’s commitment to the Navy. In the summer of 1960, they drove to Alaska and camped along the way. They sold their car and all their camping gear in Alaska and flew to Europe where they spent the summer traveling with Jean’s parents. They returned for one more year at Cornell where Lee finished his MBA, and Jean taught with her former professors.
They moved to Massachusetts in 1961 where their children were born. In 1964, they moved to Sherborn, where Jean resided the rest of her life – living first on Snow Street and then designing and building her beautiful passive solar house in the woods.
Jean was a presence – both in height (6’ 1”) and in personality. She carried herself with grace and ease and never hesitated to speak her mind. You always knew what she was thinking. Fiercely independent -- her ingenuity, determination, and thriftiness got her through many challenges in her life. She lost her husband when her children were just 7 and 9, but she persevered and was a strong, determined and loving mother.
She was actively involved in her community and church. Her hobbies and interests were endless – gardening, skiing, tennis, golf, sailing, sewing, basket weaving, flower arrangements, boating -- to name a few! She got her real estate license and was a long-time town assessor. She was a caterer for local events for many years. She was a member of the Sherborn Garden Club and used her creativity and talent to make beautiful centerpieces for all family holidays, and Christmas wreaths for her children’s houses each year. She belonged to the Sherborn Yacht club and was in the church book club and quilting group. In her later years, she loved being in the Sherborn Golf Club and serving on the board and volunteering for the Council on Aging.
She loved New Hampshire – for the lakes, snow and water skiing -- but also the loons! Her loon-filled Meredith house was a revolving door filled with extended family and friends (of hers, but also of her children and grandchildren). She relished a full house and the noise and chaos that came with it. Her children and grandchildren so appreciated the time spent there. Memories abound – to skiing, sledding, snowshoeing in the winter – to swimming, fishing, water skiing, boating, watching loons, walks downtown, sunsets, golf, long delicious dinners and playing games.
“Gamma” loved being a grandmother and would often say that her grandchildren meant the world to her. Her eyes sparkled when she talked to or about them. Her pride knew no bounds. She was an attentive, loving and active presence in their lives.
She was a true friend to many. She remained close to her Cornell friends, and had rich, long-term local friendships that she nurtured. She cared deeply for her friends and was always willing to help or provide advice in times of need.
Jean was an adventurer and travelled the world extensively. With Lee when she was first married, and later with friends and family. She skied, golfed, and snowblowed well into her eighties, and remained active up until the end — walking with the “girls” daily. She left this world on her own terms – independent almost to the end – despite a six-year stage four cancer diagnosis. Her fierce strength and will were indomitable. She was loved deeply and will be missed terribly.
A memorial service will be held June 3rd at 11 am at Pilgrim Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pilgrim Church, 25 S. Main St., Sherborn, MA, 01770 or the Loon Preservation Committee 183 Lees Mill Rd, Moultonborough, NH 03254.