HomeObituariesServices Saturday for Longtime Resident Jean Simpson

Services Saturday for Longtime Resident Jean Simpson

Jean Isabelle Cowan Simpson – a former 43-year San Marino resident and never-ending community volunteer – has died. She was 81.

Jean was born December 3, 1935 in Los Angeles, the younger of two children born to Edith Olson and Leo Cowan. She passed away peacefully on March 19 in Coto de Caza, surrounded by family.

Jean graduated from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, and then attended UCLA just after her 17th birthday, where she was active in the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and earned her B.A. degree in English and Speech with a minor in Spanish. She also was involved with Chimes, and served in executive positions with Homecoming, Spring Sing and as president of Wings.

Jean married Sherwood Lyle “Woody” Simpson on June 22, 1956, in the Los Angeles LDS Temple after meeting on a blind date. Their first ten years of marriage were spent moving quite a bit as Woody was transferred from Southern California to Tacoma, WA, Toronto, Canada, and Canton, OH, until they settled in San Marino in 1966. Woody and Jean were married for 56 years, until he passed away in 2013.

While living in San Marino, Jean jumped into community activity in the San Marino Woman’s Club Junior Guild, Crown Guild of the Crippled Children’s Society, National Charity League, and served in the various capacities in the PTAs for Stoneman Elementary, Huntington Middle School, San Marino High School and then served as the PTA Council President. She was named an “Outstanding Young Woman of America” in 1970 on the basis of her civic, charitable and professional achievements.

Jean followed Woody in volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America as well, where she served as Guide Patrol Leader and served on the boards for San Gabriel Valley Council and four National Boy Scout Jamborees. For years, she chaired the “Wind Beneath Their Wings” luncheon for mothers of Eagle Scouts. For her dedication to the Boy Scouts of America, she earned the Silver Fawn, the predecessor to the Silver Beaver for women. She also served in Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scouts with her daughters.

A devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she served in many significant positions of teaching and leadership in many of its organizations, Primary, Young Women and Relief Society, and also served as Stake Young Women’s President and later Stake Relief Society President over 13 congregations. She oversaw the establishment and administration of Southern California chapters of Lambda Delta Sigma, an LDS sorority. She served as a volunteer at both the Los Angeles and Newport Beach LDS Temples.

Prior to moving to San Marino, Jean founded and became president of the Palos Verdes Junior Woman’s Club, and is a lifetime member there.

Next to family, Jean loved world travel with her husband, family and friends and even worked as a part-time travel agent for Titan Travel in San Marino until the end.

Jean survived Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2000, but a couple of years ago developed a rare form of hemolytic anemia, then Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MDS, and Acute Leukemia. She was determined to live life to the fullest, and served where she could as long as possible, traveling and spending time with family and friends until the very end.

People know Jean for her warm and generous spirit, her humor, supportive friendship, adventurous nature, and good eye for the things that matter most in life. She was known to have driven her daughters to “TP” (toilet paper) many homes in San Marino. She would decorate her USC friend’s homes with Bruin blue and gold for big football game days. She had midnight waffle nights with community teenagers who loved to be around her. She made a positive difference in the lives of those she encountered, whether they were old friends or new acquaintances.

Notwithstanding all the accomplishments above, Jean would quickly tell anyone that her greatest achievement in this life was her four children. Jean is survived by those four children and their spouses: Robert (Sarah), Sheryl Hendrickson (Dale), Catherine Farrell (Curtis) and Marilyn Wright (Bill), as well as 20 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, her brother Richard O. Cowan (Dawn), and her very-loved “Dolly.”

Funeral services will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 30522 Via Con Dios, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, on Saturday, March 25 at 11:00 a.m. – closed casket viewing and family condolences will be at 10:00 a.m. She will be buried that afternoon at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena at 2:30 p.m. at a gravesite dedication.

In lieu of flowers, Jean requested that donations be made to LDS Humanitarian Aid at Give.lds.org/humanitarian. Arrangements are being made through O’Connor Mortuary, Laguna Hills.


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