D. Jean McPherson, 93

Jean McPherson, 93, beloved partner of Dirk Bollenback, died peacefully on Monday, May 2, 2016 while at Regional Hospice & HomeCare of Danbury, CT.  Jean, daughter of Henry and Florence MacKaye, was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 9, 1922.

Following three years of study at the Society of the Arts and Crafts in Detroit, Jean went on to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Chicago Art Institute in 1948.  She also did graduate work at Wayne State University in Detroit.

At the outset of her professional career, Jean was an interior decorator for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company and then for private decorating studios.  She became a technical illustrator for Kaiser Motors, the Chrysler Corporation, and free-lanced for the Ford and General Motor companies.  She was recognized as one of the foremost illustrators in this field in the Detroit area and the initial woman to be so employed there.

Jean moved to Connecticut in 1960 with her husband, Ramsey.  She became Art and Research Director for the weekly NBC television program for children, “Ring around the World,” where she appeared on camera doing interviews, illustrations and sketches for five years.  She was also was a guest speaker and illustrator for various community activities in the Hartford area.  During this time she and Ramsey were blessed with the births of their son, John and daughter Judy.

Jean and her family later relocated in White Plains, NY where she became a Director of the Beautification Foundation of White Plains for five years.  She then formed her own company, J-Mac Enterprises, doing consulting and technical illustrations for several New York and Connecticut firms such as Perkin Elmer, the Dictaphone Corporation, and Homelite.  She was involved in political endeavors, actively engaged in the League of Women Voters.

Upon returning to Connecticut, Jean worked for Electric Boat in Groton as Senior Technical illustrator as she and her husband took up residency in Montville for several years.

In 1988 Jean and Ramsey retired to Ocala, FL. There, firm in her Christian faithfulness, Jean was a founder of Episcopal Church of the Advent. She returned to her primary artistic loves—such as painting portraits, murals and theatrical settings. In addition she wrote and did promotional artwork for several organizations in the Ocala area. Jean’s diverse cultural interests and inclinations also led to her becoming Vice President of the Friends of the Library and active in the Women’s Republican Club while in Ocala.

Later she and her husband returned once again to Connecticut and settled in Ridgefield. One particular distinction was her election to The National League of American Pen Women, Inc., an organization for professional artists, writers, and musicians of note. Jean also became highly active in Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church as a lector, licensed lay Eucharistic minister, and part-time helper in the office.

Jean’s grief after Ramsey’s death on January 24, 2008 was relieved when she became good friends with Dirk Bollenback. She found joy again in their relationship and moved to Ridgefield Crossings to be with Dirk where she was happy and actively engaged in conducting classes in art appreciation, drawing, and classical music. She was also instrumental in helping organize art shows featuring the diverse talent of residents.

Over many years Jean’s artistic works have been displayed at such sites as The Chicago Art Institute, the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, the Greenwich (CT) Art Gallery and exhibited in such communities as Hartford, Greenwich, White Plains and Ridgefield.

Jean is survived by her partner, Dirk, her son John McPherson of Barkhamsted, CT, her daughter Judy Longo of Ridgefield, and her five grandchildren, Ella and Dana McPherson of Barkhamsted, and Jill, Sandra and Christopher of Ridgefield.

A funeral service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT on Friday, May 13, 2016 at 2:30pm followed by a reception at North Hall at the church.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Stephen’s Music Fund.