Jean (Isherwood) Haines

August 2, 1929 ~ January 26, 2022 (age 92)


Jean Isherwood Haines


Jean passed away peacefully on January 26, 2022 in Hingham, Massachusetts.  She is survived by her two daughters, Kathryn Hopper Flynn (Gary) and Ellen Hopper Allen (Rob); her older brother James E. Isherwood; her cousin H. Robert Reynolds (Kristin); grandchildren Patrick Higgins, John Higgins, Daniel Allen and Elizabeth Allen; stepson Richard Haines; stepdaughter-in-law Robin Haines (wife of deceased stepson Brad Haines) and grandchildren Zachary, Addison and Emily Haines; niece Barbara (Isherwood) Indseth (Bob and son Eric); nephews Nicholas and Aaron Isherwood (sons of her deceased younger brother, Robert Isherwood) and many members of the Hopper family who are relatives of her first husband.


Jean was born August 2, 1929 as Dorothy Jean Isherwood in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Dorothy Mae (Curry) Isherwood and James Ernest Isherwood.  Her parents had met at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.  Jean’s father was an attorney.  Jean loved her years growing up in the “big house” in Waynesburg.  As a young girl, she marched in the town parade with her goat (payment to her father from a client), hunted for black widow spiders with her brother Jim, and stole pennies from her dad’s change jar to buy candy.  Sadly, her father passed away during her senior year in high school and  Jean and family had to move mid-school year to Meadville near her mother’s family.  She entered Allegheny College in the fall, majoring in English and Speech.  She met her first husband there on the debate team, Jeff Hopper (Arthur Jeffery).  Upon graduation, Jean was asked to teach speech at Allegheny—rare for someone with just a B.A. and a testament to what a bright student she was.  Allegheny required her to get a Masters degree in the summers, which she happily obtained at Northwestern University. 


After marrying Jeff in 1953, they moved to New Jersey where he attended Drew Theological School and later to New Haven, Connecticut where he got his Ph.D from Yale.  During those years, Jean taught at various high schools and community colleges and had their two daughters, now Kathryn Hopper Flynn (1955) and Ellen Hopper Allen (1959).  After a brief time in Salinas, Kansas, the family settled in Delaware, Ohio, where Jean taught English at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU).  She had a thirty year career at OWU that also included running their Writing Center and being Director of Academic Advising.  During that time she established a grammar hotline that received calls from all over the country.  Jean was a genuine listener and wonderful conversationalist gaining her countless dear friends in Delaware.  She also remained close to all of Jeff’s family throughout her life, seeing them often at the family summer place on Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire as well as on cross country trips.


During her time in Delaware, the family spent one year living in Ziegelhausen, a small town outside Heidelberg, Germany.  They traveled throughout Western Europe during that wonderful year.  Jean knew little German and the merchants little English, but she never lacked a sense of humor and perseverance in communicating.  One time she had a clogged drain and asked the shopkeeper “Haben sie (Do you have?) glug, glug, glug?” while moving her hand in the shape of an elbow drainpipe.  He replied, “Moechten sie (Do you want?) Drano?”  Mission accomplished!  Her creative foreign language efforts also showed when she and Jeff helped resettle a Cuban refugee family in Delaware.  She would speak English to Sena, Victor and Carlos Artigas, but try to use a Spanish accent to be better understood.  Victor keeps in touch to this day.


Her ability to compromise and adapt did not stop there.  She agreed to adopt a stray cat “Bungle” that Kathy brought home from elementary school one day.  It had “followed her home” (albeit firmly grasped in Kathy’s arms).  And when Kathy was a teen and wouldn’t eat breakfast, Jean’s persistence came through when she offered up soup.


As with adults, Jean was popular with all Ellen’s friends.  Jean would stop by the table while they were playing cards or bop into a slumber party and dance a little jig for them while singing a tune.  Ellen and Jean baked countless cookies together every Christmas, a holiday Jean made magical every year with beautiful decorations and many gifts (even if they were new underwear or a can of soup to fill up a stocking). 


While living near Delaware, Kathy had two children with first husband, Bill Higgins: Patrick Curry (1976) and John Connor (1978).  Jean and Jeff spent much time with their grandsons including a summer road trip to California visiting national parks and lots of family.  Pat, like Jean, is an avid reader and movie watcher.  John proved to be Jean’s real “chip off the old block,” getting his Ph.D in British literature, specializing in Shakespeare.  He is married to concert pianist and music professor, Cicilia Yudha.  Jean was radiant when Cicilia played “Claire de Lune” and other classical pieces at her residence, Allerton House (see below), last September.  She was also thrilled to meet her only great grandchild, John’s and Cicilia’s  two year old daughter Clara. 


In 1989 after 35 years of marriage, Jeff and Jean divorced.  She was heartbroken, but resilient. Vic (Louis Victor) Haines, widower of her best childhood friend, contacted Jean because his late wife Vera (“Beanie”), had encouraged him to do so before she passed.  Vic soon fell in love with Jean and asked her to marry him.  After much thought, she wholeheartedly agreed by giving him a gift box full of responses:   “Let’s do it,” “I’d love to” and many more.  They married in 1992 and Jean moved to Vic’s home in Morgantown, WV where he had been a professor and resident photographer at West Virginia University.  In 1999, they moved to Osprey Village, an over-55 community on Amelia Island, Florida.  Their home abutted a golf course, Vic’s hobby, and they could walk to the beach, one of Jean’s favorite things. 


Meanwhile, in 1982 Ellen had married her college sweetheart Rob (Robert Shaw Allen, Jr.) and they settled in Massachusetts.  Jean dubbed herself, “the Dread Mother-in-Law” and always signed gift cards that way; she was, of course, nothing of the sort!  In 1994, Jean got two more grandchildren when Ellen and Rob had twins, Elizabeth Anne and Daniel James.  While they were babies, the four of them moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina for two years.  Jean and Vic visited, including a trip to the stunning Andes mountains.  Later, Liz and Dan loved visiting Grandma and “Gra Gra” at Amelia, driving the golf cart to the pool, sipping Oreo cookie milkshakes and searching for sharks’ teeth on the beach.  Kathy and now husband Gary Flynn also bought a home nearby on Amelia, so Jean saw lots of both daughters and their families.  Liz is now a marine biologist working as a consultant and a free lance writer.  Dan works in education as a behavioral crisis specialist in the Framingham, Massachusetts public schools.  Clearly Jean’s love of writing and education made a lasting impression on both of them.


Vic also brought more family into Jean’s life including his two sons, Dick (Richard Claude) and Brad (William Bradley).  Brad (now deceased) and his wife Robin had three children:  Zach (William Zachary), Addison (Louis Addison) and Emily (Emily Ruth).  She embraced being their Grandma and they too enjoyed golf cart rides, as well as Jean’s German Apple cake, chocolate chip cookies and lots of movies.  They remember her trademark intelligence, humor and kindness.  All seven grandchildren appreciated fun trips with Jean and Vic to the Kennedy Space Center and the B.E.A.K.S. Emergency bird shelter.  Robin and Dick continued to be in touch with Jean long after Vic passed away.


Jean became quite adventurous in her retirement years.  She and Vic loved visiting Dick and his (now deceased) wife Barbara at their farm in Georgia.  One time while visiting them, Jean showed her adventurous nature.  She took a ride on their ATV, but lost control, struck a stone wall and launched herself up and over the handlebars, fortunately only getting a few bruises when she fell.  She also parasailed and zip lined during those years—both without dramatic incident.


Jean always loved to travel.  Besides the year in Europe and visit to Argentina, she traveled to Cuba as a child, to the west coast and back on several road trips over the years and to Russia in connection with her work at OWU.  She and Vic honeymooned in Nova Scotia and traveled multiple times to Italy where they satisfied Jean’s chocolate cravings with tiramisu.  They vacationed in Hawaii with Ellen and Rob, where Vic enjoyed the golf and Jean visited her brother Bob’s first wife, owner of a small coffee and macadamia nut farm on the Big Island.  In 2002 she and Kathy took a trip to New Zealand and Australia where Jean got to hold a baby kangaroo and climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  In 2011, two years after Vic passed away, Jean took Kathy and Ellen on a safari in Southern Africa.  There she saw many giraffes, her favorite animal.  She leaves behind many carved, stuffed and other versions of giraffes, most of whom are now “living” with Ellen and Rob.


After Vic passed away in 2009, Jean remained at Osprey Village.  A couple years later, she met Frank Farnan and they enjoyed several years together there.  He made her feel special and loved, as did his children.


Jean began to have short term memory problems around 2015 and was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  In early 2017 she moved to Allerton House, a memory care assisted living home in Massachusetts near Ellen and Rob.  She hated that she was “losing her mind” and fought hard to remember all her family.  She continued to make jokes and play word games with everyone.  While lacking in short term memory, she could still recite Hamlet’s “To be or not to be…” speech, as well as many poems and songs, until her last days.   She was a favorite of the wonderful staff at Allerton House. 


Jean and Ellen were able to go out often until Covid.  They saw Yo Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax at Boston Symphony Hall, a bucket list item for Jean.  They also drove to Tanglewood to see her cousin Bob Reynolds, a professional conductor, direct a beautiful concert.  Their outings nearly always ended by getting chocolate chip ice cream.  For Jean the only important food groups were chocolate, ice cream and raw carrot sticks.


Throughout her life Jean attracted many friends with her cheerful disposition, engaging conversations and fun sense of humor.  She knew how to make everyone feel special and unique.  She liked to write short poems, often sending one to friends on their birthdays or at Christmas.  She continued to write some poetry even while contending with her dementia including the one below.*  For the record, she was truly “Jeannie with the light brown hair,” never having had any gray hair!  She was a wonderful mother, wife, grandmother, great grandmother, step mother and friend who will be missed by many for years to come.


Jean’s family is arranging a gathering at Amelia Island in early May to remember her and spread her ashes in the ocean.  Please contact them if you’d like to join them.





*Nonagenarian?  Not Me! 


The day I become Ninety

The world will not end

I’ll still have my chocolate

And of course, a friend.


If I choose to look back

There is much to remember.

Like looking at May

From the end of December.


Second Grade comes to mind,

Mrs. Schultz was dear and kind.

I learned about maps and geography

People in places

Where they were born to be.


(By Jean Haines 7/22/19)

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