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Obituary: Jeanne Bassett ’36

Jeanne Bassett ’36

BASSETT, Jeanne 97, of Oxford, died peacefully Sunday morning, March 7, 2010. Born December 16, 1912, in Madison, Wisconsin, daughter of Harry Kendall Bassett and Hester Adeline Brown Bassett, she was the youngest of four children. The family moved to Berkley, California, when Jeanne was one year old, where her father worked on the Panama-Pacific Exposition. When her father died of appendicitis when was four, the family moved to Antigo, Wisconsin, where Jeanne spent her elementary school years. In 1924, the family moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio, where Jeanne graduated from Bryan High School in 1930. She participated in many activities and sports, earning a spot on the all-county basketball 1st team as center/forward. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Antioch College in 1936.

She was employed at Orchard School in Indianapolis from 1936-1937, and subsequently as executive secretary at a club for working girls while working toward a graduate degree at Smith College in Massachusetts. In 1940, she accepted a position teaching outdoor education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Subsequently, she taught all women's phys. ed. classes. She received her Master's degree from Miami, with concentration in Physical Education and Outdoor Education. She was the director of the nature program at the Women's Recreation Association (WRA) cabin, was greatly admired by her students, and continued to maintain close contact with many of them long after their college days were past.

She was a pioneer in the camping field, was adept in identifying birds and wildflowers, and was far ahead of her time in understanding ecology and caring for the environment. She retired from Miami in 1975 as an associate professor. A scholarship in her name was created in 1996 to be awarded to a student with a major interest in outdoor education.

Jeanne was a swimmer, and logged hundreds of miles over the years, in Miami's various pools, and in Torch Lake, Michigan. In the summers, she served as counselor at girls' camps: The Joy Camps in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, and Four-Way Lodge on Torch Lake, Michigan. She subsequently bought lakefront property on Torch Lake, and built a summer home on that site. She has spent every summer there since. In the summer of 2008, she was awarded the Legacy Shoreline Award for the view of her property from the lake. Jeanne was a season ticket holder for Miami's football & basketball games, Miami and OxACT theatre productions, and the Fine Arts series.

Two years ago, she was recognized for having attended every home basketball game in Miami since 1941, unless illness prevented it. In 1991, she was awarded Oxford's "Citizen of the Years", for her many activities, service to town & university, and providing transportation to many events for people unable to drive. Until her mid-80's, she could be seen regularly riding her motorized scooter around Oxford.

She was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Oxford and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elk Rapids, Michigan, the McCullough-Hyde Hospital Auxiliary, serving 724 hours as a volunteer from the opening of the hospital. She delivered Meals on Wheels for many years, and read to the residents of Oxford View Nursing Home. She belonged to the American Camping Association, and has served on committees and volunteer positions in many organizations.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Kendall & Phil and sister, Hester, and their spouses. She leaves many nieces, nephews, and their families, and many friends, and her Oxford family, Bill and Nora Ellen Bowers. A memorial service will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday, March 28 at 2:00 p.m. Her cremated remains will be buried in the family plot in Appleton, Wisconsin.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Jeanne Bassett Scholarship for Outdoor Education, c/o Miami University Advancement, Attn: Gifts & Data Management, 725 E. Chestnut St., Oxford, OH 45056, or to a charity of the giver's choice. Smith & Ogle Funeral Home, Oxford, OH in charge of arrangements.