Friend to generations of Bromfield teachers and students, Fruitlands docent, pre-Title 9 athlete
Jean Crispen. (Courtesy photo)
Jean Livingstone Crispen, of Bolton, a friend and mentor to countless Bromfield students and staff members, died Sunday, June 24, 2018, after a brief illness at the age of 97. She was predeceased by David, her husband of 64 years.
Jean was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of Scottish immigrants Henry and Flora Livingstone. She was a female athlete in the days when those words were rarely used together. Although the shortest player on the team, Jean was a standout on her high school basketball team. She followed in her father’s footsteps and learned to play golf at a young age. She won her share of local and regional golf tournaments, often traveling to them alone by train. After she attended Austin Peay University, she briefly worked as a bank teller before marrying David.
Jean and David lived in multiple states before they settled on the farm in Bolton where she lived for 58 years. Around the farm Jean was quick to learn new things, including all aspects of construction such as carpentry, plastering, and painting. She also learned a variety of farm skills like fencing, gardening, and home canning. Jean was always ready to try something new—clearly living a life without training wheels.
She worked for many years at the Bromfield School, where she formed strong and enduring relationships with her co-workers and with generations of students. After retiring from Bromfield in 1980, she immediately went to work as a docent in the Shaker House at Fruitlands Museum. She later worked as the assistant to the director for many more years. Her work at Fruitlands reflected her love of antiques. In later years Jean enjoyed reading, caring for her plants, and keeping in touch with her extended family and many friends. Jean never met anyone who didn’t become her friend. She was so fortunate to have loving and dedicated caregivers who helped her maintain her independence. Jean was a true “Coke-aholic,” starting each day with her beverage of choice.
Jean is survived by three children: Reese and his wife, Marie, of Wilmington, North Carolina; Cullen of Billerica; and Whitney and her husband, Mack Hagins, of Chelmsford. Her older daughter, Jennifer, passed away in 2008. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Catherine, of Clarksville, Tennessee, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Her faithful dog, Margaret, will dearly miss her.
A memorial service will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jean’s memory to the Bolton Public Library.