She was born Jean Alice Jackson on February 13, 1922 in St. Clair, Michigan to the late Bruce and Elsie Jackson.
Jean attended school in Marysville, Michigan. She graduated from Marysville High School in 1939 and was class valedictorian. After high school, she attended Michigan State University (then known as Michigan State College), where she majored in chemistry. She became a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. During her senior year, she was elected secretary of her class. Upon graduation in 1943, she moved to Chicago, Illinois and began her career as a chemist. As her first employer was moving out of state, he recommended Jean for a position at the University of Chicago in the Metallurgical Laboratory, which had a contract with the federal government to work on the Manhattan Project. In August of 1945, she was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her participation in contributing to “the successful conclusion of World War II with the production of the atomic bomb.”
Jean continued her career at Argonne National Laboratory, working there for 43 years, and was involved with the creation of Nuclear Medicine Technology. She was married to Paul Robinson (an engineer) for six years during the 1950s.
Always a staunch advocate of women’s rights, she became involved in the politics of the 1970’s and lobbied tirelessly for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the state of Illinois. Her interest in politics lasted throughout her life. Jean was a member of Emily’s list and was a strong supporter of women running for public office locally and nationally.
She was a seasoned traveler and her journeys took her throughout both the United States and foreign countries.
She was a very generous supporter of many causes and many students benefitted from her benevolence to her alma mater (Michigan State University) and her sorority (Alpha Gamma Delta). Many in need were helped by her generous heart.
Jean is survived by her devoted friend and companion, James Holmes, Oak Lawn, Illinois; her nephew, Basil Zimmer, Jr. (Theresa) of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; her niece, Linda (Bill) Walsh of Bernardsville, New Jersey; her nephews, Oren Robert Keefe, Jr. (Cheryl) of Lapeer, Michigan and Bruce F. Keefe (Marilyn) of St. Clair, Michigan; eleven nieces and nephews; and several great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bruce and Elsie Jackson; her sister, Janet (Jackson) Zimmer and brother-in-law, Basil Zimmer, Sr.; her sister, Frances (Jackson) Keefe and brother-in-law, Oren Robert Keefe, Sr.
Visitation will be 7-9 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2013 and 10-11 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2013 in the Marysville Funeral Home with a service following at 11 a.m. The Rev. Barbara Welbaum will officiate.
Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, St. Clair.