Cover photo for Jean Messimer's Obituary
Jean Messimer Profile Photo
1920 Jean 2014

Jean Messimer

November 30, 1920 — February 7, 2014

The Boulder community lost a member of the Greatest Generation when Jean Messimer died on Friday, February 7, 2014. She spent the final days of her life in the competent care of TRU Community Care (Hospice) at Balfour, with her loving family around her. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. at the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1241 Ceres Drive, Lafayette. Burial will be a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in the spring. In the summer, look for commemorative bricks with Jean's name in the Centennial Garden at Chautauqua in Boulder. Jean was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, daughter of Voorhis David Demarest and Emma Lillian Schoonmaker. She maintained close ties with both sides of her family. She helped her father publish the Demarest family genealogy and planned many get-togethers with her Schoonmaker cousins over the years. Jean was a proud graduate of Mount Holyoke College and attended numerous college reunions including her 70th in May 2013! Upon college graduation, Jean became a U.S. Navy WAVE and served as a cryptanalyst in the nation's capital during World War II. After the war, Jean met Prentice Messimer in Washington, D.C. He was an Army veteran who served in the OSS in India and Burma. They shared an interest in hiking, literature, the arts and a liberal perspective on politics and religion. With the coming of peace, they both worked in newly formed organizations to strengthen America, she as editor for the National Science Foundation and he with the CIA. They were married on January 13, 1951. When he died three years later, Jean moved their two children, Mollie and Pete, back to Hackensack, NJ to be near family while the children were young. Jean was involved in her children's and civic activities and completed a Masters degree at Rutgers University. In 1963, Jean packed her kids into her brand new Rambler, complete with push button transmission (on the dash), and drove across country to Boulder for a librarian position at the University of Colorado. They lived in the Chautauqua neighborhood and enjoyed many good times in the park. Jean retired as the Head of the Engineering Library in 1986. A highlight of her career was serving as librarian on the Semester at Sea ship which sparked her interest in international travel. Since then, Jean visited dozens of foreign countries on all but one continent. (There are thousands of Kodachrome slides to prove it!) At home, she hosted foreign students, enjoyed being their "sensai" (teacher) and invited several to become part of her family. Jean was an active member of the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Beside travel, both foreign and domestic, she enjoyed reading, hiking, gardening, bridge, cryptoquotes, writing quirky annual Christmas poems and especially time with family and friends. Jean is survived by a daughter, Mollie Jean Messimer of Lewisburg, West Virginia, a son Prentice "Pete" David Messimer of Boulder, granddaughter Katherine Messimer of Boulder, grandson Michael and his wife Kimberly Messimer of Denver and great grandson Shawn Lankford of Boulder. In Jean's memory, please learn about and support the efforts of Compassion and Choices (formerly The Hemlock Society), a national organization working toward the legalization of physician aid in dying for competent persons who choose an expedited death near the end of their lives. Compassion and Choices has chapters in every state and in many localities, including Colorado and here in Boulder.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Service Information

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Starts at 2:30 pm (Mountain time)

Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

1241 Ceres Drive, Lafayette, CO 80026

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