Jean H. Elsberry Bountis

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Pleasanton, Calif. - At the age of 90, Jean Elsberry Bountis passed into the hands of God on Friday, June 27, 2014. She passed away in the presence of family at her home in Pleasanton, where she had resided since 1966.Jean was born Nov. 15, 1923, to Forest and Bessie Hunter Elsberry on a country farm in Paris, Ill.Jean always had a love for music and started playing piano at an early age and faithfully played at Clay's Prairie Church. She spent much of her youth doing chores on the farm, riding her horse and playing with cousins. After graduating from high school in Paris, Ill., she continued her education at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. Two years later, she transferred to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Continuing her passion for music, she learned to play concert harp and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in speech and elocution in 1945.During her university years, she participated in the war endeavors by chairing the Victory Garden effort in Paris, Ill., and by selling war stamps at Northwestern. The university experience inspired her to spread her wings and travel the world, a passion that would always be a part of her. She completed her flight attendant training in Washington, D.C., and flew with Capitol Airlines, TWA and Transocean Airlines from 1946 to 1949. Jean was the first female spokeswoman for Capitol Airlines. As a flight attendant, some of her most memorable trips were flying World War II Displaced Persons (DPs) from all over Europe to the United States on a DC-4. While visiting the Vatican, she met with Pope Pius XII and he blessed a rosary, which was one of her most cherished possessions.In 1950, Jean married a dashing young airline captain, Apostolis "Nick" Bountis, from Manchester, N.H., who had flown the China Burma India "Hump" in World War II.With an educational background in speech, Jean worked in television doing commercials for Necchi Sewing Machine Company and later as a radio disc jockey for KHYD. Jean, Nick and their first three daughters moved to California in 1956, as Nick continued to fly for the airlines. By 1960, Jean and Nick had five daughters, and Jean's parents, Bessie and Forest Elsberry, moved to California in 1962 to help with the grandchildren.The family returned to Manchester, N.H., and Paris, Ill., often to visit grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Jean was a wonderfully committed wife and mother but also continued to remain community-minded. She was one of the founding members of the Lynnewood United Methodist Church in Pleasanton, press secretary for the San Ramon Valley RWF and a representative for Heifer International, personally escorting 340 goats to Seoul, Korea.Jean is survived by her five daughters, Sandra Bountis of Reno, Nev., Jane Bountis-Berthet of Penn Valley, Helen Bountis of Santa Rosa, Betty Anderson of San Juan Capistrano and Linda Bountis of Pleasanton, along with six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.Memorial services were held Saturday, July 5, at Lynnewood United Methodist Church, Pleasanton. In lieu of flowers, help end world hunger by making a charitable donation to Heifer International in Jean's memory at

Published in Union Leader on July 20, 2014
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