Jeanne W. Chaussee

Jeanne W. Chaussee

Jeanne W. Chaussee, 72, died suddenly on June 9 in Ajijic, Mexico where she lived much of the last 32 years. Born in Seattle on August 18, 1940, Chaussee was educated at Bothell High School and the University of Montana. She married Lloyd Townsend in 1959, to whom she was married for 15 years. Her work with the Democratic Party and running her art gallery in Snohomish were favorite highlights from this period.

Chaussee fell in love with Mexico in the late 1970s and moved to Guadalajara in 1981 with (then) partner Paul Safstrom to teach at the American School, an experience she spoke of fondly for the rest of her life. She performed in and directed musical theater for several years, and by 1986 was a writer for the Guadalajara Colony Reporter. She left Mexico in the mid-1990s to be near her aging father Wil Chaussee in Missoula, Montana, and in 1999 returned to the paper and moved permanently to Ajijic, Mexico. She was a widely respected columnist and arts reporter with a big personality, known for her humor, strong opinions, and wild, unbridled zest for life.

A celebration of her life will take place in the central plaza of Ajijic on Saturday, June 22 at 4pm, with a stateside celebration in Washington in mid-August. She is survived by her daughters Allison Ford McKenzie (Mike) in Oregon, Roxanne Smith (Tim) in Washington, and Elizabeth "Libby" Townsend in Ajijic; sister Yvette Clevish (Ken) in Montana; grandchildren Nathaniel Chandler and Amara Hatfield; Lloyd Townsend, Paul Safstrom, dozens of Chaussee cousins, and many friends.

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Published in The Seattle Times from June 14 to June 15, 2013