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1931 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Audrey "Jean" Pumphrey December 3, 1931 - August 5, 2014 Jean Pumphrey died peacefully in her Sausalito home on August 5. She was 82, born December 3rd 1931 in Dayton OH to Dr. Robert Earl Pumphrey Jr. and Audrey Randall Pumphrey. She spent many of her formative years in Dayton, graduating from Dennison College in Ohio in 1953. Soon after, she moved to San Francisco. Jean completed a Master's Degree in English at San Francisco State University, and in 1967 began her long and very successful career in teaching at the College of San Mateo. There she taught English and creative writing, and was the Founding Director of the College of San Mateo Poetry Center. Jean brought internationally renowned poets to many campus-wide events at the College. Much of her work was sponsored by hard earned grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from other more local grant agencies. Jean also brought her exceptional gifts in teaching to groups at mental hospitals and convalescent homes. Her gentle and sensitive mentoring, driven by her enthusiasm for the potentials of creative expression, resulted in helping many persons who had never written poetry or prose, and in some cases, had not spoken in years, to write and read their works in these remarkable groups. Jean retired from the College of San Mateo as Professor in 1993, but continued working part time there up until 1995. Soon after retiring, she became a founding member of the Marin Poetry Center (having moved from San Francisco to Sausalito in 1974) and was very active in that capacity. Along with Co-chair Ella Eyton, they organized numerous poetry events throughout the county. Jean hosted many dinner parties at holidays and for visiting poets, often including evenings with readings and original music. Jean published two books, "Poetry: The Way Through Language" (often used as a teaching resource in creative writing courses) and "Sheltered at the Edge," a collection of her poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. At the time of her death she was working on a new edition of "Sheltered at the Edge," and a collection of 100 new poems. Jean was predeceased by her brothers John Randall Pumphrey and Dr. Robert Earl Pumphrey Jr, and survived by her nephew Robert E. Pumphrey III (Allentown, NJ); nieces Kristin Elizabeth Pumphrey (Arlington, VA) and Shelley Lyn Pumphrey (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and her children. Jean will be missed and remembered by her beloved little constant canine companion, Rumi, named after her favorite poet, and by many loving long term friends and colleagues, as well as numerous students for her dedication to poetry and fine writing, her exquisite aesthetic sense, wit, and loyal and gracious friendship. Donations in Jean's memory may be sent to the Marin Poetry Center. Information on a celebration of her life and works will be announced.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Aug. 17, 2014
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