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Jean Pehrson Rumsey

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Rumsey, Jean Pehrson

Jean Pehrson Rumsey (née Wilma Jean Sutton) died Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She was born in Madison County, Arkansas, on November 17, 1933 to Keith and Doris (Long) Sutton. In 1957, she married Charles Rumsey, and received a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

She spent the next several years working at home, raising children. At times, she taught in the English department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and worked at an alternative high school. Eventually, she returned to school and obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1988.

After receiving her Ph.D., she became an assistant professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, focusing her research and writing on Kantian and feminist theory, and health care ethics. In 1999, she retired as an associate professor, and returned to Wisconsin.

After retiring, she was an active participant in the University of Wisconsin's lifelong learning program, teaching classes including her favorite, "Women in Philosophy." She also tutored second-graders in reading, and was an active member of the League of Women Voters.

She was a longtime member of the Stevens Point Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, although she enjoyed pointing out that "Unitarians believe there is, at most, one god." She was a member of the American Philosophical Association, The Kant Society, the Hastings Center, and The Society of Women in Philosophy. Her hobbies included playing guitar and growing plants, particularly wildflowers.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Robert Pehrson, who died in 1955 while they were in Pakistan, where he was conducting fieldwork for his graduate degree. She was also preceded in death by her beloved daughter Anne Rumsey in 2011. She is survived by her husband, Charles H. Rumsey, and son, Hugh Rumsey both of Stevens Point; daughters Elizabeth Rumsey (Steve Rice) of Duluth, MN and Mary Rumsey (Karl Olmstead) of Minneapolis, MN; brothers, Max (Claire) Sutton of Fayetteville, AR and Bill (Patty) Sutton of Rogers, AR; sister, Marjorie Dickinson of Chicago; five grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

At her request, services will be private. In lieu of memorials, donations to a are appreciated.

Online condolences may be sent by visiting


Published in Stevens Point Journal on May 19, 2014
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