Jean Anderson (Allison) Young
Jean Anderson (Allison) Young died May 1, 2018 at Cape Cod Hospital from complications of lung cancer. Surrounded by nearby family, the end was peaceful, swift and filled with love.
Jean was born a month premature in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 1, 1945. She spent her life trying to catch up with herself.
She was the daughter of Robert LaVerne Anderson and Lorna Jane Dedolph. When she was 18 months old, her father died and her mother gravely injured in an automobile accident. Jean and her brothers were fostered by various family members and others for the next year or so, until their mother got out of the hospital. In a full leg cast, Lorna Anderson decided to move to Los Angeles, and drove a Cadillac convertible across country with her three kids. On the way, she married her deceased husband’s best friend, Ralph Allison, so that there would be no legal question as to who would raise the kids. Ralph Allison adopted all three children in California.
Jean grew up in La Puente, California. She spent her days wandering the hillsides, playing with her brothers, and, eventually, helping to care for her two younger sisters. In 1959, the family moved to Hilo, Hawaii. She spent her middle and high school years learning what it was like to be one of the few light-colored in an all-colors of the rainbow school.
In 1963, Jean flew to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State College. Although she didn’t receive her degree there because the college shut down (1967-8 Vietnam War riots), she did begin her first adventures. She was a “hippie” before there was the name to put to it. She was part of a group that produced rock concerts during the same time as the Fillmore Auditorium and enjoyed all the delights of growing up there without restraints. Annoyed at the commercialization of the Haight-Ashbury, Jean followed some friends to Boston in 1967 to study Macrobiotics with Michio Kushi. Fully immersed, she lived in the commune in Boston and helped to enlarge Erewhon, the first macrobiotic food store in Boston.
In early 1970, she came into some insurance money from her biological father’s estate, bought a ticket around the world and took off on the first of many adventures. She traveled all over Europe, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. She continued to travel alone through Greece and Turkey, to Iran and Afghanistan, then to Kashmir and Pakistan, and India. She spent time in some of the poorest places such as Calcutta. From there, she traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and eventually ended up in Kyoto, Japan, where she lived for a year before moving to Tokyo. She taught English, worked in a bar, translated correspondence for businesses, and dubbed English into Japanese films. In 1972, she went back to California, bought a car and spent 6 months traveling across the U.S., stopping here and there, and finally ending up back in Boston.
Pockets empty, it was time to go to work. She found a job at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. During this time, she met the absolute love of her life Andy Young, moved in with him and eventually they married in 1979. Jean completed her S.F. State undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College while her husband was in graduate school. In 1981 she moved to Chatham to live and raise a family. In 1983, Emily was born, followed by Kirtley in 1985. Jean loved being a mother, and called it the “best job there ever was.”
In 1994, Jean paired up with Otis Russell, Tim Wood and a few others to form The ART OF CHARITY, an organization that raised money for children’s organizations in Chatham. The annual event was held, with silent and live auctions. Jean’s role was Physical Set-up – meaning 10,000 sq. ft. of tent, tables, chairs, stage, electronics, lights, and theme decorations. The auction ran for 11 years, with a reprisal in 2012 to help celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Town. Over $400,000 was put to use in various ways giving life to the AoC mission to “touch the life of every child, in-season and out, who lives in the Town.” The organization continues to this day, now helping children in both Chatham and Harwich.
Jean also became involved in the effort to prevent development on the South Chatham Town Forest. The success of that venture emboldened the Board of Selectmen to ask her to serve on the Board of Health. She served on the Board, often as chairman, for 17 years. Some of her accomplishments were the first Nitrogen Loading Regulation based on science and the No Smoking By-Law. Jean also took on a position as secretary at the Depot Road School when it held Pre-school – Grade 1, another job that was “the best in the world.” When the new Middle School opened on Crowell Road, she continued in the system as the Middle School Secretary, again a job she thoroughly enjoyed. She retired some years later from both the Board of Health and the School System.
Jean later came to the Atwood House Museum Archives Department, playing with old papers, photos, and history – another job she thought was “the best.” She also continued her involvement in the Chatham/Monomoy Dollars for Scholars scholarship movement, a mission that changed drastically when the parent organization in 2013, decided it was time for all chapters to have an online presence. Jean took this on and became responsible for seeing many seniors and continuing education students through the application process to receiving awards. In the past three years, the amount of scholarships made available to students this way was approximately $460,000.
In the last two years of her life, when faced with the prospect of cancer, she listened to the various doctors and then as she usually did, said “What needs to be done?” and then “OK, let’s get going.” We expect that’s exactly what she said to the guard when she reached the pearly gates.
She is survived by the loves of her life: her husband Andy, her daughter Emily with husband Evan, daughter Kirtley with husband Louie, honorary daughter Chie with husband Jeff, and the best and most delightful grandsons, Jackson and Isaac, whom she will watch over forever. Also, her brother Dennis, sisters Robin and Jane; nieces Zoe, Kate, Cheri, Lara and a host of grand nieces and nephews; and more friends in Chatham and elsewhere across the country than she can count, who she will depend on to keep the faith and finish all the work that needs to be done. “Let’s get going!”
A celebration of her life will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday May 12th in the auditorium of the Monomoy Regional Middle School, Crowell Road, Chatham. Jean would be so pleased if you would consider a donation to her favorite charities: The Art of Charity, 55 Countryside Drive, Chatham, MA 02633 (https://www.artofcharityfoundation.com); The Atwood House Museum, PO Box 709, Chatham, MA 02633 (https://chathamhistoricalsociety.org); Monomoy Dollars for Scholars, PO Box 244, North Chatham, MA 02650 (dollarsforscholars).
For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com