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1924 Jean 2024

Jean McLeish

September 17, 1924 — April 12, 2024

Carmel, IN

Jean Emley McLeish passed away in Indianapolis, Indiana from natural causes at the age of 99 on April 12, 2024.  Jean was born on September 17, 1924, in Hammonton, New Jersey.  She was the fifth of six children born to LeRoy and Hannah (Wooley) Emley.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Bill McLeish in 2018, and all of her brothers and sisters (Edward Emley, Mildred Hartman, Betty Clark, Frank Emley, and LeRoy Emley Jr.).   She is survived by her children Bruce (Chris) McLeish, Barbara (John) Lyter, and Beth (Todd) Caldwell, grandchildren Alan McLeish, Megan McLeish, Erin Dierman, Jennifer Wissel, James Lyter, Austin Caldwell, and Davis Caldwell, and great grandchildren Iain McLeish, Cyrus Wissel, Conrad Wissel, Megan Jean Gilland, Aurora Gilland, and Carson Dierman.

Growing up, Jean was a good student, enjoyed sports (field hockey), card games (any), and music.   She sang in the church choir, and after high school graduation, she worked in the Hammonton Public Library.   Jean completed a course in Nursing at Cooper Hospital in Camden, New Jersey in 1946 and became a registered nurse.   She loved working in the Maternity Ward at Cooper.  She met Bill McLeish on a blind date in the summer of 1946 and after a short courtship were married in October of that year.  Bill was a Naval Aviator, assigned as a flight instructor at the Naval Academy, and after his discharge they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where Bill attended Indiana Tech on the GI Bill.  Jean continued her nursing career at Methodist Hospital in Fort Wayne until her first child was born in 1948.  Bill graduated in 1949 and they moved to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.  Bill found work as an engineer at Jeffery Manufacturing and Jean worked off and on as a nurse at University Hospital.  Bill continued his military service by joining a volunteer Navy Reserve unit and eventually an active Reserve squadron.   Because Bill was gone one weekend a month and two weeks one month a year, Jean learned to drive.  A second child came in 1953, and a third in 1963.   During this period, Jean became an avid Bridge player and was active in the Columbus Navy Wives Club.  In 1966, having a 3 year old child herself, Jean began working at a pre-school as a teacher for 3 year olds.  She did this for 10 years.

In 1976, Bill and Jean moved to Anderson, South Carolina (Bill had accepted a transfer).  Jean found a group of serious Bridge players and started earning master points eventually becoming a Life Master.  She also became very interested in knitting and quilting.  South Carolina was known for its textile mills and Jean made beautiful sweaters and quilts for the grandchildren as they came along.  They also took many wonderful vacations in the United States and Canada.  During this period, Bill received several serious cancer diagnoses, and Jean helped make good decisions leading to Bill’s cancer free outcomes.

In 2004, Bill and Jean made the decision to move to Indianapolis, Indiana to be closer to family in their golden years.  Jean was able find good Bridge partners and continued to play for a while.  In 2012 they moved into a retirement community which they enjoyed until age related decline took their independence.  Even in her final months, Jean was keenly interested in current events, sports, and above all family.  She loved interacting with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews.  She was a favorite among aides attending her in her assisted living home.  She made many great friendships everywhere she lived during her entire life.  Her positive attitude was remarkable.  She will be greatly missed by all.  Following cremation by Flanner-Buchanan, Jean will be interred in a niche at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church alongside her beloved Bill.   There will be but a brief ceremony and prayer per her wishes.  Those so inclined may contribute a donation to the charity of your choice.

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