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Jean Besley Scott ’51

Jean Besley Scott ’51, July 18, 2011, in Portland. Jean, or Scottie, as she was known at Reed, began her education at the University of Oregon, but felt the school was too impersonal. She moved to Portland, where she lived with a maternal aunt and worked for State Farm Insurance and Albertina Kerr to earn money for tuition. During that time, she met Fred White ’50, who suggested she investigate Reed, where she found both academic challenge and the comfort of a smaller community. “The wonderful thing about Reed was that everybody there cared about the world . . . that had never been my experience before at all.” At Reed, she met Kenneth Tollenaar ’50, who shared her love of music; he was a musician, she sang jazz. They married in 1949; she worked in the coffee shop for a year while Ken finished his degree, after which she earned her BA in education. She loved Reed because of Dorothy Johansen ’33 [history 1934–69] and Ann Shepard ’23 [dean of students 1926–68], who believed in her ability to succeed. “It was very, very hard, because I was so poorly prepared. I hadn’t a clue how to write a paper. I didn’t have a clue how to do research and I didn’t have a very broad area of knowledge. It was a wonderful experience, though, because I grew a great deal.” She also gave credit to Frank Loxley Griffin [mathematics 1911–56]. “That man taught me to count to 10.” After leaving Reed, she taught for two years near Eugene, and then the couple moved to Minnesota and Washington, D.C., for Ken’s graduate studies. Jean worked and raised a family, and then earned a master’s in alcohol and drug counseling from the University of Oregon. She worked for Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation in Clackamas and retired in 1989. She was a member of the First Unitarian Fellowship, a passionate supporter of the arts, and a volunteer for students in grade schools and seniors in retirement centers. She kept a close connection to the college throughout her life. “Jean was delightfully cantankerous. She loved to engage in thoughtful debate and enjoyed being around others who shared the love of ideas. I will miss her in our planning meetings as well as at the events themselves,” said Mike Teskey, director of alumni & parent relations. Survivors include two sons, one daughter, and a grandson.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2011

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