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In Memoriam Archive

Laura Jean Watson Jory ’49

March 3, 2021, in Portland.

Laura Jean followed in the footsteps of her mother, Esther Kelly Watson ’17, her aunt Laura Kelly ’16, and her uncle Joyce Raymond Kelly ’15, who were in the first three graduating classes at Reed. She grew up in Northeast Portland, attended Alameda Elementary School, and at Grant High School met Fred Jory, the love of her life and husband for nearly 65 years. They married in 1948 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she was a lifelong member.

Laura Jean wrote her thesis, “Juvenile Detention Homes,” with Prof. Read Bain [sociology 1947­–49] advising and went on to study at the University of Chicago. After college, she worked at Pacific Northwest Bell before the birth of her son, David, and her daughter, Marcia. In addition to being a homemaker and mother, Laura Jean was active in the community and in her church, where she sang in the choir, played in the handbell choir, and served as deacon and elder. She was a leader of her son’s Cub and Boy Scout troops as well as her daughter’s Bluebird and Camp Fire groups. She volunteered at Dammasch State Hospital and served on the boards of the Portland Junior Symphony, YWCA, and AAUW.

Laura Jean led the senior citizens fellowship group at Trinity Episcopal Church and served as parish secretary, first at Trinity and then at Saints Peter and Paul Episcopal Church. She and Fred enjoyed volunteering in the SMART Reading program, where they served for nearly 25 years, and she was an active member of her PEO chapter. In 2006, she and Fred moved to Willamette View Manor, and prior to his death in 2013, they traveled extensively. Laura Jean chaired the Saturday Night Movie Committee at Willamette View Manor, sang in the choir, and took an active role in the community.

Throughout her life, Laura Jean enjoyed days hiking, skiing, and picking huckleberries at the family cabin at Government Camp, built by her grandfather. She is survived by her son and daughter.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2021

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