Jean Carolyn (Simonds) Sudsbury died peacefully at her home in Hudson on August 21. After being born in Memorial Hospital (Nashua, N.H.) on July 18, 1927, Jean was brought home to Windham Road in Hudson by her parents, Lee and Doris. Ninety-two years later, she remained a resident of the same big old house on the hill.
Despite living in the same house for over 90 years, she pointed out that not only did she change rooms multiple times in the house, but in 2009, she moved into the attached apartment, which was a woodshed until her husband Bob converted it in 1961 just before they were married.
While she only ever had one home address, Jean was hardly homebound. In addition to her full life in Hudson, she visited approximately (“We didn’t count them, we simply packed a bag and hopped on the plane”) 32 states and 13 countries; most of those trips with Bob as part of their involvement with the Shriners. Both Jean and Bob believed strongly in the Shriners' causes – number one: assisting children born with birth irregularities or those afflicted by burns through tragic accidents. They always took great pride in stressing to a family, "Yes, it's true, all of the treatments at the Shriners' hospitals are free!" And number two: assuring the proper disposal of all manhattans and martinis in hotel bars and hospitality suites.
Though her mind may not have remembered everything in her later days, it’s likely because it already had so much stored. Think about what has happened in the last 92 years. The Great Depression – “It wasn’t too bad for us, we didn’t need much anyway.” World War II – “I remember the war rationing and news reels at the movie theater.” The Atomic Bomb. Television in the home. Direct phone service (she believed they had an operator for every call when she was young, but she didn’t remember the telephone being a big deal). The Space Age – “We were so impressed that Alan Shepard from right over in Derry was a famous astronaut.” JFK’s assassination – “That is probably my most prominent memory; it was such an awful thing. It was also my daughter’s six-month birthday.” Man on the moon. Watergate. The computer age – “I was much happier typing letters on a manual typewriter; and I could type well over 100 words per minute at my best.” The polio vaccine. The fall of the Soviet Union. 9/11. Cell phones. Hurricane Katrina – “I never worried about the weather much, but having a son in New Orleans made that a pretty big deal.” Even though she was never a big sports fan, she was very happy when the Red Sox finally won the World Series (especially after she spoiled everything in 1986 when she happily told her youngest son that, “It looks like the Red Sox will finally win one” a few innings too soon).
After graduating from Nashua High School in 1945, Jean worked for many years as a secretary with the Metropolitan Insurance Company, followed by Mass Mutual Insurance. Those jobs came after working at Benson’s Wild Animal Park for many of her younger years – so add the fact that she enjoyed many elephant rides to her “uneventful” life.
Jean met Bob (Robert Everett Sudsbury, who passed away in 1998) through her involvement with the Eastern Star, another civic organization, as he was a prominent member of the Masons. In her 71 years as a member of the Eastern Star, she served in many roles, including as grand matron and as the secretary for Pilgrim Chapter #55 for 33 years. Jean and Bob were married in October of 1961 and would have three children. Noreen Doris was born in 1963, Robert Lee in 1965 and John Bartlett in 1971. Not coincidentally, Doris, Lee and Bartlett were all ancestors who lived in that same big old house on Windham Road that has been in the family since prior to the Civil War.
Though she didn’t recall living life according to any particular philosophy, she always treated people right. She believed in hard work and simply rolling up your sleeves to get the job done. She believed in “to each their own” and most would be hard-pressed to recall her ever saying anything deliberately mean about anyone else. Having said that, she never did have much of a filter – it was simply justified as being factual so it was okay…even if it was, “She was always a homely girl” or “You never did have an ounce of common sense” or “What’s going on with you, you’ve sure put on a lot of weight.”
While she spent her 92 years in the same house, Jean Sudsbury never needed much more than that. She ventured around the world when the mood and opportunity struck; and she always had an amazing attitude while enjoying her life, appreciating the little things as much as anything else.
Jean is survived by her daughter Noreen Latulippe (Ron), son Robert (Nancy), son John (Sylvia), granddaughter Carolyn and step daughters Judith Bausha and Karlene Ainsworth as well as her beloved cat Smokey.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, August 31 from 2-4 p.m. at the Davis Funeral Home, One Lock Street in Nashua. An Eastern Star service will begin at 4 p.m. followed by a brief memorial service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, Jean wished for donations to the Shriners Hospitals. The family would like to thank Heather and Deadra from Amedisys Home Health and Hospice for their outstanding support.
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