Jean Drummond, a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, died
on December 14, 2020, at the age of 94. Jean was on the First Pres Cradle Roll in
1926 and remained a beloved member of the church until her death. We give thanks
to God for Jean’s long and meaningful life, and we hold Jean’s family in our hearts
and prayers. Please click here to witness Jean reading Micah 6 1-8.
The article below was written in 2018 by Lela Noble about Jean’s family history and
her rich life experiences as an ordained leader and lifetime member of First
Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto.
A First Pres 2018 Farewell to Jean Drummond
On July 12th Jean Drummond observed her 93rd birthday. On July 21st, some First Pres
folks were invited to join family members in celebrating it and on August 18 the
congregation is saying farewell to her as she moves to Portland to be closer to her
daughter Carol’s family.
Jean’s connection with California goes back to her Barker and Crabtree
grandparents, who moved west in the early 1900s. Her connection with First Pres
goes back to her entry on the cradle roll in the church building that dated from 1918. She was also married in that building, but she brought her children to Sunday
School in the building that dates from the 1950s, and she continued her active
involvement in the choir until she moved to the Sunnyview Retirement Community
fifteen years ago.
Jean’s parents, Chester and Katherine Barker, were both Stanford graduates. After
two years at Occidental College, her mother had been admitted as one of the 500
women then allowed in Stanford’s student body at one time. Her father continued to
work at Stanford after graduation, serving for 25 years as secretary in the Department of Speech and Drama. His love of music was responsible for his study in Berlin in 1913 and for Jean’s memories of his playing the rosewood piano that had been shipped around the Horn. Her mother loved gardening, and her aunt was a florist, both nurtured Jean’s love of flowers. Her mother also worked in the church office straightening out the rolls, a job Jean suspected she found attractive because it got her out of the house after her father retired.
When it was time for college, Jean settled on Whitman because of a friend who had
gone there; she arrived without having seen it. After graduating (Cum Laude and
Phi Beta Kappa) with a degree in sociology, she returned home to a job at Stanford
in the Registrar’s Office. She left that job when she married Bob Drummond, whom
she had met in the church’s young adult group. Three children followed, Kathy in
1953, Carol in 1955, and Bruce in 1960.
After Jean’s children became adults, Jean earned a Master of Social Welfare degree
with emphasis on aging from UC Berkeley in 1983 and then did work ranging from
assisting patients through convalescent centers and adjustment after discharge to
hospice counseling and performing psycho-social assessments for residents in
retirement communities. She says she learned that if you listened, most people
would solve their own problems.
Meanwhile she served several terms as a Deacon and Elder and sang in the choir
through the tenures of over a half dozen music directors. She liked singing next to
Frances Young, who helped her hear her alto part. Other choir members remember
her habit of noting the dates anthems were sung on the music; some of her notes
Beyond music, she loved art, and was grateful to Grace Johnson, another member of
the congregation, for teaching her to paint. The walls of her room at Sunnyview
have been ringed with her paintings and those of others. They’ll go with her to
Cherry Blossom Cottage, in Portland.
She’ll also carry with her the faith in God and dependence on His mercy she credits
for sustaining her over the years.
We’ll miss her.
Margaret Ann Fidler and Lela Noble