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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Jean Pappas ’51

Beloved mother and devoted wife, Jean Owen Pappas, age 91, died April 13, 2020 in Yorba Linda.

Born on March 1, 1929 in Kenmore, New York to Neva Hevner and John Malcom Owen, Jean was the youngest of 3 children and the only girl. Both brothers served during WWII, although her middle brother Richard died in battle in Europe, which was devastating to Jean.

After graduating from East Aurora High School in New York, Jean attended Antioch College in Ohio where she met her future husband, Pete Pappas ’51. They were married at Niagara Falls in 1952, and lived in Wisconsin for several years where she taught high school English.

Pete accepted a huge promotion that required relocation to Southern California in1958, so the couple moved to Buena Park and later, in 1964, to Placentia where they lived happily for the next 51 years.

Once in California, Jean became a full-time Mom raising her children Linda and Rich. During these years, she also became actively involved in various volunteer and leadership activities, including PTA groups and American Association of University Women (AAUW) programs which ultimately led to being honored as the 1970 Placentia Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Never one to sit idle while her children grew up, Jean was elected to an unexpired term on the Placentia Unified School District Board, serving from 1972-79, and even had the honor of handing each of her children their High School diplomas during their graduation ceremonies.

Facing an empty nest, Jean re-entered the workforce with Global Services, then took a position as the Public Information Officer with the Southern California Optometry College, and later worked as the Assistant to the Vice President of Volt Temporary Services.

Even while working, Jean continued her voluntary leadership activities with an appointment to a short unexpired term as the City of Placentia City Treasurer from 1984-85 and later was elected to the Placentia Library District Board, serving from 1996-98.

Clearly, Jean was an exemplary Placentia citizen who made the city better. On a personal level, Jean was a very clever, competitive duplicate bridge player earning Master points and also enjoyed opera, traveling, and movies with husband Pete. Jean was never without a crossword puzzle in her hand, and was an avid TV spectator to most sports.

With the sale of her house in Placentia, Jean lived the last five years at Brookdale Yorba Linda where she became a fierce poker player, learned to love Bingo, made several great friends, and again, volunteered as the Resident Council Secretary.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, her dear husband and all her in-laws. Jean is survived by daughter Linda (Jack) and granddaughter Neva, son Richard (Liesa) and grandchildren Jake and Nikki, as well as second cousin Lyn Fisher and her family, nephews Malcolm (MaryAnn), Michael, and Richard (Mary) and their families, and nieces Dee (Graham) and Dawn. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services and burial have been delayed. For further information contact Linda at PO Box 6007, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359 or look for upcoming information in August or September. McAulay & Wallace Mortuaries – Yorba Linda