September 7, 1927 – July 30, 2021
Isla Jean York Lindsey was smart, beautiful and fiercely independent for almost 94 years, who passed away on July 30, 2021 in Roanoke, Virginia. She lived her life to the fullest – with determination, courage and cheek – and passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of her family. Jean was born September 7, 1927 in Welch, West Virginia, daughter of Ida Lee Harris York and Major General John Y. York Jr. She and her two older sisters, the late Anne York Kullman and Ida Louise York Greenberg, grew up as “military kids” living in many places throughout their childhood, what John often described as “a great travelogue”. Jean graduated from Greenbrier College for Women in Lewisburg, W.Va. at the age of 16, then graduated in Advertising and Marketing from Indiana University in 1947 at the age of 19. In Indiana, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and she reigned in 1946 as queen of the SAE fraternity. While at Greenbrier, Jean met James R. Lindsey, a student at the Greenbrier Military Academy. They married in 1946 and in 1948 moved to Richlands, Virginia, where Jean filled his Ford station wagon with the five children who now survive him: James R. Lindsey Jr., Julie Lindsey Hunsaker, Janet Lindsey Burrow, John York Lindsey and JoAnne Lindsey Hairston. Jean was unwavering in supporting his children, emphasizing the pursuit of academic excellence by never allowing them to miss a day of school. She also never missed any of their plays, plays, spelling bees, or sometimes terrible piano and dance recitals. She supported their interests in football, basketball, baseball, golf, cheerleaders, scouts, summer camps, dance, music and art – all while being a driver, confidante of dozens of distraught teens, foster parent, as well as a competitive bridge player and golfer, and the registrar of electors for the town of Cedar Bluff. She encouraged the entrepreneurial efforts of her children, where paper circuits, bake sales and rabbit farming later gave way to movie theaters, bookstores, cattle ranching and other businesses. . Following a divorce, Jean moved to Baltimore in 1975 to pursue a different life. Drawing on her own experience as a ‘displaced housewife’, she began working in the non-profit sector, helping women enter or re-enter the workforce. She then worked for the Baltimore County Public Library, then moved to the City of Baltimore as a Placement Specialist. Jean made new friends and enjoyed life as what she loved to call “A Mother on the Rip”, attending the Orioles games, horse races and concerts ranging from Ralph Stanley to Blue Oyster Cult. In 1991, Jean moved to Roanoke to be closer to his five children and a growing number of grandchildren. “Grandma” loved being around her 13 grandchildren, Lee Hunsaker, Jody Hunsaker Haller, Amanda Phillips Martinez, Sarah Phillips Blum, Matt Phillips, Lindsey York Simmons, Jimmy Lindsey, Mastin Simmons, Taylor Lindsey, John Lindsey, Katie Lindsey, Maggie Lindsey Harney, and Ellie Lindsey. Jean was a devoted grandmother, always defending the passions and interests of each grandchild. She reveled in the commemoration of each milestone, traveling from near and far for births, graduation ceremonies, weddings, birthdays, ball games, recitals, shows and openings. “GG” was the delighted great-grandmother of 12 children, Grace Blum, Caroline Blum, Levi Haller, Dexter Shaffer, Silas Haller, Stella Martinez, Louisa Martinez, Boone Ratliff, Cy Phillips, Anne York Lindsey, Rêve Ratliff and baby James Lindsey. She was also the mother-in-law and mother-in-law of his many wonderful children, grandchildren and “outlaw” partners. As a beloved matriarch of his great family, John taught by example the meaning of love through his indomitable perseverance, courage, humor, and appreciation for beauty and adventure. Jean was deeply engaged in a life of intellectual and personal development. She had an innate and insatiable curiosity and never tired of learning. A big news consumer, she devours the newspaper daily, making sure that family and friends see informative and entertaining articles of interest. She was also a town woman, attending vernissages, Grandin Theater, LaDeDa, antique shops, Open Studios tours, concerts, restaurants, Ted talks, Elderscholars and Hoot & Holler, all taking the time to train and volunteer as a court. Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and volunteer for Total Action for Progress (TAP). She loved travel and adventure, art, music, fashion, spicy food, fine wine, antiques and movies. Later, she especially enjoyed playing bridge and painting, and she rarely missed watching the Army-Navy football game, the PGA golf tournaments, the UVA or Celtics basketball games, the Kentucky Derby or Stephen Colbert. She was a witty texting master and maintained her bonds with family and friends, especially during the long months of covid quarantine.
John’s life will be commemorated and celebrated at 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at Sunnybrook, 7342 Plantation Road, Roanoke, VA 24019. There will be food – and wine, of course. Memorial contributions can be made to the Grandin Theater Foundation, 1310 Grandin Road SW, Roanoke, VA 24015, or designated for the Children’s Trust’s CASA program, 4519 Brambleton Avenue, Suite 110, Roanoke, VA 24018. The Lindsey family would like to extend appreciation Special to Caregivers and Special Friends, Cory Hines, Melissa Ellisor, Wanda Carr, Brenda Lehrer, Wendy Murphy, Chaplain Keith Olivier and Dr Bonnie Culkin.
Hurst-Scott Funeral Home
1401 2e Rue, Richlands, Virginia 24641
Published by Bristol Herald Courier on Aug 22, 2021.