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Jean Frances Felldin

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 8:50 pm

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Jean Frances Felldin. She died peacefully on May 26th, 2024, at the age of 100 years young. Jean was born on March 13, 1924, in Yuba City, California, and raised on her parents, Charles Edward and Marion Sullivan’s nut and fruit ranch with her older sister Marie, and her younger twin sisters, Ellen and Eveleen (who survives).

After graduating from high school in Yuba City, Jean enrolled in, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, later moving to Los Angeles for a job in radio. There she met and later married John Joseph (“Jack”) Felldin, Jr. on February 4, 1950. Jean began a career in teaching ranging from elementary through high school. Between 1951 and 1958, Jean and Jack had five children. While raising five children before fast food and microwave cooking were available, Jean returned to higher education to study the impact of desegregation on school outcome measures. In 1969, the United States District Court had ordered desegregation. In Jean’s school district of Pasadena, a busing plan was created. The 1973 Pasadena School Board had been elected on a ‘stop busing’ platform. De novo, the newly elected Board created ‘Fundamental Schools’ focusing on strict discipline and ‘the fundamentals’. In 1976, Jean was awarded her Master’s Degree in part, based on her multi-year comparison of reading and mathematical test scores in children attending fundamental versus traditional schools.

In addition to family and career achievements, Jean was a lifelong devout member of the Catholic Church. She loved singing in the choir, engaging in athletic activities such as walking, swimming, and playing tennis; being challenged in games such as bridge, and, of course, her reading obsession. As a reading specialist, Jean shared her passion with her students and with her own children who grew to enjoy reading and athletics. As one example, Jean had been an English teacher at Alverno Heights Academy, an all-girls Catholic High School, while Eveleen, Jean’s oldest daughter was a student. Jean created a program similar to Reader’s Digest’s Word Power. In 2019, after the Alverno Graduating Class of 1969’s 50th year reunion, Jean received a ‘thank you’ card signed by dozens of her students. In the card, Mrs. Felldin was thanked and remembered for her program in reading and word memorization. One previous student wrote in the 2019 card: “I well remember my Freshman English class with you – and I grew up to become a writer”; another wrote “Thank you for teaching us the proper use of the semicolon”. Eveleen said that Mom (Jean) continuously built her student’s vocabulary while cultivating a love for reading. Jean’s favorite book and movie was “Gone with the Wind”.

In 2007, Jean’s health deteriorated so she moved from Southern California to Columbia, Missouri to be close to her middle daughter Karen and son-in-law Ted Cox who could ensure she was cared for by the wonderful team of healthcare professionals at the University of Missouri. For seventeen years, Jean developed a special relationship and became a part of the extended Cox family who would meet several times a year at Karen and Ted’s “Broken Antler Tree Farm”, a wonderful paradise in the Missouri countryside. While her family mourns this loss, they also celebrate the amazing life of one woman who continuously sought personal and professional advancement while juggling a busy household with her husband and five children. We are grateful we had a role model of self-preservation, competition, and happiness.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, two of her three sisters, and her husband of 27 years. Jean was blessed with, and is survived by, five children, Eveleen (Bill) Spaulding, John, Carol, Karen (Ted) Cox, and Mary Keppler; eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

The family plans to have a private service at a later time. Memorial contributions may be made to the Food Bank For Central & Northeastern Missouri, c/o Oliver Funeral Home, P.O. Box 125, Centralia, MO 65240. Condolences may also be made to the family at