Jean Carmichael Obituary


1913 – 2006

Jean-and-Bill-L 1931-HS-grad-L 1935-McGill-grad-L 73rmcjdc
1917 1931 1935 1973

Jean Carmichael, 92, minister’s wife, homemaker

Jean Carmichael of Albany and Raquette Lake died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday 23 March at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home. She was 92. An Albany County resident since 1955, Mrs. Carmichael was a communicant of St. Andrew’s Albany (Episcopal) for 20 years where her husband, the late Rev. Ralph M. Carmichael, was rector.

One of her most meaningful experiences was hearing Martin Luther King speak four times, including NYC in 1954 and London, England, in 1965. She and her husband were life-long advocates of Dr. King’s teachings and raised their four children to judge each individual on his or her own worth.

Margaret Jean Dunlop was born in 1913 in Ste Anne de Bellevue, Montreal, and graduated from the Mount Royal High School where her mother was the French teacher. In Grade Seven, unknown to her mother, Jean received the awards for best all-around student, best athlete and best personality.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 1935, followed by graduate work in church music at New York University, Union Seminary and Columbia University. Jean had a beautiful singing voice and also played the piano.

Mrs. Carmichael was a first generation Canadian. Her parents, John Dunlop and Catherine Grier Patterson, were born in Londonderry, Ireland, but met and married in Montreal about 1910. In 1951 Ralph and Jean were naturalized in Wilmington, DE, where Ralph was canon of the Cathedral of St. John.

In 1972 Jean’s sight began to fail due to glaucoma and she was totally blind the last 20 years of her life. But rather than dwell on her own disability, Mrs. Carmichael studied Spanish and was instrumental in fund-raising and expanding the School for the Deaf in Jocotepec, Mexico, while Ralph was priest-in-charge of St. Andrew’s, Chapala, for 13 years. She served as the president of the School for the Deaf for two years.

From 1930 through 1950 Jean helped her mother run Twin Fir Camp for Girls in the Laurentian Mountains outside Montreal, doing everything from quantity cooking for 35 the first season (when the cook didn’t show up opening day) to teaching swimming, canoeing, nature and tennis. In the 1940s and 50s Mrs. Carmichael was an avid flower gardener, had a Victory Garden and taught ceramics out of her home in Buffalo. As their four children left for college, the Carmichaels took in students from SUNY/Albany and the College of St. Rose, leading to many lively discussions around the dinner table with young people from Germany, Taiwan, the US, Russia, Iran and India.

The Carmichaels were worldwide travelers, camping in 48 states, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and 26 European countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1982. From 1964-65 the family had the wonderful opportunity to live in England while Ralph studied at Oxford University. Beginning in 1959, Ralph and Jean made their summer home on Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks while Ralph was priest-in-charge of the Church of the Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake.

Beloved wife of the late RALPH. Dear mother of FAY (Joseph Houck), JOHN (Sandra Maclutsky, Paulette Holder Stoddard), PAUL (Rebecca Loew) and ANDREW (the late Ann Caroscio), and loving grandmother to Monique, Naomi, Nicolas, Noël, Dorian, Zachariah, Lilian, Maxwell, Matthew, Megan, Kristen, Laura, Kathleen, Lea and Andrew. Great-grandmother of Ryan, Noah, Aaron, Cecelia, Daegan, Briege, Savanna, Brock and Ferris. Sister to the late Kathleen (the late S. Vaughan Walsh) and the late William (the late Bunny Boissoneau, the late Frances Will), and Aunt of the late Ruth, Jean, Edward, Carol, William, Merrick, the late David, Lynne, Marlene and Nancy. And many cousins and friends.

A Memorial Service will be offered on Saturday 13 May at 1:00 pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Main and Madison Avenues, Albany, followed by a reception in Carmichael Hall. Burial will be on Saturday 8 July at 1:00 pm in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, next to the manse of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, the birthplace of her late husband.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Raquette Lake, NY, 13436.

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