Jean Wright Clowney, 88, died Saturday, June 7, 2008 in Charlottesville, Va. She had been married for 63 years to the Rev. Edmund P. Clowney, who died in 2005. Her life is celebrated with thanks by her five children- -David (and Tina) of Philadelphia, Penn., Deborah of Charlottesville, Paul (and Tessa) of London, England, Rebecca Jones (and Peter) of Escondido, Calif., and Anne Foreman (and Joseph) of Black Mountain, N.C., and by her 21 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Music was a defining interest for Jean. In high school she was accepted for lessons at Eastman School of Music; at Wheaton College she majored in music, and throughout her life she led church and school choirs. She also served on the committee of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church that prepared the Trinity Hymnal.
Jean’s independent spirit owed much to her ancestors. She was a descendent of John Eliot, a missionary to America who in 1663 published the first Bible printed there, a translation into Algonquin, and of Alexander Selkirk, the model for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
Jean was born in Portland, Oregon to Anne MacLaren and Wil Eliot Wright. She spent most of her childhood in Rochester, N.Y., and she and Ed subsequently lived in New Haven, Conn., LaGrange, Ill., Westfield, N.J., Willow Grove, Penn., Escondido, Calif., Houston, Texas and Charlottesville.