RICHMOND, Ind. – Jean Rossi, age 99, of Richmond, Indiana, died Thursday, January 2, 2020, at Friends Fellowship Community.
Born November 18, 1920, in Denver, Colorado, to Ira and Rose Irelan Thomas, Jean lived in Richmond for more than 80 years. She was a 1938 graduate of Whitewater High School. Jean and her family resided in a former log cabin known as the Vulcan Parsonage in Whitewater.
When Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” delivered a lecture, with Jean in attendance, he was so impressed by her beauty and personality, he suggested to his friend, Lowell Thomas (who was Jean’s first cousin) to support her entrance into college. Lowell agreed and Jean entered Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee, in 1940. One of her work requirements was to wait tables in the cafeteria. Jean was assigned the athletes’ table and as fate would have it, during her freshman year, she met Peter Joseph Rossi, a football and baseball player. They married on May 31, 1940.
When Pete entered the Army in 1941, Jean became a bookkeeper at the Second National Bank, where she would work for 50 years, retiring from the Star Bank, on March 27, 1991. They enjoyed 68 years of married life, before Peter died on June 18, 2009.
Jean possessed a number of passions. She loved travel, baseball (especially the Reds), and she had a life-long interest in theater, initially as a performer and later, as a spectator. Jean was an avid bridge player, playing in local duplicate bridge clubs; a piano dilettante; and she possessed a wonderful sense of humor. She loved “playing the market,” keeping up with financial news, almost until the end of her life. Jean was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Since Jean was not known for her cooking, she and Pete often ate out, frequently at The Cracker Barrel so she will miss greeting the wait-staff, in particular, manager Mark, where she was a loyal customer for almost a quarter of a century. Jean, however, did contribute to Indiana’s culinary culture, where she won an award (third place) for her “Green Bean Tres Bien” recipe, which apparently is Indiana’s state casserole, as this dish is appropriate for almost any Hoosier social event.
Survivors include her son, Thomas (Leslie Kiersted) Rossi of Binghamton, New York, and granddaughter, Jessica Rose Rossi of Eugene, Oregon. In addition, Jean is survived by Richard Blose of Cicero, Indiana, who was like a son to her; her financial adviser and friend, Tony Talbert; and during the last decade, Jean was grateful for the care and support of aide and caregiver, Saundra Shackelford.
A celebration of Jean’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, January 19, 2020, in the Community Room at Friends Fellowship Community, 2030 Chester Boulevard, Richmond.
Arrangements are being handled by Doan & Mills Funeral Home, 790 National Road West, Richmond. Condolences may be sent to the family via the guest book at www.doanmillsfuneralhome.com.