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Obituary: Jean Mair ’42

Mrs. George Fisk Mair died peacefully in her sleep at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 27, 2010. She was born Jean Lois Baum in Spring Lake, N.J., on April 9, 1919, the daughter of Granville Vernon Baum and Kathryn Conover Baum. Jean's father died in 1928, and her childhood was spent in New Jersey with her mother and her summers were often spent with her father's relatives in Princess Anne County, Va.

Jean graduated from Princeton High School and received her BA degree from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she transferred after spending two years at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. Jean remained intellectually curious until the end of her life. She received a Master's degree in Education from Smith College and a Master's degree in Library Science from the University of Rhode Island. Jean worked at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton and later served as a librarian at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton and at Smith College. She also served as an archivist and docent at the Smith College Art Museum.

While living in Northampton she served as president of the League of Women Voters and was active in the Monday Afternoon Club and the P.E.O. Sorority. Jean met her future husband, George Fisk Mair, in Princeton, N.J., where they were married in 1947 at the First Presbyterian Church. Her husband was a professor of economics and dean of Smith College at the time of his death in 1978.

Jean's last 24 years were spent living in the Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Conn. Until recently, Jean traveled abroad every summer and returned from each trip with a collection of books from places she had visited. Her library included books from most parts of the world! At Duncaster, Jean remained engaged with the Monday Afternoon Club and P.E.O and was an active participant in the Duncaster World Affairs Group until her 90th year.

She is remembered fondly by her many friends and the staff at Duncaster as a determined woman who led life to the fullest well into her golden years. The adjectives most often used by her friend to describe her were "feisty" and "spitfire."

She leaves her daughter, Margaret Granville Mair of West Hartford, Conn.; her son, Edward Macdonald Mair of Newbury, Mass.; and her granddaughter, Alexandra George Mair of Garden City, N.Y. A memorial service will be held at Duncaster in April; the date will be announced. Private burial services will be held in Ewing, N.J. For online condolences, please visit