Jean Sherman Chappell passed away peacefully on Friday, January 27, 2023 following a brief Illness. She was born on May 13, 1938, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, daughter of Jean Babcock Chappell and Reverend Thomas Huntington Chappell. She was raised in Dedham, MA and Harrisburg, PA, attended William Penn High School, and graduated from Miss Porter’s School in 1956. She graduated from Connecticut College in 1960 with a degree in early childhood development. She married Robert Smith Walker on June 18, 1960 in Lakeville, CT, with whom she had three children before divorcing in 1970. Jean was a preschool teacher for many years in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
She moved to Norwalk, CT in 1983 and in 1985 earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Bridgeport. She then worked as an elementary school teacher in Fairfield, CT until her retirement in 2006. She was known as a firm but nurturing teacher who cared deeply about her students’ well-being and success, particularly those who needed extra care. Her lifelong contact with students and their heartfelt words of appreciation over the years was a testament to the impact she had on so many. Jean lived in Norwalk, CT from 1983 until moving to Chatham, NJ in 2015 to be closer to her children.
Jean was known for her quick wit and encyclopedic knowledge of countless subjects. She was a staunch advocate of any underdog and a loyal and generous friend. Jean was a talented flutist and singer, performing in local concert bands, choirs, and chorales. Even very late in life Jean enjoyed occasionally playing the flute for fellow residents at Juniper Village in Chatham, NJ. In retirement she traveled extensively. Highlights of her many global adventures include an African safari and climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.
Jean was an active volunteer for many youth-oriented organizations. She traveled to Guatemala as an English instructor for the Norwalk/Nagarote Sister Cities Project, served several summers as a student advisor for the People to People Student Ambassador program, and as a youth leader for the Appalachia Service Project, working alongside high school students repairing homes in the region.
Jean was a devout member of the Episcopal church throughout her life, serving on the vestry of Christ Church in Norwalk, CT, and for over 25 years as a Trustee of the Pequot Chapel in New London, CT. Most recently she attended St. Paul’s Church in Chatham, NJ.
For nearly every year of her life since 1938, Jean spent summers with her family at The Strand in Waterford, CT; a place she cherished deeply and where she was beloved by friends and neighbors. During daily summer strolls along the beach to the inlet at Goshen Cove she was a prolific sea glass gatherer, amassing a beautiful collection that serves as a colorful family keepsake at The Strand. As a proud grandmother, she relished having her grandkids spend weeklong visits there, known affectionately as “Camp Nana”.
Jean is survived by children Sage Bronzino and her husband Mike of Berwyn, PA, Andrew Walker and his wife Tina of Summit, NJ and Benjamin Walker and his wife Anna of Hoboken, NJ, as well as seven grandchildren, Michael, Lindsey, Dana, Thomas, Matthew, Hannah, and Alex, and great grandchild Sienna.