Obituary: Jean Dithmar Myer, 71

Jean Dithmar Myer, 71, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, December 19th at the Meadow Ridge Senior Living Community in Redding, CT after a long and valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Friends and family were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of her passing, but understood that she had left this life the way she entered it: by living it to the fullest and bringing joy to all who loved her. She has left a void in many hearts that can be repaired only over time.  

Jean was born to the late Edward Dithmar and Nancy Bawden Dithmar Masterson on October 15, 1946 and is survived by her sister Jill Dithmar Fransen, Jill’s husband Jim, and their children Robert and James.

While growing up in Glenview, Ill, with her parents’ encouragement, she actively participated in and developed a lifelong love for ballet and sports. After graduating from Middlebury College in 1968 with a math degree, Jean was immediately hired by IBM where she enjoyed a long, successful career in important field and management positions. At the same time, she continued to pursue her interests in sailing, art, ballet, travel, photography, investments, and sports.

In 1988 she joined a sailing crew in the Boston area who were to become part of her extended family for the rest of her life. After retiring in 2000 Jean spent more of her time racing competitively and cruising long distances with these shipmates and others. She crossed the Atlantic eight times and the Pacific twice; cruised the Baltic Sea, Greenland, Nova Scotia, Hudson’s Bay, the coast of Thailand, the Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes.

Jean was a patron of the arts with many interests that included the Ridgefield (CT) Symphony, the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Opera. She continued her lifelong love of jazz by attending jazz events worldwide, often accompanied by her close friend and jazz pianist, Ginny Avery.

Jean’s intellect, love of life, positive outlook, and sense of humor affected everyone around her.  She always seemed to know what was funny; her laughter and sheer joy was wonderful to behold. A loving, forward-looking “feminist” who thrived in a traditionally male world, she served as a superb role model and mentor for talented young women.  Jean Myer will be remembered as a true woman of the world whose genuine charm and amazing vitality were the essence of her humanity.

Her family will receive friends for an informal memorial gathering and a celebration of her life at Meadow Ridge in Redding CT on Saturday, January 13, from 3-5 p.m. and at The Country Club in Brookline, MA on Saturday, April 14, from 1-3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, Jean has asked that donations be made to The Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.