Jeanne T. Vesey passed away on October 10, 2013, after living a very full and accomplished life, loved dearly by all who came into contact with her. She was 87 years old.
Jeanne was born November 22, 1925, in Hampton Virginia, the daughter of Percy Tillery and Sally Sinclair. They lived in a modest two-story framed home with her brother, Frank, being raised in a post-Depression era in which money was saved for a rainy day. Jeanne excelled at everything she did and her big chance came at Mary Washington University, where she graduated in 1946 with honors and a teaching degree. She married shortly thereafter to S. Ross Lipscomb, and enjoyed raising her two children, Bill Lipscomb and Becky Lipscomb, while managing a large household and estate in Leesburg, Virginia.
After a divorce from Ross in 1959, Jeanne started a new life in Santa Barbara married to Howard W. Vesey. It was a marriage of incredible devotion. Santa Barbara provided fresh opportunities for Jeanne, who pursued a number of community interests, continuing to raise Bill and Becky while adding a third child, Wade Vesey, into the family. The pace was exciting — there was lots of energy in her close community who enjoyed memorable Christmas galas and Sunday neighborhood get-togethers.
Then it all came to an end for Jeanne with a small commercial plane crash in Denver, Colorado, on October 4, 1969, ending Howard's life and setting Jeanne on a new course. However, her devotion for Howard would remain for the rest of her life.
By now, her children, Bill and Becky, returned to Virginia to be closer to their father, and Jeanne took on the role of a mother and a father to Wade. As time passed, she began to pursue many causes that would grow more encompassing. With strong women role models in the community along with a strong connectedness to the Rev. George Hall and the All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church congregation, Jeanne would become a force that would define her new life. She would hold a number of 10-plus-year board and officer posts at institutions such as the St. Cecilia Society, the Music Academy of the West, the Santa Barbara Foundation, The Senior Center (later renamed Laguna Cottages) and the Little Town Club. The area of focus for Jeanne was always for those who were financially in need, no matter the age group.
Jeanne Vesey was special; she set clear expectations but did it in such a way as to make it seem the listener's idea (springing from her natural "Southern charm"). She was always her children's biggest supporter and a "partner in crime" when there was a particularly thorny problem or a good adventure. But the magical thing about Jeanne was the infusion of passion and compassion she instilled into anything she did. She was a liver of life — every day — focusing on quality, not quantity, until her body just could not keep up any longer.
Her humor was infectious, her interests expansive, her projection larger than life, and her grace endless. She is survived her two sons, Wade and Bill, and her much-loved grandchildren, Jenny, Daniel, Blake and Annie.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Laguna Cottages 803 Laguna St., Santa Barbara 93101. Click here to make an online donation, or call 805.965.1179.
Arrangements were by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.