Jean Boles Brodhead, 97, formerly of Naples, FL, passed away peacefully on August 24, surrounded by her four children, at the Fort Myers home of daughter and son-in-law Gail and Joshua Kae, with whom she had lived for many years.
Born on April 29, 1923, in Elizabeth, NJ, to William R. Boles and Zillah M. Trewin, Jean, an only child, grew up on Palisade Road in Elizabeth and went to Roselle Park High School. She spent several wonderful summers with her dear friend Margaret Weitz at Camp Oneka in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. A family trip to Ireland in 1935 to visit her father’s parents, siblings, and cousins was also a major highlight. After high school, Jean went to Keuka College (NY), where she was a member of the crew team and served as student government president. During the war years, she helped pick grapes in nearby vineyards and worked in a factory that produced military supplies. In 1945, she graduated with a degree in Sociology and Retailing. Her first job was with the Family and Children’s Society of Elizabeth, where she stayed for four years before trying her hand at retail and business work. After brief stints at Hahne & Co. in Newark as a Junior Executive and then at the NY Telephone Co. in Manhattan as a service representative, she went to Columbia University’s New York School of Social Work where she earned her MSW in 1952. She then worked as a social worker for United Family and Children’s Society in Plainfield.
Jean married Charles D. Brodhead in 1957, and together they spent many happy years raising their family on “Frosty Hollow Farm” in Sparta, NJ, and then later in Hackettstown, NJ. Her last position was as Senior Case Worker for the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey’s Hackettstown branch where she provided counseling and adoption services.
In 1989, Jean and her late husband retired to Naples, FL, where for many years she was an active member of the East Naples United Methodist Church and a St. Matthew’s House volunteer. She loved travel, reading, old movies, the theater, Bible study, mission work, and other church activities. After her husband’s death in 1992, she focused on her grandchildren and forming new friendships. The late Ellie Menzel became her most special friend. During this period, Jean also took numerous trips with her daughter Gail, journeying to the US Western states, Greece, England, Scotland, Italy, Russia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The cruise to Ephesus and around the Greek Islands had been her favorite.
Jean was a woman of deep Christian faith. She always wore a radiant smile and exuded kindness, warmth, and compassion. To the end, she retained her sense of humor and was able to share many memories from her past. She was utterly devoted to her family and did not want to leave them. But, alas, the Lord finally put His foot down and would no longer take “no” for an answer.
Survivors include daughter Susan B. Sever (William) of Naples, FL, daughter Gail Brodhead-Kae (Joshua) of Fort Myers, FL, son Mark N. Brodhead (Lily) of Naples, FL, and son Charles Hall (Kim) of Califon, NJ; grandchildren Christopher Renninghoff (Ashley) of Naples, FL, Tyler Renninghoff, Winter Springs, FL, Heather Renninghoff, Fort Myers, FL, Harold Sawal, Naples, FL, and Alexandra Sainio, Rauma, Finland; and great grandsons Otto and Wyatt Renninghoff. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her son Todd S. Brodhead.
No public memorial service is planned. Internment at Naples Memorial Gardens will be private for immediate family. In lieu of flowers, Jean asked that any remembrances be sent to The Gideons International or Samaritan’s Purse. Website link addresses are available under the send flowers tab.
Hope Hospice provided tremendous assistance to Jean’s children during the final difficult days. Contributions to this vital organization in their beloved mother’s memory would also be appreciated. See the send flowers tab. The family also thanks the physicians who helped Jean navigate her advanced age, particularly Dr. Fariba Ghazizadeh, Dr. Christopher Wey, Dr. Chirag Patel, and Dr. Milena Loukanova.