Jean (Ellen Lundblad) Libbey, of Grinnell, Iowa, passed away on May 23rd, 2022 at age 91 in Iowa City, Iowa from a stroke.

Jean was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa to Frank and Margaret Lundblad, graduated from Fort Dodge High School in 1949, and graduated from Iowa State University in 1953 with a degree in Home Economics.

On June 26th, 1953 Jean married high school love, Scott Libbey. They were married 53 years prior to Scott’s death in 2006.

Photo of Jean Libbey, a woman of 91 years, smiling directly at the camera wearing a white bucket hat outside

Jean L. Libbey, Resident of Mayflower Community in Grinnell since 2004

Jean, the consummate organizer, juggled family and work in her life. She devoted her time to raising four children, supporting volunteers, and tirelessly serving those in need, be it people in the community, refugees new to the area, or international students at Grinnell College. Professionally, Jean taught middle school in Des Moines and served several Retired Senior Volunteer Programs in various capacities in Des Moines and New Jersey.

Jean made an impact in many communities, living with her family in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Ohio. She and Scott retired to Des Moines in 1993 before a final move to Grinnell, Iowa in 2004. Jean lived out her faith intentionally and consciously. She found her home in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and put that faith into action at the local, state, and denominational levels. Care for creation was a significant passion of Jean’s, with a deep concern about climate change in her later years.

In addition to her work and volunteering, Jean consistently found opportunities to employ her love of music – cello, in particular. She played in local symphonies, helped form trios, and occasionally gave driveway concerts! A love that began at age 12 lasted right into her 91st year with a final trio presentation in April.

Many thanks are extended to the Mayflower Retirement Community, where Jean resided the past 18 years, and the University of Iowa Hospital where staff served her with kindness and mercy in her final days.

Jean was predeceased by her husband, Scott (2006), and brother, Glenn.  Jean is survived by her children, Joan Langer (Tom of Fort Collins, CO), Steve Libbey (Jen Garst of Ames, IA), Jan Libbey (Tim Landgraf of Kanawha, IA), and Laura Sandness (Stephan Sandness of Belle Fourche, SD), as well as six grandchildren and one great grandchild. She also leaves behind her companion, Hugo the cello, who made music with her for 80 years.

A service of remembrance and celebration will take place at the Grinnell United Church of Christ in August 27th, 2022 at 10:30 am. Jean loved the color purple. Those interested may celebrate her with wearing purple at this celebration.

Family directs memorials to: Jean Libbey Music Scholarship c/o Drake University (Des Moines), Mayflower Human Needs Fund c/o Mayflower Community (Grinnell), and Grinnell United Church of Christ.