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Obituary: Jeanne Variell Stott Chippendale

Buddhist, minister, sculptor, musician, teacher, journalist, gardener

Former Claremont resident Jeanne Variell Stott Chippendale died August 25 at the age of 94.

Jeanne was born March 9, 1925 in Golden, Colorado to Helen Variell Cole and Charles Edwin Stott. Prior to her mother’s death from tuberculosis when she was four, she was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, Ina and Walter Scott Cole, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she would grow up.

In Grand Rapids, she attended Davis Technical High School. Her coursework there in aeronautics initiated a lifelong love of flying. While at Davis, she also revealed her talent as a mezzo-soprano. Excelling in music, she would later enter Michigan State University as a voice major.

While on break from college and visiting her father in Mexico City in 1947, she was introduced to Arthur J. Chippendale, Jr. They married the following year in New York City, moving shortly thereafter to southern California, where they took up residence in the college town of Claremont. They remained in Claremont, where they raised two sons, Arthur and Christopher, for the next 20 years.

Her personality and several talents opened many doors for her. Ever active and outgoing in the communities she lived in, she worked as a newspaper reporter, a designer/illustrator and an elementary school art teacher. She was an avid reader and pursued a path of lifelong learning.

In the 1960s she studied art under Sister Corita Kent at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Later, she entered the BFA program at California State University, Long Beach, earning her bachelor’s degree in sculpture in 1980. Over the next 30 years she produced dozens of works in bronze, stone, ceramics and wood, as well as numerous paintings, drawings and 2D mixed media pieces.

Never one to sit still, she was also an avid gardener. She built and left behind beautiful domestic landscapes wherever she lived.

For more than 20 years, until her late-seventies, she taught English as a second language to hundreds of mostly Japanese and Korean students. During this same period, she acquired a strong interest in the practice of Buddhism and the spiritual aspects of faith. She became an ordained minister in 1986.

She was a fiercely independent person. She competed against boys as a young girl and in the late 1960s became a strong supporter of women’s rights.

When her marriage to Mr. Chippendale fell apart in 1972, she found a new love in Erma “Norene” Monroe, and moved from Claremont to Hollywood. They would spend the next 38 years living together in Southern California. Norene died in 2016. 

Her own passing occurred at Newton-Wellesley Center for Alzheimer’s Care in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she had been lovingly cared for since 2011.

She leaves behind her two loving sons, Arthur Joseph Chippendale III of Vashon Island, Washington, and Christopher Charles Chippendale of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and their spouses, Tania Kinnear and Elisabeth Mitchell; grandchildren Chloe, Julian, Alex and David Chippendale, and Chris Kinnear; and three great-grandchildren, Muhammed, Maryam and Nico.

“Her compassion and strength touched a great many lives,” her family shared. “She will be remembered by many”

A memorial celebration will be planned in the future. 

A guest book for those who wish to leave a remembrance of Ms. Chippendale is available through the obituary page of the George F. Doherty and Sons Funeral Home in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at gfdoherty.com/obituaries.html.

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