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Obituary: Jean Rowland Haffenreffer

Published in The Boston Globe  on June 23, 2019

HAFFENREFFER, Jean Rowland Age 93, of Needham, Nantucket, and Sanibel, FL, departed on June 2nd surrounded by the love of her children and grandchildren.

Born and raised in New Britain, CT, the daughter of Helen Platt Rowland and William Samuel Rowland, she attended the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT, and Wellesley College, graduating with a BS in music. Jean was married to the love of her life, the late Frederick “Fritz” Haffenreffer for 47 years. Jean was devoted to her children, the late Frederick “Fritzi”, William (and Sofia) of Stratham, NH, Peter (and Robin) of Winchester, Carol Abrahams (and Marc) of Wellesley, Hugh (and Debora) of Glastonbury, CT, and Jeanie Resetarits (and Mark) of Salt Lake City, UT, her grandchildren, Katie, Matt, Michael, Moriah, Marie, Chris, Zach, Alex, Hannah, and Sam, cherished sister-in-law Katie Haffenreffer Selle, 25 nieces and nephews, and friends from every corner of her life, including Wellesley, Nantucket, Sanibel, North Hill, and her church.

Music was Jean’s passion. Fresh out of college she volunteered for a young impresario striving to bring opera to Boston, starting a lasting friendship and loyal partnership with the Opera Company of Boston Director and Conductor, Sarah Caldwell. She served on and chaired the Board of the Opera Company of Boston, served on and chaired the Board of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, sang forever in her church choir and for a magical while with the Handel and Hayden Society, played the piano beautifully, and rarely missed Friday Symphony. In addition to music, Jean contributed to her community with enthusiasm and a ferocious intelligence. A 60+ year member of the Junior League of Boston, she served as President from ’59 to ’61. She was a founding member of the Wellesley Garden Study Group, and served as a board member and past president of the New England Home for Little Wanderers. Jean’s heart will always be on Nantucket Island where she spent 93 summers. She teamed with Fritz to support island conservation efforts through the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and the Nantucket Land Council, instilled in her children a deep love and respect of Nantucket’s fragile beauty, and when not refereeing gaggles of children and their friends, loved driving her moped to tennis, playing bridge with friends, making beautiful Nantucket lightship baskets, and capturing her favorite sights with watercolors.

Relatives and friends are invited to Celebrate Jean’s Life 11 AM, Saturday, July 13, at the Lutheran Church of the Newtons, 1310 Centre Street, Newton, MA. The interment will be held at Walnut Hills Cemetery, Brookline. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Compassionate Care ALS (P.O. Box 1052, Falmouth, MA 02540). For online guestbook gfdoherty.com George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781 235 4100

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