COOPERSTOWN – Jean Smullens, “Grandma Jean”, 86, passed away peacefully at home in the company of her children late Wednesday night, November 24, 2021.
The youngest of three, Jean was born on August 8, 1935, to Walter and Elizabeth (Martzloff) O’Connell in Lowville. She graduated from Lowville Academy and Central School in 1953, where her parents were both teachers. She attended Albany Medical Center School of Nursing, where she met her husband, Robert. In 1959, Bob and Jean were married in Lowville. Later that year Jean received her RN accreditation and the two took up residency in Johnstown where she began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Johnstown Hospital and then later, as a clinical instructor at St. Mary’s Hospital School in Amsterdam. In 1964, after obtaining her BS in Nursing from Russell Sage College, Bob became a partner in Church & Scott Pharmacy, and the two moved to Cooperstown.
Three children later, she returned to work at The Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home before becoming an LPN instructor at Otsego BOCES. In 1984, she began her most cherished work as a supervising nurse for Otsego County Public Health and also received her Masters in vocational education. She retired in 2000, but soon after returned to the County as a part-time staff nurse for two years before becoming a part-time admissions nurse at Bassett Hospital until 2015.
An avid sports fan and long-time supporter of Cooperstown Athletics, Jean often attended various sporting events where the young athletes dubbed her “Grandma Jean.” She was a staunch NY Yankee fan and loved to watch and attend Syracuse basketball games.
Locally, she will be fondly remembered as a third of what the late Fr. John Roos respectfully called, “The Holy Trinity” along with her long-time friends Barb LaCava and Carol Taylor, who travelled the country and world together. The Cooperstown community was very important to Jean, who served on numerous committees and organizations. She enjoyed organizing retired nurses’ luncheons and organized knitters and distributed supplies for the Chemo Cap Program for cancer patients at Bassett. Her kind heart, cheery and caring personality, heart-warming smile and her never ending desire to help people left a lasting impression on the lives of all who knew and loved her.
Jean is survived by three children, Thomas (Cooperstown), with children Devereux and Kylen, Anne (Cooperstown) with children Maggie and Reilly, and Andrew “Face” (Seattle); a sister-in-law, Evelyn O’Connell, and several nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her loving husband of 39 years, Bob Smullens, and her brothers, James and Jack O’Connell.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 2, 2021, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church, Cooperstown, with Fr. Michael Cambi, pastor officiating.
A private Service of Committal and Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Index.
In lieu of flowers, Jean’s family would appreciate memorial donations in her memory to Helios Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.