School 07

Jean Stevenson Dobson

October 11, 1946 ~ December 14, 2021 (age 75)


Jean Stevenson Dobson, loving wife, mother of three, and grandmother of seven, passed away in her home on December 14, 2021 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 75 years old.

Jean was born on October 11, 1946 in Ft. Wayne, IN. She inherited her mother Luella’s creative spirit and her father Willard’s down-to-earth sensibility. Growing up, her life was full of outdoor adventures, family music, and the adoring mischief of her three older brothers. Though the family moved to Naples, FL when Jean was 12, and then later to Miami, Jean retained her mid-western spunk throughout her life.

Jean graduated from the University of Florida in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and completed her master’s degree in education at SUNY New Paltz in 1975. Early in her career she taught in Los Angeles, CA and later Miami, FL. She met her future husband, Charles (Chuck) Dobson, on a blind date in Coral Gables, FL in 1971. The couple maintained a long-distance courtship between Jean in Florida and Chuck in Kingston, NY until Jean moved to the Hudson Valley in 1972. Jean and Chuck settled in Rhinebeck after their marriage in Poughkeepsie on July 1, 1973. 

In 1972, Jean accepted a first grade teaching position at the Bulkeley School (then the Rhinebeck Central School District’s first- and second-grade building), and two years later she moved over to Chancellor Livingston Elementary where she taught kindergarten, second, and third grades for the rest of her 30 years with the district. Her favorite school subject to teach was math, and her favorite classroom activity was writing, directing, and creating the set for an annual play with her third grade students.  

In retirement, Jean enjoyed luncheons with her fellow retired teachers, many of whom were life-long friends, volunteering at Chancellor, taking ukulele lessons, and working on her watercolor paintings. A talented artist, her annual Christmas cards to family and friends were often reproductions of her original artwork. Over her nearly fifty years living in Rhinebeck, she also developed very close friendships within her bridge club, a spirited and supportive group of ladies who laughed a lot, and enjoyed dinners, weekend getaways, and holiday celebrations together (with some actual bridge games sprinkled in now and then). Jean loved walking, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and taking trips to Cape Cod and New York City with her husband and friends.

She relished traveling and took many trips during her lifetime to the British Isles, Europe, and various parts of the United States. From 1983-1984, she lived with her young family in Winchester, England, and during that time she helped the family explore Britain, Wales, and the European continent in the comfort of their VW camper. Jean and Chuck were avid boaters – they were members of the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club for 20 years – and in 2015 they rented a canal boat to explore the lochs of Scotland together. In 2018, Jean and Chuck realized Jean’s lifelong goal of visiting Cuba, which they were able to do on an educational tour.

She instilled a love of adventure and of music in her three daughters. She enjoyed annual winter break road trips to Florida with her girls, which usually included at least one canoe jaunt in an alligator-infested swamp. Other memorable family adventures included camping trips at Lake George, a summer road trip to Yellowstone National Park and, in retirement, family reunions in Acadia National Park. She taught her daughters ukulele tunes learned from her own mother and instructed them in the fine art of Christmas clothespin ornament making. She tolerated their daily practicing on violin, viola, piano, cello, and various band instruments, claiming the music was so lovely it soothed her to sleep. Jean’s love of and support for her daughters was constant and enduring, and helped them to go on to achieve advanced degrees in science and engineering.

Jean adored her grandchildren, who knew her lovingly as “Nana,” and when she was with them, she could usually be found either reading a book to them or being read to by the young readers among them. She loved pulling her youngest grandchildren by wagon at the Ashokan Reservoir Walkway and sledding with them in her front yard, and she cherished skiing with her oldest at Belleayre Mountain. In the summer and fall, her driveway was usually covered with chalk drawings of roads she lovingly outlined for the enjoyment of her grandkids on their bikes and ride-on toys. She eagerly visited Legoland in both NY and CA, where her favorite ride was “Pirate Reef,” where she and her grandkids would spray amusement park bystanders with giant water cannons. With her grandchildren, she swam in Hawaii, camped at Rollins Pond in the Adirondacks, and hiked the deserts of southern California. She loved to sew, especially for her grandchildren, and happily made Halloween costumes, dress-up clothes, tote bags, and masks, and repaired holes in her grandchildren’s clothes. 

Jean is survived by her husband, Charles, of Rhinebeck, NY; three daughters Jen (husband Peter) and Chrissy (husband John) of CA, and Kathy (husband Tom) of Rhinebeck; as well as seven grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers, Dave of Poughkeepsie and Warren of Florida along with several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her mother Luella and father Willard as well as her brother Kenny.

Calling hours will be held Thursday, December 30th from 4-7pm at Dapson-Chestney Funeral Home, 51 W. Market St., Rhinebeck.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, 80 Washington Street, Suite 204, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (


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Memorial Hours
December 30, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Dapson Chestney Funeral Home
51 West Market St PO Box 515
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

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