The Jean H. Stephens Charitable Fund was established in 1999 in memory of Jean H. Stephens, who passed away in 1998. This fund is to be used for the purpose of supporting charitable organizations, projects and purposes related to improving the quality of life, education, and/or other needs benefiting young women in the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation service region.

The following information on Jean H. Stephens was provided by her in a letter written on December 8, 1986:

"It was 45 years ago today that I took my first Civil Service test, the day after Pearl Harbor. I was 17 and would graduate from Central High School, Washington, DC, the following month.

My father had died when I was 14, so there was no money for college. I went to work for the War Department and I was hoping to save enough money for college the following year. As it happened, our office moved to the yet-to-be-finished Pentagon within a few months. I had to find a ride to get from NW Washington to Arlington, and I signed up for a carpool in our office. The man who owned the car drove six of us every day, and came to see me in the evenings. It was a very short romance, four months from the first date to our marriage in November. The following July, 1943, he entered the Army, and in September, our daughter was born on our ten-month anniversary. He remained stateside until April 1944, and then went to Australia with the Signal Corps. I moved in with my mother for the duration and upon his return in January 1946, we began looking for our first house. Cars were scarce, money was tight and in February 1947, I went back to work. I first worked for B.F. Saul Co., but after a year, I returned to the government, this time with the Department of State. I remained there four years.

By this time, we were looking for our second home, which we found in Alexandria, VA. Our daughter was now 7, and I can remember buying her a Brownie uniform and attending some sort of ceremony. On December 7, 1951, I left the government.

It wasn't long before it was known that a mother was at home and I was asked to help coach the Brownies that were "flying up" in the spring. I could hardly refuse when my daughter was one of them! I was then asked if I'd take the training so that I could continue helping as an assistant Brownie leader the following year, and I agreed. I had never been a Girl Scout, but I was interested in the laws to be learned, the simple knots to master, etc.

I also took a big step and enrolled in the D.C. Teacher's College. Fortunately, there were veterans returning to school, so I wasn't the only adult there. It was quite a challenge through, as it had been ten years since my high school graduation. Before the semester was out, my husband came home with the exciting news that he had been selected to work in England for two years. School books were put away after one semester as I wouldn't have time to finish the second one.

In May of 1953, we sailed for England. Queen Elizabeth was having her coronation in early July, so the streets of London were beautifully decorated. We were taken directly to Cheltenham, 90 miles west of London, where we lived for 2 ½ years. I loved the experience, and we've been back many times.

When we returned to Virginia in 1955, we had to sell our house and move to Silver Spring. The National Security Agency had moved from Arlington to Ft. Meade while we were overseas. In 1956, our son was born and we moved into our house on Woodside Parkway. We were there one year when my husband was appointed to the Air War College in Montgomery, AL. We took a month and drove to the west coast before reporting to the base. It was our first trip west, and we had a wonderful time, even with an 18-month old. When we left Alabama the following June, we drove to Mexico City before our return to Silver Spring.

When we left Silver Spring in the summer of 1962, we moved to Belair. Brian entered first grade there. I kept busy helping at the school and served as Neighborhood Chairman. It was interesting and I enjoyed the ladies, but finally left that and enrolled at Bowie State College, which was not far away.

In June, our daughter graduated from the University of Denver, and in July, we went to Paris. Our first apartment was in Versailles, near the palace and in a lovely town. We found our permanent place about 15 miles away, near the American school for all the students in France. Charles DeGaulle then decided he wanted all Americans out of France, so we spent the last six months of our tour in Stuttgart, Germany.

We returned to Belair in 1967 with just a month to buy a house and have our daughter's wedding. I again enrolled at Bowie State, going full time, and finally graduated in June, 1970. I taught third grade for a year and didn't enjoy it at all. I had loved the girls in scouts, it was a merger of willingness and success. My little class was 1/3 non-readers, 1/3 on first grade level and 1/3 on second grade level. I felt very inadequate in dealing with them. They deserved so much more than I could give.

We moved to Naples in August of 1971. Some of you might remember that we went to the Olympics in Rome, 1960. Anyhow, that was our first time, and we really enjoyed the experience. Since then, we have been to Mexico City in 1968, Munich in 1972, Montreal in 1976 and California in 1984. Hopefully, we'll be going to Seoul in 1988."