Jean Nielsen Simmons Henry Rodgers, born in Lorain, Ohio to Gertrude and Walter Nielsen on January 19, 1919. She was oldest of four with 3 younger brothers, Dr. David Nielsen and Homer Nielsen (preceding her in death) and Carl Nielsen of Barstow, California. After first attending Oberlin college, Jean transferred to the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing and Health to graduate as a Registered Nurse and continue the family tradition shared by her grandmother, mother, and aunt. She married Dr. Charles McNeill Simmons, son of Charles and Elizabeth Simmons from Laurel Ohio, on April 12, 1942.
During a war stricken era, Jean supported Charles in his family medical practice in Bethel Ohio while raising 4 children, Charles Nielsen (Diane), Trudie Beth (Robert Riley), Kim David McNeill (Patricia), and Emilie Jean (Mike Moore), and establishing the Clermont County Historical Society, and the Women’s Club.
After 27 years of marriage, the good doctor widowed Jean at a young age of 49. It was then that Jean pursued her artistic talents and traveled extensively, especially with her daughter, Trudie Beth. During one of her own educational visits to Green Valley Arizona, Jean met and married Lieutenant Colonel Richard Lloyd Henry (Dick/Army-retired) originally from Flagstaff, Arizona. With Dick, Jean added two adult children – Mark Montgomery and Richard Schwartz from California. Together, Jean and Dick experienced the joy of grandparenthood to Jean’s seven (7) young grandchildren – Scott Simmons (Shannon), Bert Simmons (Angela), Kara Riley-King (Ryan), Bette Jean Wesson (Sean), Christina Schorr (Joe), Heather Smallman (Kyle), and Chuck Moore (Lindsey). Jean and Dick traveled extensively and participated with MOAA and other Green Valley organizations such as the Lions Club.
After 16 years of marriage, Dick widowed Jean and yet again she returned to pursue her artistic talents using the many courses and opportunities afforded to residents of the retirement community of Green Valley, Arizona. It was there, that she met and married Captain Wallace F. Rodgers (Wally/Navy-retired) originally from Riverside, California. With Wally, Jean added another two adult children – Rick and Elizabeth. For many years, Jean and Wally engaged in blended family’s lives, but specially her own when they traveled east of the Mississippi to visit and love 16 of Jean’s great grandchildren (Samantha, Madonna, Charles, Leigha, Trinity, Christian, Savanah, Avery, Coen, Evan, Aubrie, Oakley, Brayden, Abby, Olivia, and Austin).
After 8 years of marriage and after celebrating her 89th birthday with Wally, Trudie, and Emilie, Jean was once again widowed and alone, resigned to leave the blue skies and nurturing environment of Green Valley to join two of her youngest children in Cincinnati. For several years Jean continued to travel to Boston and Orlando, visiting children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren while continuing pursuit of her artistic talents among the other many opportunities offered at the Twin Lakes Retirement community in Montgomery, Ohio.
In August of 2019, Jean relocated for the last time to live with her youngest daughter, Emilie. It was there that Jean met a treasured new very good friend Latisha Dumas, as well as Michelle and Julie from Crossroads Hospice. To each of these, the family extends a very heartfelt thank you. On July 7th, 2020 Jean passed peacefully into the light with Emilie and her friend Michelle (Hospice) at her side.