Skip to header Skip to main content Skip to footer
Helpful Village logo
Add me to your mailing list
Youtube channel Facebook page
Header image for Pasadena Village showing nearby mountains and the logo of the Pasadena Village

Blog archive

One Villager's Story

By Bridget Brewster
Posted: 05/31/2023
Tags: bios

“To thine own self be true.”  Wise words. Words to live by.

Having reached these years of ‘retirement’, it’s a great hope that we have each found our way to ourselves.  We have discovered who we are or are becoming.

Jean Owen, a Charter Member of Pasadena Village, has learned the meaning of being true to yourself through decades of life experiences.  She has gone from a little girl growing up in Pasadena to a wise woman who exudes confidence and joy.  Hers was not always an easy path (few of us walk that road), but she has been blessed with a caring family.  Following the death of her father, at the age of 15, Jean’s aunt and uncle (Fredrick March – yes, the world-renowned actor and his wife, Florence Eldridge) were a comforting and strong influence in her life.

Recently, Jean was elected as President of the Resident Association at Villa Gardens, where she lives and is happily surrounded and supported by neighbors who appreciate her leadership skills and willingness to be of service. The role entails being a voice for all the residents in various matters, having discussions with the Administration and helping to address residents’ concerns.  In speaking with a few of her neighbors, it’s quite clear why she was asked to step into this challenging leadership role:

"Jean is a friend to everyone she meets.”

"She has a smile and kind word for everyone.”

"Jean has been a helper and friend to me and I’m so thankful.”

Following the passing of her husband, Jean began to explore “being one of one, no longer one of two”.  She joined with others in conversations about how they might continue living full, interesting lives while remaining independent.  Those conversations led to the establishment of Pasadena Village, a part of the national movement to support one another as we age.  Jean stated, “I wanted to expand my horizons and meet new people.  The Village has certainly done that for me.” 

Jean has always loved music . . . both vocal and instrumental and supports various music and theater organizations.  “Music speaks to me in a way nothing else can, it is a universal language that allows us to relate to one another.”  She attended UC Berkely and graduated from UCLA.  She and her husband raised their two children here in Pasadena, and Jean is a both grandmother and great-grandmother.

In conversation with Jean, we discussed our many roles throughout our lives and how we are identified by others as mother or wife, but seldom as ‘self’.  She expressed the joy she feels in being given time as she ages to discover who she is, separate from what she does.  “Who I am now is wholly new.  I’m learning more about myself every day.  I have time to learn about me. This is why one of my favorite quotes is ‘to thine own self be true’ . . . I’m still learning to do just that.”

Jean Owen is just one example, among hundreds of Pasadena Villagers, who is discovering herself as she continues to pursue long-held and excitingly new interests.   

Blogs Topics Posts about this Topic