ST. ALBANS / LONG BEACH, Calif. – Mary Jean Dunsmore Cox passed away peacefully in Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday, April 14. Mary Jean was born to George and Ella Dunsmore in St. Albans on Jan. 9, 1925. Her brothers and sisters were Donald, Dorothy, Marguerite and Murray Dunsmore.
She attended the now-gone one-room school on Newton near the Dunsmore Road, until eighth grade, on occasion riding her pony to school. She graduated from Bellows Free Academy and earned a scholarship to UVM, where she was active in Kappa Alpha Theta and where she earned a B.A. in English and a teaching credential. She began her teaching career at BFA Fairfax, where she taught English and French.
She married David Marshall Cox in St. Albans on July 3, 1948. Soon after their first son, Glenn was born, they moved to Cambridge, Mass. Alison was born there, and then they bought a home in Wilmington, Mass. Mary Jean resumed teaching after Lee was born, and Dave began writing for television. During those years, Mary Jean was active in the Congregational Church, serving as Vacation Bible School Director and on outreach committees. In 1968, the family moved to Woodland Hills, Calif., when Dave was offered a writing job on Laugh In. Mary Jean started teaching 7th grade English for LAUSD, and continued for 21 years before retiring in 1989.
On retiring, Mary Jean and Dave returned to St. Albans, to a farmhouse that they had been restoring during summers for many years. Mary Jean stayed very active as a church member, a historical museum volunteer and the family genealogist. She would walk several miles daily, picking up litter to recycle as she walked, donating the funds she made by recycling bottles to benefit conserving Lake Champlain.
Mary Jean was a loving, caring mother, aunt, teacher and volunteer who will be greatly missed.
She is survived by sons Glenn, of Reno, Nev., and Lee, of Long Beach, Calif., cousin, Margaret Brown of St. Albans, and several nieces and nephews: Peggy D. Coon, Jean Dunsmore, Carol Dunsmore, David Dunsmore and Nancy D. Janson, all of St. Albans; Mary D. Carney of Walpole, Mass., Marcia L. Cox of Avon, Conn., Kent D. Dunsmore of New York, N.Y., Dianne Hanson of Ripton, Nancy M. Boucher of Bow, N.H., and Dorothy D. Susslin of Newburyport, Mass.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at the St. Albans Congregational Church, 27 Church St. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice.