Del Mar, 82, passes away |

Del Mar, 82, passes away

Special to the Daily

Jeanne Wilkens Del Mar passed away May 18, 2008, at the age of 82. She was born Jeanne Marie Wilkens on Dec. 18, 1925, in Greensboro, N.C.

As a child Jeanne traveled extensively with her parents and younger sister. Her father was a salesman for an electric company when Jeanne and her sister Barbara were young.

Her father later became general sales manager for Magnavox Corp. Her mother was a ballet dancer and a teacher.

The family was relocated numerous times ” domestically and abroad during Jeanne’s childhood. Because of this travel, she attended 13 schools before entering high school.

During this time she learned English, Spanish, and German. The foreign countries she called home included Haiti (where her younger sister, 6 years her junior, was born), Santa Domingo, Colombia, Germany and Mallorca.

At the age of 7, Jeanne contracted the polio virus, not uncommon for children in the 1930s. From that tender age, she would walk with the aid of a full leg brace and a cane for the remainder of her life.

As a child growing up with polio, Jeanne traveled across the Atlantic by ship every summer for a number of years to Warm Springs, Ga., to undergo treatment with other children stricken by polio. It was there in the therapeutic pools she would meet and swim with FDR, a polio survivor.

When Jeanne was 8 years old, she visited Duke University. She was enamored with this school and at that age became determined this was where she would attend college. She graduated from Duke with a degree in Sociology.

Her parents’ worldly travels brought them to the East Coast town of Greenwich, Conn. They moved in across the street from a family named Del Mar. Jeanne, a beautiful brunette, met John, a handsome sandy haired man ” both in their early 20s.

She was white washing her family’s fence and he was polishing the family’s silver name plate. Thus began the beginning of what would become a marriage that would last more than 50 years.

Jeanne would once again know the adventures of travel when John’s rising career in the advertising field transferred them from the corporate offices of New York City to San Francisco to Chicago and back again to New York City over the course of 23 years.

With her husband and two children, Jeanne embraced life to the fullest. Swimming, sailing, ice-skating, alpine skiing, gardening, and organizing neighborhood events were her passions.

Upon John’s retirement as a Vice President with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) in the mid-1970s, the couple decided to move to Colorado. John was approached by a company called Affiliated Advertising Agencies International (AAAI) and was offered the position of president.

He accepted and the company complied with his request that headquarters be relocated from NYC to the Denver area to coincide with their desires to relocate to Colorado.

During this time in Aurora, they also maintained a second home in Dillon. Weekends were spent skiing at Keystone Resort.

Retirement from the AAAI only became a spring-board for many involvements once retiring full time in Dillon.

As full-time residents of Dillon, Jeanne and John started a desktop publishing company out of their home.

As a team, they introduced the Dillon Enterprise ” a small newspaper, wrote newsletters for HOA’s, and resumes. Jeanne was a volunteer consultant for Disability Options. She also served for a time as a town council member for the Town of Dillon.

Their entertainment included attending the Denver Symphony Orchestra, joining the Denver Jazz Club, meeting and becoming huge fans and friends of the Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra and skiing with the Keystone chapter of the Over the Hill Gang.

They hosted young musicians with the NRO.

Combining their marketing background with the performing arts was a natural transition for Jeanne and John.

The combined visions of Jeanne, John, and some of their friends culminated in the forming of the Lake Dillon Foundation for the Performing Arts (LDFPA) and the Dillon Amphitheater.

Two entities that branched from the LDFPA were the Lake Dillon Theatre Company (LDTC) and Music of the Summit. Music of the Summit, devoted to chamber music, later reorganized to become Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival.

All of these cultural marvels continue to prosper, reaching new echelons of artistic accomplishment for people of all ages and cultures to experience.

Jeanne is survived by her sister Barbara W. Clemons and her two children, her daughter Corinne D. Bair, son Brian A. Del Mar, and her grandsons Dylan A. Lamarre and Barton J. Lamarre.

A “Celebration of the life of Jeanne W. Del Mar” will take place locally this fall.

Further information about this will follow in an early August edition of the Summit Daily News.

If individuals wish to honor her memory, contributions may be made in her name to either or both of these nonprofits:

Lake Dillon Foundation for the Performing Arts

P.O. Box 2625

Dillon, CO 80435

Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival

P.O. Box 840

Dillon, CO 80435

” Daily News staff report

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