Elspeth Jean Bannerman, a former longtime resident of Middletown, CT, died Wednesday, January 5, 2022 near her home in Belleville, Ontario, of complications from a fall. She was 89.
For more than two decades, Jean taught students Ancient History, English History, and US History at New Canaan High School. She was born March 20, 1932 in Hanover, NH to Harold Bannerman, a geologist who taught at Wesleyan University, and Harriet McIntosh Bannerman, a nurse. She grew up in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., spending many summers in Canada, where her parents were from and where she had extended family. She attended St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes Episcopal School in Alexandria, Virginia and later graduated from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. During the Korean War, she served as an ambulance driver with the American Red Cross. She remained proud of her service there for the remainder of her life.
Jean began her teaching career in Colorado, where she worked for seven years, before joining the New Canaan High School faculty in 1967. She retired from NCHS in 1988.
She earned a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and also attended Oxford University and the University of Toronto. She was an active member of the Alpha Sigma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, at one point serving as president. She was also a member of the Connecticut Education Association and past president of the Greater Middletown (CT) American Association of University Women. In addition, she served on the board of the Girl Scouts Connecticut Trails Council.
Jean was admired for her keen intelligence, wit, and her devotion to her students. She believed that teaching was a calling. Many former students can still recall the laborious 3-D projects they built for her Ancient History classes. Others will remember the festive tea parties she threw each year in her English History classes to commemorate Victoria Day.
Following her retirement from teaching, Jean split her time between Middletown, CT and Carrying Place, Ontario, before moving to an assisted living facility in Belleville, Ontario. She is survived by her longtime partner, Muriel Colquhoun, of Trenton, Ontario, along with several cousins and devoted friends.
Private graveside service will be held in Pine Grove Cemetery in Middletown, CT at the convenience of the family. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
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