Born in Ontario, Oregon, the daughter of George Lewis Penrose (1915-87) and Elinore Sterrett Shields (1913-93), Jean Penrose grew up on their small farm in Tigard, Oregon.
After high-school graduation in 1957, Jean spent a memorable year with her family in Tehran, Iran. She also lived on a kibbutz in Israel as part of the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) Program.
With her 1962 Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Oregon State University, she went to Colorado to teach high-school HomeEc. Her sense of adventure took her to Juneau, Alaska in 1965 where she taught at Juneau-Douglas High School.
She and longtime Alaskan Pierre Sundborg married in December 1966. Pierre’s 30-year career with IBM brought the family to Seattle in 1968, then to New York, Texas, Leicester in England and St-Paul-de-Vence in France. They adopted infants George Charles in 1969 and Lynn Marie in 1971. Lynn died in 2007.
After the Sundborgs moved from Normandy Park to Seattle and settled on 5th Avenue West in 1992, Jean co-founded and led the Uptown Alliance. She reminded all that “it’s not Lower Queen Anne.” Jean played a key role in the creation of Uptown’s Counterbalance Park, dedicated in 2008. In the 1990s she worked for Triangle Associates, specializing in waste reduction and recycling.
In retirement, she pursued passions of traveling and family genealogical research.
She died in Tallin, Estonia after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on a Baltic cruise with husband Pierre aboard the Rotterdam.
Source: “Uptown Alliance, A Key Queen Anne Player” (Queen Anne News, July 2008)