Jean Barber Bucek passed away at home in Somerville, NJ on April 12, 2021. She spent her life in community service, helping and being helpful to others and leaving a lasting impression on those who worked beside her.
Jean was born in New York City on August 20, 1938 and lived most of her life in Manhattan. After marrying Ladislav Bucek in 1957, and welcoming son John in 1963 and daughter Jeanine in 1965,
Jean turned her sights to the community, firmly believing in the bible verse: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
She launched her career first, getting involved in establishing financial and personnel systems for community-based non-profit organizations. Then later, while working, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Management from Fordham in 1978. She helped build or sustain many organizations: Morningside Montessori School, Training for Living, Urban Housing Assistance Board, National Center for Social Entrepreneurs, The Dome, National Council for Research on Women, The Feminist Press, Community Access and others. She and Larry divorced in 1988.
Using her financial skills and administrative training, she guided these groups with their fiscal and personnel management so they could focus on their primary goals of giving assistance to the underserved. She served on the board of her children’s school, Professional Children’s School. She also was a board member for her first spiritual home, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and her subsequent one, Riverside Church. She thrived in the city, drawing energy from its people, culture, diversity and her personal mission to be useful to others every day.
Jean did make time for fun with family and friends, shooting pool and bowling with her son in their league, (using her own 8lb purple bowling ball as purple was her favorite color), She enjoyed dinners and theater with her sister and daughter and walks with her Maltese terrier, Jesse James.
She wrapped up her career in New York serving as part-time administrator at George Artz Communications for 18 years, JASPOA and Broadway Community, Inc..
In 2012, Jean relocated to Princeton, NJ to be closer to her sister, her son and daughter and their families. She found outlets for her industry and her compassion: working at two church soup kitchens, a food pantry and as a home health aide.. She loved living next to the Princeton Public Library where she spent many hours roaming the stacks and lent her expertise every year during the library’s annual tax help forum.
In 2017, Jean moved to Somerville and joined what would be her last spiritual home, United Reformed Church, where she became a deacon, again helping with administration and planning.
Jean is survived by her sister Sally Barber, her son John Bucek and daughter Jeanine Rosen; grandchildren Emma, Alex, Sam, Thomas and his wife Urma; niece Sharon and her husband Ralph Greer, nephews James Gardiner and his wife Hedy and Stephen Lois and his wife Cyndee.
Gifts in Jean’s memory may be donated to the United Reformed Church, 100 Main Street, Somerville, NJ 08876 or via urcsomerville.org.
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