Jane shares thoughts and memories of her friend Mrs. Jean Marshall, who passed away March 29, 2021, at age 94.
I am so saddened to hear of Jean’s passing. She was such an amazingly positive lady, always happy to meet for a chat. Jean gave me great practical advice as well as wonderful anecdotes. This is the closing of an extraordinary chapter in not only her family’s history, but that of Singapore.
Jean’s husband David Marshall was a Singaporean politician and lawyer who served as Singapore’s first Chief Minister. They married in 1961, Jean having originally come to Malaya from her home in the UK in 1953 to take up a post with the Red Cross as a medical social worker. Jean and David had four children together.
I’m getting quite teary reading all the emails Jean and I exchanged over the years. I took Jean to tea (photo above) with author Josephine Chia and BBC presenter Sharanjit Leyl in May 2015 at the Fullerton Bay and discovered she had landed there—when it was still Clifford Pier—when she first came to Singapore.
She then attended one of my many 60th birthday events in 2016, and I recall Jean sat right next to me at a lunch. What an honour.
Back in 2017, I invited Jean to give a talk at Eden Hall, the residence of the British Ambassador to Singapore, with proceeds going to charity. After some discussion we agreed that the theme should be “Jewish Footprints in Singapore” in honour of David. Although she never converted to Judaism, Jean knew a lot about its local history, so the talk was wonderful. I’m so happy I asked her to do this, all who attended have such happy memories of the evening.
Over the years, Jean and I chatted over lots of coffee and tea at her apartment. She was always so helpful and supportive. I’m so very sad I didn’t see her during the whole COVID pandemic.
RIP dear Jean, you were a woman of substance who lived a full and rich life. Gone but never forgotten.