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News > Family Announcements > Remembered with Affection - Jean Elizabeth Velecky née Stanier (V 1941)

Remembered with Affection - Jean Elizabeth Velecky née Stanier (V 1941)

Obituary published in The Chain Magazine 2022
Obituary published in The Chain Magazine 2022

10 January 1923 - 6 March 2022

Written by Jean's niece, Ruth

Jean died on 6 March 2022 at the age of 99. With the help of her wonderful neighbours, carers and family she was able to live at home until the end, as Jean had hoped would be possible.

Born in Victoria, British Columbia, as her parents were living overseas there, Jean was the youngest of four children. They all returned to Britain when she was two, and lived in Hythe before moving to Winchester. Jean was educated at home by her mother using the PNEU system (the Parents’ National Educational Union, an organisation providing resources and support for teachers and homeschoolers) until she was eight, and then moved on to St Swithun’s in Winchester, where she was very happy.

Jean won a scholarship to study Natural Science at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1941. During war-time, degrees did not follow the usual pattern; Jean studied Natural Science 1941-43 and Physiology 1945-46, being awarded her BA in 1944 and MA in 1948. She thoroughly enjoyed her time in Oxford and, as well as her studies, she took part in sports including cricket and lacrosse, becoming a Double Blue.

From 1943-45 she worked at the National Institute for Research in Dairying. Between 1950 and 1952, she was at the Biochemistry Department in Oxford with a Medical Research Council grant and received her DPhil in 1950.

She worked in a team studying undernutrition after WWII in Wuppertal, Germany, investigating the volume and composition of the milk of mothers in Wuppertal and comparing it with that of mothers in different situations. Her other research work included mucoproteins, in the biochemistry department at Oxford, and hyaluronic acid in cattle knees, at the Medical Research Centre in Harwell. Later she moved to Southampton University where she researched the hepatopancreas of crabs.

She left her academic career in 1965 when she married Lubor Velecky, whom she had met playing recorders in Oxford. In fact, playing recorders in small groups remained a pleasure throughout her life. Together they made their life in Southampton, where they raised their family and were both very involved with the local community. Among other local activities Jean was much involved with the Southampton Commons and Parks Protection Society, the Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery, and with stewarding at St Michael’s Church, Southampton.

She also ran Girl Guides and Brownies activities, including regularly going on summer camp at Foxlease near Lyndhurst, where she was the cook – preparing food for everyone. She volunteered in the resources department at Shirley Middle School and she also read to children in the children’s ward at Southampton hospital. In the 1970s she taught English to a number of Indian and Pakistani women in their own homes, enabling them to both speak and read English. Jean also helped Southampton Orienteering Club in many ways, having acquired her interest in orienteering from Lubor.

Orienteering formed a large part of their life, Jean continuing into her 90s, and representing England as a veteran and winning many national trophies. Jean was modest and unassuming and a hugely loved member of her family. She is survived by her two children, Alan and Sarah, and by five grandchildren.

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