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Obituary of Jean M. Richards
Jean Marjorie Richards of Essex, CT passed away on August 2, 2022 with family at her side after a valiant battle with colon cancer. Jean was born on May 2, 1934 to George Handyside Richards and Marjorie Beaumont Richards. She grew up in Montclair, NJ and summered in Shelter Island, Long Island, NY. It was there that she and her sisters learned to sail, sparking a life-long love of boats and the water. She attended St. John Baptist School in Mendham, NJ (an Episcopalian convent school) and went on to graduate from Radcliffe College of Harvard University in 1956. Later that year she began her career in investment banking, joining White, Weld & Co., a privately-held global financial services firm, working first as a researcher and soon after as an analyst. One of the first women on Wall Street, Jean’s intelligence, focus, and grace allowed her to excel professionally in a male-dominated industry at a time when women were rarely seen beyond the secretarial pool. A New York Times article (White, Weld Promotes 2 Women) from January 12, 1966 began: “In Wall Street, where women executives are still a rarity, two young women have won top positions with a leading securities underwriter. Marjorie M. Jones and Jean M. Richards have been named vice presidents of White, Weld Co., … a member firm of the New York Stock Exchange.” She enjoyed the investment banking side of the business and only left when she married Paul Hallingby, one of the firm’s top executives. When she divorced, she left New York City and moved to Deep River, CT. After a time, she chose to go back to work and joined Aetna’s Hartford, CT in pension fund management. In retirement Jean served on the boards of the Connecticut River Watershed Council and Riverview Cemetery, and she was a generous and consistent philanthropist. While maintaining her home in Deep River as her primary residence until 2019, she joined the Essex Meadows community in 2010 and served as a valued member of the finance and marketing committees. A lifelong avid sailor, even after she sold her last boat (a 31’ sloop named Periwinkle) she maintained her membership and involvement with Essex Yacht Club. Her love of the water, pride in her Scottish heritage, passion for politics and commitment to the Democratic party, and dedication toward protecting the environment never waned. She maintained an active interest in financial and business markets throughout her life. Jean remained curious, insightful, and engaged until the end. Jean is survived by her younger sisters Betty Richards (Stonington, CT) and Barbara Richards Pitney (Bernardsville, NJ); and eight nieces and nephews: George Cochran and Jo Ann Straub (Revere, MA); Amy Cochran and Matt Snyder (Stonington, CT); Kirsten Sibilia and Patrick Sibilia (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY); and Keely Loveys and Ralph Loveys (Basking Ridge, NJ). She was predeceased by her late former husbands Thayer (Pete) Kingsley and Paul Hallingby, Jr. In 2020, she lost the love of her life and her partner of more than 20 years to COVID: Boyton (Dede) McFarland Schmitt. A memorial service will be held September 10, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at Essex Meadows. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Jean’s favorite non-profit: Save the Sound (New Haven, CT).