Jean Fleshler died peacefully July 7, 2021, in her own home in San Diego, Calif., where she had moved after spending over 30 years in Cleveland. She was lucid and made her own choices until the end. Jean led a remarkable life and saw enormous changes in the world.
Jean Patricia Birrell was born in London, England, in 1928 and remained a proud British citizen throughout her life. As a young girl, she lived in London during WWII, sleeping in the underground as protection from German bombs. After the war, while working at the BBC, a chance meeting on a London bus led her to a job with Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) in Stockholm, Sweden. She then worked at the British Embassy in Sweden before moving to Oslo, Norway, to work at NATO, where she met Bertram Fleshler, a captain in the U.S. Air Force.
Jean and Bertram moved to Washington, D.C., where Jean worked at the British Embassy. They were married in 1956, moved to Boston, and then to Cleveland in 1958. While in Cleveland, she began her lifelong passion for ceramics, becoming an accomplished ceramicist. In 1983, one of Jean’s pieces was shown at the prestigious May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She also worked as a preschool teacher and a travel agent, designing unique international trips for clients. Jean raised and loved her two children, Karen and David, and cared for her beloved dog, Jefferson.
In 1992, Jean and Bertram moved to San Diego. At that time, she became U.S. citizen, while keeping her British citizenship, specifically to support women candidates to further her feminist views. Jean was extraordinarily happy living in California. During this period, she and Bertram traveled extensively, including months’ long periods living in Paris, taking courses at the American University of Paris. Continuing her love for ceramics, she helped establish Clay Artists at the Vineyard, a co-op ceramics studio near her home. Jean spent many holidays with her children and grandchildren. She made many close friends - especially at her ceramics studio.
From an early age, Jean’s ambition was to lead a meaningful and interesting life, travel the world, and be close to family and friends. In her 92+ years, she fulfilled that ambition and more.
Jean was the beloved wife of Bertram (deceased); mother of Karen and David (Carla Tricarichi); loving grandmother of Tamar and Talia; and sister of Edna Smalley (Don, deceased) and the late Pearl Davies (Hugh, deceased). Jean will be remembered as a loving substitute mother and grandmother to many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
The funeral service will be livestreamed on the Facebook page of Cypress View Mausoleum at 2:30 p.m. July 12. Shiva will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. July 15 and from 1 to 5 p.m. July 16 at the home of David Fleshler and Carla Tricarichi, 1286 Oakridge Drive in Cleveland Heights.
The family asks that contributions in Jean’s memory be made to Frosted Faces Foundation, 1448 Pine St., Ramona, CA 92065, an organization that saves senior animals who are abandoned in shelters whose most certain fate would otherwise be euthanasia, or a charity of choice.