Jean B. Chalcraft
May 7, 1924 – May 7, 2020
Jean Binnie Chalcraft of Wilmette passed away at home after a short illness on May 7, 2020, her 96th birthday. Jean was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1924. The daughter of a printer and professional knitter, Jean worked as a secretary before and during World War II. After the war, she married an American soldier and moved to Chicago. In Chicago, she was proud to work for the British Consulate and British Travel, a governmental agency which promoted travel in the UK. In the mid-1960s, she married the late Gerald L. Chalcraft, a lawyer in Chicago. Their only child was born in 1967 and the family moved to Wilmette in 1968. Jean was an avid collector of antiques and ran the family business after Gerald passed in 1984. She enjoyed dancing and traveling – taking some of her biggest trips when she was in her 80s and 90s. In the last four years, she was able to return to Scotland (twice) after 32 years away and also reunited with her brother in New Zealand, after 67 years apart. She cared deeply about animals and the environment. She enjoyed music, especially Johnny Cash and WWII romance songs. Even into her advanced age, she was highly independent, lived in her own house, and knew what she wanted. She was strong but always kind. She had a great sense of humor and still enjoyed having crushes until the end. She rose to any challenge with patience and grace and was loved and admired by those who knew her as well as her social media fans. Survivors include daughter Valerie Chalcraft of Wilmette; brother William Little of Nelson, New Zealand (age 94); nephew David Little of Nelson, New Zealand; niece Fiona Ciaran of Christchurch, New Zealand; and nephew Timothy Chalcraft Sozen, of Brooklyn, New York. A private memorial will be held in Wilmette. Burial will take place in a family gravesite in Scotland.