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Jean Prinz Korf (Her official first name is Claire, but as a 4-year old she declared she would go by her middle name; Jean) was born October 28, 1925, in New Albany, Indiana, to Winfield and Waneta (Sadler) Prinz. She passed away on July 23, 2020, in Claremont, California.
Jean grew up in New Albany (where her Prinz family lived) and in Louisville, Kentucky (where her Sadler family lived). As a child, she loved her Saint Bernard, Prince, briefly had a pony of her own, survived the Ohio River flood of 1937 and became interested in music and theatre through her talented mother. She attended New Albany High (where she met her lifelong friend Jimmy Allen). After a year at DePauw University in Indiana, her family moved to Los Angeles and Jean transferred to UCLA. There she earned her BA and her MA in theatre arts. Jean later completed her Master's degree in counseling at USC. Though she may have earned degrees from two rival schools, it is important to note that on the football field she was a diehard UCLA fan!
On September 8th, 1945, Jean was driving to Hollywood park to watch the races. She courageously picked up a hitchhiker dressed in military clothes and he turned out to be the love of her life (Their 2nd 'date' was at a UCLA game). Jean and Leonard Lee Langdon Korf were married on August 15, 1949, at the Wee Kirk O' the Heather Chapel at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.
Jean and Leonard settled in Whittier, California, where Jean had just been hired to run the auditorium at Whittier High School. In 1954 she was hired to create the theatre program at the new California High School in Whittier and 20 years later she founded the Theatre program at Rio Hondo Community College. She continued to run the program for 25 years prior to retirement. Jean was a life-long educator who truly loved teaching and finding opportunities for students. She also loved travel and helped create programs so theatre students could perform while traveling. One such program arranged for US colleges to perform for the USO and DOD at army bases around the world. She led 5 such tours herself to countries including Japan, Korea, The Philippines and Germany! She toured with Rio Hondo College Students on many occasions to the Edinburgh Theatre Festival Fringe in Scotland, performing as many as 8 plays in a month. Jean served as President of the American Theatre Association, as well as Co-founder and President of the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center. She was a member of The College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Following her retirement in 1992 she founded a local theatre company called TheatreCreations which performed plays in the Whittier area (and in Edinburgh) including plays about Shakespeare for middle school students. Even when she moved to her last home at Mt San Antonio Gardens Senior Living Community in 2010 she directed plays with and for the seniors.
Jean also somehow had time during her busy schedule, to have three children; Kerry, Bill and Geoff...all three also work in the theatre. She loved nature (especially Yosemite and, recently, Joshua Tree), watching tennis, and reading (lately reading about Ben Franklin and American History). Above all, she loved her family. Jean is survived by her daughter, Kerry Korf; sons, William and Geoff Korf; daughters-in-law, Tracy Korf and Kim Newton; and grandchildren, Leo Korf, Hannah Korf Haas, Ava Korf, Lumin Korf and Walden Korf. She is also survived by her cat, Storm.
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