Jean Ann Szabo


Jean Ann Szabo, 93, of Bluffton, Ohio, died Aug. 22, 2020, at Willow Ridge in Bluffton.

She was born April 15, 1927, in Findlay, Ohio, to Forrest L. and Joyce V. (Flick) Steinman. The family lived in Jenera, Ohio, and moved to Bluffton in 1935. She married E. James Szabo on Sept. 24, 1949, in Bluffton; James passed in 2010.

Jean Ann graduated from Bluffton High School in 1945 and received a bachelor’s of music from Baldwin Wallace University in 1949. She taught private piano lessons at home for several years prior to joining the Bluffton University music faculty in 1965. 

In 1970, she completed a master’s of music from Bowling Green State University and received tenure in 1974. She completed a sabbatical at the Vienna Conservatory of Music in Vienna, Austria, the same year. She performed in many recitals and concerts with her family as members of the Szabo Chamber Ensemble.

She continued her sabbatical studies at Kingston Polytechnic in London, England, in 1981 and through visits at selected universities in Canada and the United States during the winter of 1988-89.

While at Bluffton, she served on several committees and professional organizations, accompanied countless recitals and “Messiah” performances, and served as the chair of the Artist Series Committee for 10 years while remaining a committed teacher and mentor to her students prior to her retirement in 1992. She taught piano, music theory, and related courses from 1965 until her retirement in 1992.  

She was the recipient of Bluffton University’s 2019 Faculty/Staff Service Award and recipient of the 2000 Bluffton Lions Club Citizen of the Year, along with her husband. 

She was a member of Bluffton Telesis Club and Bluffton First United Methodist Church, where she was organist for over 60 years.

She is survived by sons, Jeffrey (Kathleen) of Chautauqua, New York; Jeremy (Julia) of Bluffton; and Jon (Katie Jacoby) of Dublin, Ohio. Also surviving are five grandchildren: Thomas Finger (Laura St. John), Christina Shipley (Robb), Jacob Szabo, Maggie Szabo, Jack Szabo; great-grandchild Jarek Thomas Pierson; sister-in-law Ann Isenbergh; plus several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, sister Betty Dozer, and a daughter, Julie Ann Szabo.

A private burial will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery in Bluffton. A Celebration of Life service is to be held at Bluffton First United Methodist Church at a later date to be announced. Memorial gifts may be made to Bluffton University Music Department, First United Methodist Church of Bluffton, or Sunshine Communities in Maumee, Ohio.

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