Surrey Founder Jeanne LaRouche Passes Away
Jeanne LaRouche was the founder and visionary leader of Surrey Services for Seniors. For 28 years this extraordinary woman worked to facilitate successful aging in place for the elders in her community. Wife, mother, grandmother, Jeanne was the driving force of the organization she formed to help older adults continue living at home with independence and dignity and be active members of the community.
Working from home in 1981, while pursuing her Master's degree in Social Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania (1980-1982), Jeanne created Surrey Services for Seniors. Aided by her mother Althea Molitor, husband Bob, and a group of volunteers working around the dining table, Jeanne mobilized community support and created the organization on a shoestring.
A graduate of the University of Delaware, with a B.S. in Education (1959), Jeanne's first career was education. Her inspiration to create an organization that met the needs of older people resulted from her later work; first, as the founder of the Radnor Memorial Library Oral History Project (1977-1981), and later as history columnist for The Main Line Times (1982-1998). As she interviewed aging Main Line residents the framework for the organization became clear. She saw the need for people to have purpose in later years through volunteer, educational, wellness and social opportunities. She recognized the necessity of having access to supportive services such as transportation, home maintenance, shopping, downsizing, and personal care. The concepts laid the framework for the organization she founded on August 18, 1981.
Today Surrey is a $5 million organization headquartered in Devon, PA, serving over 8,000 older adults annually. The core premise of neighbor helping neighbor through the time and talent of an extensive volunteer corps; community support; and, professionally staffed fee for service programs are the hallmark of Surrey's success.
Jeanne has been recognized for her vision and has received many awards over the years. She was recipient of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce Five Star Leadership Award. Some of her other awards were from the Soroptimist Club Woman of the Year, Wayne Lion's Club, the Freedom Valley Girl Scout Council, and Heritage Commission of Delaware County. Jeanne was a member of the Board and the interim Executive Director of Main Line School Night. She also served on the Boards of the Radnor Conservancy and the Radnor Historical Society. Jeanne was the first female President of the North Wayne Protective Association (NWPA).
The family has requested that gifts made in memory of Jeanne be sent to Surrey Services for Seniors, 60 Surrey Way, Devon, PA 19333.
A memorial honoring Jeanne's life will be held on February 13, 2016 at Surrey's Center for Healthy Living, 60 Surrey Way, Devon. The family will welcome guests at 1:00 pm followed by a celebration of her life at 2:00 pm.
Please view Surrey's YouTube channel to learn more about this amazing woman and the founding of Surrey.