Jean Hawk Troy, age 97, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away February 26 at Asbury Place in Maryville, Tn.
She leaves behind a family that has been the center of her life and a lifetime of Christian service and public citizenship. She was born in Suzhou, China to missionary parents, Dr. and Mrs. John C. Hawk and spent the first 17 years of her life in China. After graduating from the Shanghai American School, she came to Virginia to study at Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg and at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tn.
In 1936, she married Dr. H. Olin Troy. Together they raised a family and shared pastorates throughout the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church -- in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Johnson City, and Morristown, Tn., and in Bristol, Pennington Gap, Marion, and Radford, Va. Throughout her life, Jean was active in her local church, focusing especially on youth, young adult, and women’s ministries. She served on conference commissions on Christian vocations and ministerial education and was named a delegate to the church’s Southeastern Jurisdiction and General Conference.
She was a dedicated member of United Methodist Women at the local, conference and national levels. In 1964 she was elected to the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, where for two quadrennia she represented the Women’s Division of the national church. As vice-chair of the Board’s World Division, the division’s chief lay officer, she traveled throughout the world on behalf of United Methodist missions.
She was also committed to ecumenical endeavors, serving Church Women United for two years as Tennessee State president and for nine years as a member of the National Board of Managers. This was at a time in the l950’s and 60’s when the organization carried on important interracial women’s work throughout the South. In 1977 she returned to China on a tour sponsored by the US/China Peoples Friendship Association (USCPFA), rekindling a passion for that country which she shared with all those who have lived and worked there. Soon she was leading China tours herself, and for seventeen years, until age 81, she led USCPFA tours to China. As a member of the USCPFA, she organized its Chattanooga chapter, was elected national secretary and then served two terms as national president. She played a key role in developing the Sister City relationship between Chattanooga and Wuxi, China.
In this, as in all areas of her life, she was a teacher. She led United Methodist Schools of Christian Mission across the country, taught Elderhostel classes, and spoke to local USCPFA chapters about US/China issues. In 1980 Tennessee Wesleyan College honored her for all her accomplishments with the degree of Doctor of Humanities.
Yet throughout this active life, her center remained her home and family. She and Olin, her beloved husband, raised three sons: Bill Troy of Knoxville, Jim Troy of Shipman, Virginia, and Henry Troy of Denver. She is survived by her three sons, by daughters-in-law, Candace Boyd and Gail Troy; by grandchildren, Gabriel Troy, Willow Messier, Shannon Troy and Amanda Troy; and by great-grandson, Maxwell Hawk Messier.
She was a loving mother, a wonderful homemaker, a fine cook, a talented seamstress and the person whose faithful attention to family ties helped bind together the several branches of her extended family. She was a strong, determined, gracious, caring and committed person whose memory will be always be a blessing to her family and to the many others whose lives she touched.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Foundation for Holston Conference Scholarships, Box 900, Alcoa, Tn. 37701.
Condolences may be sent to Jim Troy, 3036 Dutch Creek Lane, Shipman, Va. 22971-9639.
A memorial service will be held at Brainerd United Methodist Church in Chattanooga at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 6.
Condolences may also be shared at www.lanefh.com.
Arrangements are by Lane Funeral Home, Ashland Terrace, 877-3524.