Jean Gary (Armagost) Rough died peacefully at home surrounded by her family in Port Townsend, Wash. on June 22, 2019 at the age of 73. Everyone who knew Jean will remember her joyful smile, giving spirit, wise heart, and open mind. Her special gift of insight nurtured, helped, and healed countless people who passed through her life. She wanted everyone, especially children, to be safe in expressing their true feelings and to have every opportunity to become their fullest selves. Her influence continues through the many people she has loved, taught, inspired, and laughed with.
Jean was born on September 10, 1945 in Syracuse, New York to Rita Fay (Alletzhauser) Armagost and Donald Ecklund Armagost. She was the younger of two siblings. She was raised in Potsdam, New York and graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1967 with a degree in mathematics. After college, she began working for Xerox Corp. in Rochester, New York, where she broke gender barriers as a salesperson, business programmer, strategy planner and management science analyst. At Xerox, Jean met Jim Rough, to whom she would be married for 46 years. The couple moved to Bellevue, Wash. in 1973, where two years later Jean gave birth to their son, Dan.
The family moved to Arcata, Calif. in 1977, where Jean spent joyful years raising Dan, volunteering in his schools, and pursuing her interests in writing, art, pottery, wood carving, and other art forms. She was active with the Guild for Psychological Studies, Creative Problem Solving Institute and global-community initiatives. Jean was also a stirring pianist who taught music lessons to children.
Jean became interested in Jungian therapy and earned her master’s degree in transpersonal psychology in 1984, the year the family moved to Port Townsend, Wash. She began seeing clients, offering dream work and child therapy with sand-tray techniques. Jean focused on work with children and made them the center of her pursuits, exploring ways to encourage children to express themselves authentically and creatively. The therapy experiences she loved best were times when children found words to plainly state truths adults struggled to face.
Eventually Jean founded Bergita House, a nonprofit organization providing a creative and therapeutic environment to support children’s and families’ mental health needs, regardless of ability to pay. For over a decade, Bergita House and its team of volunteer therapists held children’s imagination and self-determination as their guide lights. “This is one place where I can be who I am,” wrote one of Bergita House’s child poets. Bergita House later became Jumping Mouse, which continues in Port Townsend today.
Jean later joined her husband, Jim, in co-founding the nonprofit organization The Center for Wise Democracy. The two taught seminars on Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council Process around the world.
Jean’s house, garden, kitchen, small town and family gave her deep joy. She loved flowers, bike rides, tasty dinners, adorable desserts, good books, and taking on home improvement projects. Eventually she opened her beautiful home to Airbnb guests, whom she loved meeting and hosting. Most of all, Jean loved spending time with her two grandchildren, Josie, 12 and Louisa, 8. Together they played, explored, discovered, read, made music, created art, visited imaginary worlds, and made deep impressions on one another’s hearts.
In time, Jean fell ill with Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Diseases. Preceded in death by her parents, Jean is survived and will be dearly missed by her husband James William Rough, her son Daniel Ecklund Rough (Bonnie Julene [Yocum] Rough), her granddaughters Josephine Julene Rough and Louisa Jean Rough, her sister Carol Ann Armagost, and many more dear friends and loving extended family members.
Please view the videos about Jean’s life at her memorial web page: www.wisedemocracy.org/jean-rough-memorial/. A memorial program followed by an afternoon potluck will be held on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 2 pm at Jean and Jim’s home: 1040 Taylor Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Cards and remembrances may be sent to the same address. One of the best ways to honor Jean would simply be to pause and listen to a child.