HUDSON: Jean V. Beddow-Arnth, age 96, of Hudson, passed peacefully on September 27, 2021 at her home, surrounded by the love of her family of friends.
Born in Balham, England on October 31, 1924, she was the daughter of the late Joseph W. Beddow-Arnth and Rosalind V. (Honnibell). She attended senior school until WW II broke out, she was briefly evacuated to Bristol and then later returned to London. Throughout her childhood, she was privately tutored while she pursued a career as a professional ballet dancer.
She performed in a series of variety shows as a member of the Tropical Express and Cavalcade, while traveling throughout the United Kingdom. During the war she also performed for the troops in Germany. The highlight of her young career, though, was performing for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the London Palladium in 1947 with an acrobatic act troupe called the Wallabes. She briefly joined the Harringay Circus in London before touring the United States with the Cole Brothers Circus in 1948.
Ms. Beddow-Arnth returned to the United States in 1953 where she settled in Hudson, opened Jean’s School of Dance, and began a storied teaching career in both dance and gymnastics. Her annual, end of the year dance recitals were well received, as she combined the artistry of dance, acrobats, and trampoline with a show business flare. Students today still fondly recall the character parts they played while performing in child themed productions ranging from Disney to Broadway musicals. Such magical themes and enchanting sets left every child destined to be a princess or prince. She opened Jean’s School of Gymnastics, Inc., with former student and business partner, Linda LeSage in Hudson in 1973 and relocated it to Marlboro in 1986. Her career spanned 56 years before she retired in 2009 with the sale of Jean’s School of Gymnastics. Today the school continues to bear her name and serves hundreds of students in Marlboro, Hudson, and the surrounding communities. Her greatest pleasure was to see the next generation carry forth the legacy of a dream realized. The many lives she touched brought her endless joy and gratification.
In addition to her passion for teaching, Ms. Beddow-Arnth loved traveling the seven continents of the world; her favorites were to Africa on sightseeing safaris and to the South Pacific. In spring 2011 she made a “farewell visit” to her beloved England and was given a surprise “welcome back” recognition at the theatres she had performed in: the London Palladium and the Royal Opera House. In addition to travel, she enjoyed skiing, which she did until age 87, snorkeling, gardening, theatre, and reading. Her greatest pleasure and pastime was bird watching.
She was a former member of the dance association, NAADA, and gymnastics association, USAG. She received the U.S Gymnastics Association State Service Award in 2003.
Ms. Beddow-Arnth is survived by her niece, Jackie Schiff-Hunt of Georgetown, TX, and nephew, Peter Hunt of Norton, MA. She also leaves her dear, lifelong friends, Linda LeSage and Harold (Chuck) LeSage of Hudson. In addition, she leaves an extended “family of friends.” She was the sister of Joyce Cauldwell who died in 2006.
A “Celebration of Life” service will be held Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 11:00 A.M., at the Tighe-Hamilton Regional Funeral Home, 50 Central Street, Hudson, MA 01749. Friends and relatives are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours at the funeral home will be on Friday, October 1, 2021 from 4:00-7:00 P.M. Following cremation Jean’s request was her burial be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the “Miss Jean” Performing Arts and Athletics Scholarship of Hudson High School at Avidia Bank, 42 Main Street, Hudson, MA 01749,
For online condolences and view complete life story visit www.tighehamilton.com.