Born on March 3, 1936 in Newtonville, Massachusetts, she was the only daughter of Beryl (Williams) and John Bradford Perkins.
After graduating from House in the Pines, she attended Sarah Lawrence College where she earned honors in Psychology and Drama.
In 1960, she married Hugh Simmers, with whom she had two children. In 1979, she married R. Thomas Sour. He died in 1990.
She started an interior design firm, Jean P. Simmers Ltd., in 1970, operating out of a spare bedroom in her home on Windcrest Road in Rye. She soon established herself as one of the top designers and went on to enjoy many creative and lucrative years working alongside talented craftsmen, antique dealers, and artisans who became friends. They often shared their common interests at crowded dinner tables where conversations flowed.
Her working knowledge of antiques, especially English antiques, was impressive.
Among the many accomplishments she was proud of was renovating a small church on Maple Avenue in Rye in 1985 and moving her business out of her home and into retail space in downtown Rye.
An avid traveler, she considered herself lucky to have seen much of the world. She had a lifelong passion for Cape Cod and the sea. She owned three separate houses on the Cape at various times. She opened her homes to a vast collection of friends whom she considered family for celebrations of all kinds.
An active member of the Rye community, she served as a governor of Manursing Island Club and as a board member of the Rye Free Reading Room. She was also a member of The Rye Garden Club.
A lover of animals, she always had a dog by her side. In her younger days she rode horses competitively, including in the “Hunter Jumper” division at Madison Square Garden.
She will long be remembered for her daring humor, love of life, quick wit, and magnanimous and contagious laugh.
Jean Simmers Sour is survived by her daughter, Hillary (Philip) Kennedy, her stepson Robert (Angela) Sour; and her three granddaughters, Eliza, Schuyler, and Anna-Thayer, who were the light of her life. She shared her vast knowledge of the world with them and celebrated their accomplishments. She was predeceased by her son, Hugh Simmers IV.
A memorial service will be held this fall at Rye Presbyterian Church.
Donations in her memory may be made to The American Lung Association.