Jean Hungerford Krull

Jean Hungerford Krull

ALTAMONT — Jean Hungerford Krull died peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, at home surrounded by family, as she wished. She celebrated her 100th birthday in May.

“A woman of many talents, she was a bright, creative and giving spirit,” her family wrote in a tribute. “A World War II Navy veteran, a businesswoman, the consummate homemaker and seamstress, and a lover of music, books, gardening and baseball. Her greatest joy was her family and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“The daughter of Isaac and Alma Stevens Hungerford, Jean was born in Troy, New York in 1923. At age 5, the family moved to Altamont, New York, where she spent her childhood with her three sisters in an historic farmhouse on the edge of town. Jean attended Altamont High School, starting first grade when just 5, graduating in 1940 at 17. She had wonderful stories of growing up in Altamont.

“It was during these years that she learned to love baseball from her father, sewed her own clothes, and developed a love for music through singing in the church choir and learning to play the piano, French horn, and later, the bugle. Her father also instilled in her a love for gardening, as he was known for his beautiful roses.

“Her first job right out of high school was as a secretary for several insurance agents, traveling to downtown Albany by bus each day. She later worked at the Army Depot in Guilderland Center where she was responsible for keeping records of equipment and supplies transported by train to and from the Depot during World War II.

“In 1945, she enlisted in the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) and attended ‘Boot Camp’ at Hunter College in New York City, where she was a member of both the WAVES Singing Platoon and the Drum and Bugle Corps.

“On the night President Roosevelt died, the Singing Platoon was marched through New York City to perform on the Ray Charles singers radio show, performing some of FDR’s favorite hymns on a nationwide broadcast. The Platoon also sang on the Perry Como radio show, and it was during one of these performances that she met Eleanor Roosevelt in the elevator.

“She was assigned to the Navy base in Atlanta, Georgia where she was one of the first women to teach Navy pilots using a Link Trainer flight simulator, and was later transferred to Corpus Christi, Texas. She remembered fondly going on leave to New Orleans, when she had to be accompanied by a male serviceman, as was the custom of the day. She wrote that her year in the Navy was one of the happiest years of her life.

“After the war ended, Jean returned to Altamont and worked for a New York state office in Albany, before marrying Norman Wilson, also of Altamont. They moved to Buffalo, where she raised her five children.

“During her years as a homemaker, she pursued her many interests and talents in gardening, sewing, music, needlework, and especially pursued her love of reading, crossword puzzles, and her beloved New York Mets. She sewed almost all of her children’s clothes throughout the years, including prom and wedding dresses, and was always known for her sense of style, needlepoint, cross-stitch, and knitting creations.

“In 1957, she married Robert Krull, her husband of 30 years, who managed his own Nationwide Insurance office. Her home was always filled with music, from recordings of all her favorite Broadway musicals, to regularly playing the piano and singing with her children.

“Always well-read and knowledgeable of current events, Jean read the entire newspaper daily and was known to devour several historical fiction books a week. Just recently, she stayed up till dawn to finish a particularly engaging novel because she just ‘had to see how it ended.’ She was also a New York Times crossword puzzle aficionado, in ink, right up to her last days.

“With a natural business acumen, she often helped her husband in the office and, when he suffered a heart attack and was unable to work, she single-handedly managed his insurance office for an entire year.

“Upon retirement, she and Robert moved to Florida to be near her parents and, after his death, she returned to her hometown of Altamont in 1999 to be with her daughters. She expressed many times throughout her life that Altamont and the Helderberg hills were always considered her home.

“For over 20 years, she was known as ‘Nana’ to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and one of her greatest joys as a grandmother was making special treats for the many children in her life, from sweaters, to stuffed animals, to Christmas ornaments — all keepsakes to this day.

“Jean will be remembered by so many whose lives she touched. Her unassuming strength was an inspiration to all, and her love will live on in so many hearts.”


Jean Hungerford Krull is survived by her sister, Barbara Leahy, of Brandon, Florida and three of her five children: Kirby Wilson of Altamont; Kristin Wilson Casey and her husband, Robert, of Altamont; and, Katy Krull Gibbs, of Altamont.

Her husband, Robert, died before her as did her son, Norman Wilson III; her daughter Kimberly Ann Wilson; her grandson Jay Keefer; and her sisters, Marcia Perlee and Margaret Ackley.

She is also survived by five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren: Jenny Wilson Pape of Corning and her children Alexander, Mikhaul, Dylan, and Hunter; Norman Wilson IV and his partner, Heather, of San Antonio, Texas and their children, Sophia and Norman V; Adam Wilson and his wife, Sarah, of San Antonio, Texas and their children, Gavin, Logan, and Alexis; Austin Gibbs and his fiancée Bianca, of Oklahoma City; and Kelsey Gibbs, of Schenectady. 

She is survived, too, by many nieces and nephews, and many Casey and Collins family members.

A special thank-you goes to the members of The Community Hospice who gave such exceptional care to Jean, and comfort to her family.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10,  at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 140 Maple Ave, Altamont, NY 12009.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Community Hospice, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205.

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