Juliette Clarke Kimberly Eastman died peacefully in her sleep on April 2, 2020. She lived 97 years full of gusto, resilience, humor, and grace.
Born January 30, 1923, in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Ruth Case and Clarke Oler Kimberly, she grew up in Manhattan and Rye. Julie, as she was called, attended Rye Country Day, Dalton, and Baldwin schools before graduating from Finch Junior College.
She began her career as an executive assistant in Manhattan at Ladies Home Journal, one of the premier women’s publications of the day. Following her marriage to John Merritt Eastman, an advertising executive, at Manhattan’s Church of the Heavenly Rest on December 11,1954, they moved back to Rye’s Milton Road to raise their three children. She and her family remained committed members of the Rye community for the 63 years until her passing.
Manursing Island Club was the center of Mrs. Eastman’s life for decades. She loved to play tennis and played well into her 80s. A talented photographer, she delighted in her Brownie and Kodak Instamatic cameras, and enjoyed sharing her photos of beach and tennis activities.
She was a longtime member of the Rye Twig and an active member of Christ’s Church, serving as a Sunday School teacher and member of the Altar Guild. She also enjoyed many hours out in her garden.
In addition to the countless hours she spent supporting her three children through all their school activities as a volunteer at Midland Elementary and Rye High schools, she earned her real estate sales license and worked in retail sales.
When her husband John predeceased her in 2000, she relished her many Rye friendships until she moved into The Osborn, where she flourished. She nurtured a passion she had long since abandoned — her art — and spent many joyous hours in the Art Studio. Her vivid colored pencil drawings were displayed in numerous shows at the Rye Free Reading Room and at The Osborn, and garnered acclaim. Ever humble, she giggled when her many enthusiasts offered bids to purchase her work.
Her commitment to reinvent herself and to adjust to the vast amount of change that took place over the span of her life remains an inspiration to all, said her family. Her stories included colorful tales of New York City in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, her acquaintance with Truman Capote, evenings at the Stork Club, and the euphoria in Times Square the day World War II finally ended.
She was fond of saying, “I am a late bloomer,” and it was so very true. She was just getting started.
Had it not been for the coronavirus, Mrs. Eastman was well on her way to reaching the age of 100, a goal she was determined to reach.
She leaves behind her three devoted children: Sarah Merritt Eastman (Kevin) of Manhattan and La Jolla, Calif.; Clarke Kimberly Eastman of Rochester, N.Y.; and Mary (Polly) vanLiew Eastman Scott (Jim) of Colorado; and twelve grandchildren. Her sister, Mary, predeceased her.
The Eastman family wishes to thank Christ’s Church, Rye and The Osborn for their unwavering love and support. They ask that donations be made to Christ’s Church where, once public gatherings are again permitted, a service will be held to celebrate her life and the Rye community that meant so much to her and to the entire family.