60-Year Beach Resident Passes


Jean Gottlieb – a native of Chicago and 60-year seasonal Fort Myers Beach resident – has died at the age of 100. Gottlieb was historian and researcher; polio survivor, fisherwoman, memoirist; mother of six, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Jean wed Harry Gottlieb, then an officer candidate in the U.S. Signal Corps, in May 1942. They remained married for 73 years, until Harry passed away in 2015. She earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Chicago, working thereafter as a bookbinder, researcher, bibliographer, and writer.

The Gottliebs bought a beach cottage on Fort Myers Beach, Florida, in 1955. The cottage and the beach were a beloved second home for the family for the next 60 years, and for 15 years a retirement home for Jean and Harry. Jean served as a Board member of the FMB Public Library and the Estero Island Historic Society.

A funeral service and burial at the Gottlieb family plot in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago took place on February 14th. Jean leaves six children: Annie, Sara, Martha, Janet (Fort Myers Beach), Alan, and David; 12 grandchildren, and a growing legacy of great-grandchildren.

The family welcomes donations in Jean Gottlieb’s memory to the Estero Island Historic Society.


  1. What a legend! May she rest peacefully knowing she made Fort Myers Beach a better place. My thoughts are with all of her family and friends..

  2. Such a great lady and family who absolutely loved FMB. My mother Carol Johnston served on the library board with Jean and got to know her well and admired her love of the beach and the library.


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