Jean Eckenfels was born on June 7, 1933 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Eckenfels was the youngest of the three children of Walter B. and Blanche Cooley Ratliff. Her father died in 1937 and her mother moved the family to Norman Oklahoma to live with her Great Grand Mother.
She attended High School in Norman and later the University of Oklahoma where she majored in journalism.
She worked for the University of Oklahoma Press and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Jean married Ed Eckenfels a student at the University of Chicago who after earning his PhD joined the faculty of Rush Medical School.
She was an editor for the University of Chicago Press for many years and retired as the senior editor. Jean assisted many authors with their research as well as their writing skills. Her brilliant mind was reflected in the works she edited. Her curiosity and love of research made her sought after by the best authors. She developed a great love for architecture and became an authority on the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Over the years she tracked down almost every Wright creation in the greater Chicago area. Moreover, she knew the history of the buildings and worked tirelessly to preserve them for future generations. Jean traveled throughout the country to visit important Wright buildings both private and commercial. She had an intense love for kittens and always had a home for any stray or abandoned cat. She was one of the most loving and beloved people that I have ever known. Her kindness knew no bounds and she was always there to assist anyone in need.
Her family, friends, and anyone who was fortunate enough to know and to share her company will miss her.