Born in Towanda, PA, March 6, 1944, she was the daughter of the late J. Edward and Elizabeth (Jefferson) Brenchley. Jean is survived by her brother James Brenchley (Shirley) of LeRoy Township, her niece Donna Field (Brian), and her nephews John Brenchley (Kimberly) and Michael Brenchley (Korey). Jean was predeceased by her husband Bernard Asbell.
Jean graduated from Canton High School in 1962 and received her B.S. degree in biology from Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA in 1965, after which she obtained a M.S. degree in marine microbiology from the University of California, San Diego, in 1967, followed by her Ph.D. degree in microbiology from the University of California, Davis, in 1970. She held a 1-year post-doctoral appointment in the Biology Department of MIT, Cambridge, MA, and then joined the faculty of Penn State’s Microbiology Department (University Park) in 1971 as Assistant Professor and subsequently promoted to Associate Professor. In 1977 Jean continued her teaching and research activity at the Biological Sciences Department of Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, being promoted to Professor of Biology in 1979.