Recital Honors Slain Dance Teacher

More than 100 dancers paid tribute to Jean Eskridge, 94, who was murdered in her home on May 1

A special dance recital on Saturday honored the memory of a beloved retired dance teacher who was murdered last month.

Jean Eskridge, 94, was bludgeoned to death by alleged suspect Gary Thomas, 63, in her mobile home in Ramona on May 1.

Eskridge owned Jean’s Dance Studio on Via Orange Way in Spring Valley.

Even at age 94, friends said Eskridge loved to dance, especially at community dances in her neighborhood.

On Saturday Eskridge’s daughter, Suzanne Mollenhauer, helped organize a special dance recital at La Presa Middle School on Leland Street as a tribute to her mother.

“[She] was the most upbeat, positive person you’ve ever met in your life,” Mollenhauer said of her mother. “She danced in every recital that’s ever been put on.”

The recital was held from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 1001 Leland Street in Spring Valley and featured performances by approximately 115 dance students from Jean’s Dance Studio.

A family friend told NBC 7 San Diego the recital would highlight various forms of dance including jazz, tap, ballroom and lyrical.

A very special dance performance even included Eskridge’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren paying tribute to her.

A memorial fund has been set up in Eskridge’s name to the Ramona Senior Center on 434 Aqua Lane, as that is the place where Eskridge enjoyed dancing with friends in her later years. Donation details can found on the Jean’s Dance Studio website. 

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