Jean Atkins Posey, 87, introduced AA to inmates

Jean Atkins Posey, who introduced the Alcoholics Anonymous program to inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup in the 1950s, died Friday from complications of a broken hip at Edgewater Haven Nursing Home in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. She was 87.

Mrs. Posey was born Jean Atkins in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. She had a congenital double club foot, which was corrected when she was an infant by surgeons at a Boston hospital in what her daughter, Anne Butler of Logan, Utah, said was the first such operation in the United States.


Mrs. Posey moved to Baltimore in 1932, where she volunteered at Johns Hopkins Hospital during World War II. She later worked at an area law firm before serving for 13 years as an office manager and personal secretary for U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey. She retired in 1982.

Mrs. Posey was active in Baltimore theater, performing with the Vagabond Players.


In 1947, Mrs. Posey was among the first women to join Alcoholics Anonymous in Baltimore and later served on the Baltimore Central Council of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1970s.

"She was following the principles of the AA program to reach out to other alcoholics and also [trying] to keep the public more educated as to the nature of alcoholism as a disease," Mrs. Butler said.

In 1962, Mrs. Posey married Baltimore attorney C. Rowland Posey, who died in 1970. Her previous marriages ended in divorce.

In 1989, Mrs. Posey moved to Utah to be near family, and moved to Wisconsin in 1996.

A memorial service will be scheduled in the Baltimore area.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Posey is survived by another daughter, Barbara O. Britz of Madison, Wis.; a son, Edward E. Oligney of Wisconsin Rapids; a sister, Ruth Atkins Christmas-Merritt of Peekskill, N.Y.; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.