Jane L. Biddle
Newark –Jane L. Biddle, a long-time English teacher at Newark High School and Wayne County political activist, died at home on Sunday (March 14, 2010). Jane was a loyal volunteer and public servant who was as dedicated to the community as she was to her students. Friends may call from 4 -7 on Sunday (March 28th) at the Paul L. Murphy & Sons Funeral Home, 127 East Miller St., Newark. A celebration of her life will be held at the Park Presbyterian Church, 110 Maple Court, Newark, at 11 AM on Monday (March 29th). Burial services will be private.
In lieu of flowers donations are encourage to the Humane Society of Wayne County, 1475 County House Road, Lyons, New York 14489.
While Newark residents knew Jane as a determined advocate and educator, they most likely did not know where that can-do spirit came from. Born in Albany and raised in Jordan, Jane Lammert moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, when friends suggested she go to school at the University of Michigan. She arrived on campus having never applied to the college, and with just $10 in her pocket; she left Ann Arbor having put herself through school to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. It was in Ann Arbor where she met and married the love of her love, the late Thomas W. Biddle; together they shared more than a half-century love affair and a passion for both their alma mater and adopted home town of Newark.
After teaching in Ann Arbor while her husband finished his law degree, Jane spent four years at John Marshall High School in Rochester before joining the faculty at Newark Junior High School in 1957. She took a hiatus from teaching after the birth of her daughter Susan—forever nicknamed “Muffie” by her mother – but returned to Newark High School in 1974 and taught for 17 more years, sharing her love of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Shakespeare with a generation of students. Upon her retirement, the Newark Chamber of Commerce made her its “Citizen of the Year in Education”.
Throughout her years at the school, Jane was active in the community and in politics. She served as a committeewoman on the New York State Republican Community for more than 20 years and, in 1976, served as a delegate at the Republican National Convention, a role that took her to the White House during President Gerald R. Ford’s administration. She was a long-time member of the Wayne County Republican Committee and served as the group’s vice-chairman for a four year stretch during the 1970s. For many years, she also served as advisor to the Wayne County Teenage Republicans.
Away from politics, Jane pursued her other loves, notably music, reading and animals. Among her many affiliations, Biddle served as chairman of the membership and concert committee for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, served as president of the Newark Library Board and as chairman of the Wayne County Library Board. She was instrumental in starting the Humane Society of Wayne County, serving on the board of directors and co-chairing with her husband the Capital Campaign that raised $140,000 toward establishment of that group’s animal shelter.
After retiring from the school system, Biddle took on new roles, not the least of which was becoming a doting grandmother. She also did extensive work with teenagers as an English tutor, served on the board of directors for the Victims Resource Center in Newark and worked as a volunteer at the Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. The hospital auxiliary named her “Auxilian of the Year” in 1995. She also joined her husband as a member of the Newark Lions Club.
Like her husband—who served five terms as justice of the Village of Newark and who later served on the New York State Board of Parole—Jane preferred to take on hard-working, determined roles, leading by example and hard work more that title or position. She enjoyed being called on by the groups she was involved with when they needed someone to spearhead a fund-raiser or get a project done and she was well known in Wayne County for being unafraid to ask anyone for any help or assistance necessary to get the job done. Going back to the strength that got her through her Michigan days, Jane was never afraid of big challenges, daunting tasks and overwhelming odds; it was a spirit she tried to impart to her students and to those who worked or volunteered with her.
Jane stepped back mostly from public life after her husband suffered a debilitating stroke in 2003, caring for him until his death in 2008.
Survivors include her daughter Susan Biddle Jaffe and son-in-law Charles Jaffe, granddaughters Thomson Elizabeth Biddle Jaffe and Whitney Rose Biddle Jaffe, as well as several beloved nieces and nephews and the loving caregivers who helped make her last two years more comfortable and pleasant. Jane was predeceased by her parents
Henry and Elsie Arthur Lammert, two sisters Mary Roberge and Elsie Brown.
Remembrances may be sent to www.murphyandsonsfuneralhome.com