Jane G. Anderson
May 30, 1926 – January 29, 2020
Jane G. Anderson was first and foremost a teacher. She was also a devoted wife, a cherished mother and grandmother, and a gifted musician, but she was a teacher longer than those other roles. She started teaching as soon as she graduated from college in 1946 and didn’t retire until June 2019 – shortly after her 93rd birthday.
Anderson, of Boca Raton, died on Jan. 29 at the Trustbridge Hospice at Delray Medical Center, of complications of a stroke that she suffered a month earlier.
Jane Hannah Geschke was born on May 30, 1926, in Collingswood, N.J., to Edward Geschke Jr. and Edna Amelia Geschke. Her father was in the lumber business, and her mother was a housewife.
After graduating from the New Jersey State Teachers College (now The College of New Jersey), her first job was as a circuit-riding music teacher, carrying a violin and other instruments from school to school.
She married Oliver Perry “Andy” Anderson Jr., her sweetheart from Collingswood High School, upon his discharge from the Marines in 1947. They had three sons, Blair, Paul, and Mark. She was predeceased by her husband, who died in 1993, and Blair, who died in 2015.
Andy’s career as an insurance broker took the family to South Jersey, where Jane taught private music lessons and did substitute teaching while also volunteering with the Northfield public library and Epiphany Lutheran Church in Pleasantville. She was active in the Lady Lions as Andy rose to be a district governor for the Lions Club. And they co-founded a camping chapter called the Jersey Devils that grew to dozens of families.
Following a family vacation in South Florida, Andy decided to take over an insurance agency in Boca Raton in 1970, and the family joined St. Paul Lutheran Church. It truly became Jane’s second home.
She became St. Paul Lutheran School’s first first-grade teacher in 1971 when the church decided to expand its popular preschool program to a full grade school. She continued in that role for 18 years, during which she earned a master’s degree in reading from Florida Atlantic University to better serve her students. With Blair’s wife Judy, she also got involved in a FAU program that taught English as a second language.
When she retired from fulltime teaching, she became a part-time educational consultant on St. Paul’s staff, tutoring students, administering standardized tests, developing curricula for reading and math, and mentoring younger teachers.
She also served the church in other ways, including leading Bible studies and directing the youth bell choir, The Joyful Noise, for many years. She was often called upon to serve on committees for the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, including the school accreditation committee, which widened her circle of friends throughout the Southeast.
Her dedication to Christian education was recognized with many awards and honors, none more treasured than having the 2018-19 St. Paul School yearbook dedicated to her upon her retirement. The inscription reads, in part: “Of all the educators who have given time, energy and love to St. Paul, Jane Anderson stands out above all others! She is a true pioneer and the epitome of dedication. … Upon retirement, we want to give her a big community hug and an acknowledgement that St. Paul is what it is, in large extent, to Jane! We love you and pray for continued blessings!”
Jane and family decided last year to create a Jane G. Anderson Teacher of the Year Award at St. Paul to promote excellence in teaching and church participation. The recipient will receive a $1,000 bonus in recognition of the high standards Jane set for many years.
She is survived by two sons, their spouses and four grandchildren – Paul Anderson and Janet Fix, Tate and Emma, of Bethesda, Maryland; and Mark and Susan Anderson, Elyse and Chase, of Boca Raton – as well as by her beloved colleagues and former students at St. Paul.
A celebration of Jane’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1., at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 701 E. Palmetto Park Road. In lieu of flowers, Jane requested donations to the St. Paul Lutheran School Scholarship Fund.
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