Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life well lived

You might remember in a post a few months prior, that I mentioned how I read death notices/obituaries, how I called them Life Notices.  You can read that full post by clicking here:
Life Notices

Well, today, there is just such a Life Notice.  Not only does this woman have a very interesting set of ancestors, dating back to an association with Geroge Washington, but her Life's work was so fulfilling. Here is her story, I hope you find it interesting.

WINGARD - Janet Mann Passed away on October 12, 2011. She was born on September 25, 1924 in Buffalo, NY to Dr. Baldwin Mann and Adra Ash Mann. Her father, Major Baldwin Mann, served during World War I as a field surgeon. Janet was a direct descendant of Colonel Theunis Dey, a Revolutionary War hero who was friends with and served under General George Washington during the Hudson River Highlands Campaign in 1780. Her great Aunt Annis and Uncle Sam Eastman were Congregationalist ministers for Park Church in Elmira, NY, during the time that Samuel Clemens and his family attended. Janet's mother Adra was a playmate of the Clemens' children. Her first cousins Max and Crystal Eastman served tirelessly for the cause of women's rights and for the exploited immigrant workers in the coal fields of Western Pennsylvania. Her mother Adra volunteered for many causes including supporting the Greenwich Settlement House of New York City. Janet attended Dundee High School near Glenora, NY, the family summer home on Seneca Lake, where she graduated in 1943. She then attended Rochester University where she graduated in 1947. After graduating, she went to work for Mary Kingsbury Simkovitch, founder of the famous Greenwich Settlement house. This settlement house provided room and board for immigrant artists and others who needed affordable housing while attending college or looking for work. It was here that she met George Matthew Wingard from South Carolina, a musician going to New York University and a resident of the settlement house. They began dating and soon were engaged. They married on August 2nd, 1947. They moved to Clover in the fall of 1949. Here, after her four children were born, Janet began a 25 year teaching career in 1961. In her own words in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in 1991, she describes her first impression of Clover, SC, the small town in which she would spend 62 years of her life: "My mother, infant son and I arrived in Clover on a cold rainy Halloween night in 1949 to join my husband who was already hard at work putting together Clover's first band. As we crossed the muddy Catawba over the old Buster Boyd Bridge and wound our way into Clover, my mother, a true Yankee, was thrown into despair that her youngest daughter was going to bury herself in this tiny town. She was convinced that we would soon see the light and return to the north. To her we were living in a cocoon far away from the advantages of big city life. At that time Clover had only two schools (one for blacks and one for whites). My husband's band room was a Quonset hut which doubled as a cannery. With the years came improvements, both in staff and buildings, which have contributed to making the Clover School system the great institution it is now. With reputation comes growth as more and more people move into the district and want to send their children to our schools. To my late mother, who incidentally grew to love our little town, I would say, "Mom, I never left my cocoon. It just grew to accommodate all its inhabitants". To those who say to me, "Clover is getting too big for its britches," I would say, "Then we must enlarge the britches." She wrote this letter encouraging the people of the Clover School District to approve the bonds needed to build a new auditorium. The bond referendum passed. Janet watched many of her grandchildren perform on a state of the arts stage! She and her husband Matt spent 21 years in retirement together, traveling around America and the world and enjoying their growing family. Janet was the eternal optimist, never wavering from the task at hand, pulling for all those around her to keep going, to strive to do the best that they could do and always with a cheerfulness and eagerness that was amazing. Her spirit lives on in her progeny. She was a devoted wife to her husband Matt Wingard for over sixty years. He predeceased her on November 27, 2007. In her final days, Janet's strength was resolute, her love for her family and this world undying. She is survived by her children....
Published in the Buffalo News on October 15, 2011

The notice goes on, the Buffalo News did not incude the entire notice online.

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