Jane Adelaide Thayer

May 7 1917
Feb 22 2020
102 Years
Christiana, Pennsylvania

Jane Adelaide Fenner Thayer, 102, of Christiana, PA, passed away on Saturday, February 22, 2020 while under the care of Manor Care Nursing Home in Yardley, PA.

Jane was born on May 7, 1917, on a farm in Ludowville in the Finger Lakes area of New York. Canal boats still plied the waters of nearby Cayuga Lake, carrying salt to market via the Erie Canal. Woodrow Wilson was president, and the U.S. had just entered World War I. Three years after Jane's birth, women were able to vote in the presidential election.

Jane earned a fine arts degree from the University of Syracuse, and she remained an active painter into her 100's, recently exhibiting one of her landscape paintings. She also studied forestry and camp management and was an Outing Club member, hiking, biking, and skiing before there were lifts. Jane skied Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington, which to this day does not have a lift. She did so in shorts on the Fourth of July. It was a college fad. Tuckerman Ravine is so steep that rangers now close it to hikers in the spring, fearing fatal slips on the snow.

Jane's early employment with the equine artist George Ford Morris resulted in a Social Security card in 1937, the first year the cards were issued and the year before they were required.

Jane eventually moved from Connecticut to Vermont. She and her husband, Charles V. Thayer, were crossing the Massachussets-Vermont line on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 1941, when they heard Franklin Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech on the truck radio. In Vermont, she made maps for the Army during the Korean War, and she rode her horse to work. Once when she was riding home in evening shadows, a mountain lion leapt across the road in front of her. Jane's later employment included being a fabric cutter.

In Vermont, Jane had two sons, Charles and David. Charles recalls a visit his mother made with the two boys in tow to a family friend in Connecticut. They arrived late, and rather than wake the host, Jane pitched her World War II Army surplus mountain tent in a nearby field. After a cold night, they awoke in a frost-lined tent.

Later, in order to live near David, who had become an architect, Jane moved to St. Louis, Mo., on the day President Nixon resigned. There, she restored an old Victorian house. She moved to Christiana on Mother's Day in 1980 to live near son Charles, who was then teaching in the geology department at the University of Pennsylvania.

In her 80s, Jane worked for a local tree service, feeding branches into the chipper. Jane continued to drive well into her 90s, chauffeuring Amish carpenters and delivering Meals on Wheels to people who were often much younger than herself.

Jane's activity and artistry continues in the family. Charles runs ultramarathons on mountain trails and restores antiques. Granddaughter Heather holds a black belt in martial arts and is a fine arts painter in Bar Harbor, Maine. Locally, all three generations finished the Atglen Covered Bridge Classic 10-mile race, circa 1995. Jane, then approximately 80, took the 5K walking option.

The Christiana Borough celebrated her 100th birthday on May 7, 2017. Christiana borough officials and borough residents turned out to celebrate with her on May 6. The highlight of her celebration was a ride in a Christiana Volunteer Fire Company truck.

Jane has four grandchildren - Ursula Thayer Sexton, Heather Thayer, Donnie Thayer, and James Chubbuck - and one great-grandson, Corwin Sexton.

Memorial Services for her are being planned and will be announced as soon as possible.

Service Location: 
services to be announced at a later date.


It was a privilege to meet and know Jane. She was a customer at Longenecker Pharmacy for many years. She was definitely one of a kind. I was always struck by her fearlessness.  Her adventures and accomplishments are an inspiration to all of us.  Thank you for sharing some of her stories. 

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