SOUTH PARIS – Jane Y. Gibson of South Paris died peacefully at Stephens Memorial Hospital after a brief bout with pneumonia. She was 93.
The day before she died, Jane was preparing for Christmas, a favorite holiday. She sat in her kitchen writing cards and watching the birds outside her window. She made date nut bread with her caretaker, Linda Smith, read the New York Times on the computer, and watched the sunset. Her body was failing her, but her mind remained as keen as ever.
She was able to stay in her home until her death because of the generosity of her eldest daughter, Sarah, who lived with her in the last years of her life.
Jane was born on June 29, 1927, in West Minot, the daughter of Clifton and Edith Whittemore Young. She attended area schools and graduated from Emerson College in 1948.
On June 17, 1950, she married Edwin S. Gibson. In Jane, Ed met his intellectual match. The two shared their love of gardening, music, art, and travel for the next 63 years. They started their family In Illinois and Alaska where Ed was stationed during the Korean Conflict. They never forgot their Alaskan adventures or the friends they made there.
Returning to Maine, the couple settled in South Paris, where Jane’s life centered on raising her five children, volunteering in the community, and assisting her husband in his dental practice. Family memories are intertwined with the sharing of good books and good food, both expressions of Jane’s love of life.
Along with Ed, she was a lifelong member of the Second Congregational Church of Norway, where she served in every possible capacity. She was well-known for her luminous narration of the annual Christmas “Hanging of the Greens” and later played the handbells for performances of “Christmas in a Small Town.”
Jane was honored as Maine Mother of the Year in 1997, nominated by her close friend, Mary Lello, and sponsored by the church. The award acknowledged four decades of work to promote literacy. She taught adults to read through SAD 17 Adult Education. She was a trustee Emeritus of the Paris Public Library. A long-time member of the Browning Reading Club, she was respected for her opinions and insights. She firmly believed that reading is fundamental.
Jane knitted countless pairs of mittens for local school children and baked hundreds of pies and loaves of bread for community fundraisers. Often serving in the role of secretary, she wore out her typewriter composing newsletters and keeping minutes for the church, the Stephens Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and the PTA.
A great conversationalist, Jane had a theatrical flair, an inquisitive mind, and a generous heart. She wrote wonderful letters that reflected her curiosity and sense of humor. With the advent of computers, she mastered email to keep in touch with family and friends. Because of COVID, she was never able to hold her great-granddaughter, Gemma, born on October 6, 2020.
She was predeceased by her husband, Ed, half-brother, Glendon Young, son-in-law, Mark Otterson, and great-grandson, Oliver Young.
Surviving family members are her brother-in-law, William Gibson of West Paris, and her children and their partners: Sarah G. Otterson of South Paris, James Gibson (Sarah Hawk) of Fryeburg, Ellen Gibson (Stephen Bies) of West Paris, William E. Gibson of Twain Harte, California, and Jennifer Gibson (Andreas Smith) of Takoma Park, Maryland. She would want her AFS daughter Marie Howard of Napier, New Zealand, and her son-in-law Robert Long of Fortuna, California to be recognized. She has nine grandchildren: Karl Otterson (Tammy MacTaggart), Joanna O. Brown (Peter), Leslie G. Young (Daniel), David Gibson (Willow), Daniel Gibson (Rychel), Timothy Long, Joseph Long, Rebecca Long, and Aurelia Smith. She has five great-grandchildren: Sam Otterson, Mark Brown, Ian Brown, Will Brown, and Gemma Young. In addition, there are numerous nieces and nephews who were important to her.
The family would like to thank Linda Smith of Sumner for her care of Jane in the last two years of her life.
A celebration of Jane’s life will take place in 2021.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in her honor to the Paris Public Library,
37 Market Square,
South Paris, ME 04281
or to the Second Congregational Church of Norway,
205 Main Street,
Norway, ME 04268.