Jane Isabelle (Wagner) O'Connor peacefully passed away on Friday, October 29, 2021 in New Providence, New Jersey.
Jane was born on July 5, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York to Arthur and Muriel (Knerr) Wagner. A lifelong devout Catholic, Jane was educated at Our Lady of Wisdom Academy and St. Thomas the Apostle High School in New York. Following her graduation, Jane attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, eventually taking a job at Seventeen magazine as an Associate Home Furnishings Editor. Jane always spoke glowingly of her time at Seventeen; New York City in the 1950's was a magical place and time in her life.
In 1955 she and James married and soon thereafter moved to Malverne, New York. In 1968, Jane and her family moved to Westfield, New Jersey. While living in Westfield, Jane was a member of Holy Trinity, Our Lady of Lourdes, and, finally, St. Helen's. Among her many volunteer activities, she was especially dedicated to the Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and the Westfield Service League. In 2006 she and James moved to Naples, Florida where they were members of St. William's. While in Naples she and James volunteered their time teaching immigrant children to read English.
Jane had a quick wit, a generous spirit, and a loving heart. She was deeply devoted to her husband, children, and grandchildren. She loved to watch old movies, a habit she developed as a child spending countless summer days in darkened movie theatres. She was an avid antique collector, a hobby she turned into a business when she opened and operated a store on Elm Street in Westfield. She also loved shopping, which she considered a competitive, and sometimes contact, sport.
Jane's belief in God was central to her life. She had a special dedication to the Blessed Mother; in retirement she and James visited several Marian shrines around the world. Each visit informed and deepened her faith and devotion to the Lord.
Jane is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, James, and by her three children and their spouses: Deborah (Robert) Bennett of Parker, Colorado, David (Kathryn) O'Connor of Wilmington, Delaware, and Daniel (Kathleen) O'Connor of Pennington, New Jersey. She is also survived by her grandchildren (to whom she was affectionately known as Jannie) Madeline, Muriel, John, James, and William, her sister-in-law Eileen (Robert) Engel, her nieces Stephanie (John Murchek) Smith, Jennifer (Robert) Sidie, and Joanne (Bruce) Morgan, and her nephews Anthony Smith, Mitch (Kelly) Engel, and James (Doreen) Engel. She was predeceased by her parents, Arthur and Muriel, her dear sister Carol Smith, and her granddaughter Isabel O'Connor.
Jane's family would like to extend their deep appreciation to the staff at Lantern Hill in New Providence, New Jersey, and to Tasha Ablorah, her caretaker, both of whom provided compassionate care to Jane during her final days.
Jane's funeral Mass and burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Operation TBI Freedom (https://craighospital.org/foundation/donate-to-operation-tbi-freedom).
Arrangements by Gray Funeral Home, Westfield. Please go to: www.grayfuneralhomes.com to offer condolences.
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