Mary Jane Hartzell Bates, 85, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 7, 2020 in Virginia Beach, VA just shy of her 86th birthday. Jane is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, Arthur and her 3 children: Elaine (Bates) and James Jones of Cromwell, CT, James and Claudia of Berryville, VA, and Kenneth and Mara of Chesapeake, VA along with her 3 grandchildren McKenna, Kaden and Makayda. Close family also includes her brother-in-law Albert and his wife Barbara of Chelmsford, MA.
Jane was born in Harrisburg, PA and grew up in Lancaster, PA. During high school in Lancaster, she performed as a clarinet soloist with the Knights of Malta Band, the New Holland Band, and Doris Nock and her Dreamlanders, an all-girl dance band. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1957 and was listed in the 1957 edition of “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.” While at Penn State she was a member of the Concert Blue Band, Kappa Delta Sorority, and served on Mademoiselle magazine’s College Board. She was also a charter member of Angel Flight (the Air Force ROTC Auxiliary).
Jan and Art settled in Connecticut in 1957 where she was initially employed as a Home Economist with Northeast Utilities. She obtained a teaching certificate from St. Joseph’s College and served as a substitute teacher in schools within the Farmington Valley. She subsequently worked as a Legal Assistant at Pease & Main LLC, in Simsbury, retiring in 1995.
Jane was a member of First Church of Christ Simsbury, for 31 years where she served as an Elder and was a charter member of the Choral Bells handbell choir. A life-long music enthusiast, she learned to play the organ in mid-life and played at the church’s chapel services from 1995-1996. Following retirement, she moved to Wethersfield and became a member of the Chancel and handbell choirs at Church of Christ, Congregational, Newington. She co-directed the handbell choir for one year and served on the Music Board for six years. She continued to study classical organ and substituted at the church’s Moller organ on several occasions. She was a past president of both the Naval Academy Parents’ Club of Connecticut and the Connecticut Valley Theatre Organ Society. She served as Concert Chairman for the latter group for ten years and also as chapter correspondent for the society’s Theatre Organ magazine. She was also passionate about environmental issues and active in several environmental groups.
Moving to Chesapeake, VA in 2007 to be closer to her beloved grandchildren, Jane joined Great Bridge Presbyterian Church and played handbells with the Alleluia Ringers.
Jane and her husband Art enjoyed traveling and visited many states and National parks in the U.S. Their foreign travel included tours of Scotland, Wales, and England, Germany, Vienna & Switzerland, Ireland & Northern Ireland, Israel, Bermuda, Hawai’i, and a river cruise in Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg. They also visited Alaska, the Yukon Territory, the Canadian Rockies, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Campobello Island.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, August 13th from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. A graveside service will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, August 14th at the Simsbury Cemetery, 16 Plank Hill Road in Simsbury.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Connecticut Humane Society, or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.