Grace A. Jahn (nee Rutan), a lifelong resident of Mineola and former Town Historian, died on April 12, 2006 after a long illness. She was 78.
Grace A. Jahn
Grace Alice Rutan was born to Thomas and Alice Rutan on September 14, 1927, the youngest of their three girls. She grew up on Searing Avenue in the same house that she and her husband Frank C. Jahn eventually raised their children in. She would recall how the entire area had been farmland in her youth and gradually developed around them.
She was known for her intelligence, spirit, and wit (not to mention her fiery red hair). A product of the Mineola Public Schools, she was Mineola High School's Salutatorian for the class of 1945 and looked on proudly 60 years later when her granddaughter, Madeline Leno, graduated from the same school as the Salutatorian for the Class of 2005.
Grace discovered 4-H clubs and attended the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp in Riverhead, where she later became a counselor and a lifeguard during the war years. She would talk about the blackout rules which forbid even a flashlight in the dark woods at night. Her children and some of her grandchildren attended and worked at the camp, some to this day. Three of her children met their spouses at the camp. Her camping experience led to a long devotion to 4-H volunteer work which included numerous years as a club leader for youths and teens and an eight year stint on the Nassau County Executive Board. She was elected chairperson of the 4-H Leadership Federation as well. Grace's guidance helped produce several 4-H National Scholarship Awards for local teens.
An avid volunteer, she contributed greatly of her time and spirit to other causes; she was a Cub Scout leader for many years, a member of the Mineola Historical Society, and held several offices in the local Homemaker's Club. She took civic pride in her hometown. She was a longtime election poll worker and took an active interest in town politics. She was appointed Town Historian in the 1990's and served her term admirably.
She met Frank Jahn, a World War II veteran, after the war and they married in 1948. Over the next 15 years they contributed valiantly to the national baby boom by having 10 children of their own, three girls and seven boys. Both were active volunteers in their schools and sports, chief among them Little League. She was a recipient of the National Lifetime PTA Member Award. When the 10th child graduated from Hampton Street Elementary School the family was given a plaque and the principal noted that he had long ago caught on that she sent the same baby picture in each year for the yearbook's "Guess who this is" feature.
She was a wonderful and thoughtful friend to many, never missing a birthday or holiday card (major and minor), always knowing the right little gift to pick someone's spirits up. On her first day of kindergarten she took the hand of a tearful girl named Flossie and comforted her. Seventy-four years later her best friend Florence Klemm returned the favor on Grace's sick bed. Grace showered her 26 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with gifts, tokens, and candy not only at Christmas, Easter, and birthdays, but also on Halloween and Valentine's Day.
She took great pride in the many accomplishments of her children, who have achieved much success in business and education fields alike. Predeceased by Frank, she is survived by Timothy (Donna), Rosemary Duers, Frank (Karen), Chris (Eileen), Mary Alice (Marc) Leno, Thomas, Peter, Marjorie (Mike) Buttgereit, Robert (Kristina), and Richard (Pamela). She is also survived by her sisters Marjorie Gerstner and Marian Hasemann.
Arrangements were made by the Cassidy Funeral Home, Mineola.