Jean Lange

1913 – 2010

Putnam – Mrs. Jean (Black) Lange, 96, of Thurber Rd, formerly of Chappaqua and Goldens Bridge, N.Y., died Monday, November 15, 2010 in Matulaitis Nursing Home.  Born in Brooklyn, NY, December 8, 1913, she was the daughter of the late Edward and Annie (Stryker) Black.  Mrs. Lange was the wife of the late Bertram J. Lange, advertising executive and art dealer of Mt. Kisco, NY and Boothbay Harbor, Maine. 

Jean was a lady of classic mold, but an educated, modern woman too.  She was a mother of love and gentleness, who marshaled broad experience and education, mixed with fortitude and good sense to the service of her family.  Jean was quietly elegant and ever gracious.  Always well dressed (with a scarf to complement every outfit), she never raised her voice, was patient and kind to even the youngest family members, threw wonderful parties, and was thoughtful and charming to all.  She will be greatly missed.  

Her childhood was well ordered but far from ordinary.  She was two when her family, in the service of the Methodist Church, decamped from Brooklyn, NY to Fuzhou, China, where her father, a civil engineer, had responsibility for the care of church property.  He also taught engineering at Fuzhou University where Jean’s mother Annie taught English.  Returning from China in 1920, the family moved to Mechanicsburg, PA.  Jean was very active in girl scouting in its early years and also in activities of the Daughters of the American Revolution.   

Jean graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania with a pre-med degree and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.  She was working in Harrisburg, PA for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) when she met her husband, Bert Lange.  She moved to Washington D.C. where they were married at the National Cathedral on March 4, 1939.  

During WWII, while her husband served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Europe, she lived with her children at her parents’ home in New Cumberland, PA.  

Following the war, Jean and Bert lived in White Plains, NY, Barrington, Rhode Island, and Roslyn, NY.  The family eventually settled in Chappaqua, NY in 1954.  Jean worked as a medical secretary while helping her husband build the Pinchpenny Gallery art business, establishing galleries in Mt. Kisco, NY and Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  Together, they built a house on the Maine coast.  Jean especially loved the house in Maine, and the two spent each summer there until Bert’s death in 1991.  

Jean had a lovely singing voice, and was a skilled piano player with an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and sacred music.  She was an avid gardener and a serious collector of American antiques, with a special love for early American architecture.  She was interested in genealogy and the many branches of her family.  One of her great pleasures was to share family lore, from the early 19th century Hatfield Ironworks on the Brandywine Creek that manufactured steel beams used in the dome of the U.S. capitol building, to ancestors who fought at the Battle of Hastings. 

Jean was a wonderful wife and mother who provided constant encouragement to those around her, finding the good in most any situation. She had no time for petty grievances and would not speak of negative or hurtful things.  Her favorite scripture verse was Phillipians 4:8.   

Mrs. Lange leaves her daughter, Patricia Flemma and her husband, John Borise, of Norwalk, CT; her son, Peter Lange and his wife, Donna of Thompson, CT; 11 grandchildren, one pre-deceased; and 15 great-grandchildren. 

A graveside service will be held at Alexandria Presbyterian Cemetery in Alexandria, PA on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm.  Gilman Funeral Home has been entrusted with her arrangements.  For memorial guestbook, visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.

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  1. Dick and Nell Knight

    We loved both Bert and Jean. Bert, for his outrageous style and Jean, of course, for her grace and kindness. She was truly a lovely lady and will be missed by many. To Pete and Trish and all the children, we are so sorry for your loss. But be comforted by knowing that your mother touched so many lives.

    Nell and Dick

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