1954 – 2014
LEWISTON — Jane Virginia Souza Dingman, 60, died on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, after a brief illness complicated by severe chronic illnesses that she had battled for over two decades.
Her family remembers her as a generous, selfless, hardworking, fiercely determined woman who made her life’s work the raising of her five children, teaching any and all she could, and caring for her fellow creatures of all species.
She was born on April 29, 1954, in North Hollywood, Calif., to Virginia Perry of Auburn, and Arnold Souza of Somerset, Mass. She spent most of her childhood in Greene, attended Leavitt High School in Turner, where she met her future husband, and received her B.A. from Colby College in Waterville in 1976. During and after college, she worked as the first female truck driving mail carrier in the Rockland post office, before securing a teaching position at Tripp Middle School in Turner.
She married Charles Dingman of Turner in 1978, and in the fall of 1979 they moved into the house on River Road in West Leeds, where she lived for the rest of her days. She left full-time teaching to focus on her growing family, eventually numbering five children, Andrew, Amanda (“Amy”), Eben, Emily and Susannah.
Jane was an active participant in her community, including the Leeds food co-op and the Leeds Community Nursery School in their days, and the Leeds Community Church. She served on the Session at one time, but her passion was the work of the Deacons in serving the poor, and especially the operation and organization of its Clothing Center. She was the moving force behind assuring that girls of all ages had the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts, from kindergarten through high school, recruiting leaders and serving as one herself. She organized and managed Girl Scout cookie distribution and carried out other Kennebec Girl Scout Council responsibilities. She also served as a Cub Scout Den mother. Jane loved the natural world, was passionate about its preservation and the importance of responsible environmental stewardship.
She loved her cats, and watched birds avidly, a keen observer of their behavior. She sought to waste nothing and reuse items whenever she could. She was creative in designing and making clothing, knitted and crocheted articles, and many improvised ways of accomplishing tasks or creating decorative objects. She was always busy, and a fierce advocate for her children and for all the wild and domestic creatures she loved. She was utterly unselfish and indefatigable.
In addition to her five children and husband, she is survived by her mother, Virginia Souza; two grandchildren, Francesca and Greyson; and two brothers, David Souza and Jeffrey Souza.
Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.finleyfuneralhome.com.