WEST PARIS — Jane Porter Gibson, age 95, passed away at home on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

She was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 25, 1922, daughter of the Rev. Reuben B. Porter and Lenore Emme Porter. When she was two, the family moved to Lucknow, India as Methodist missionaries. They returned to the U.S. on furlough when she was seven. The furlough was canceled because of the Great Depression, and the family then settled in Crete, Neb., where she received her elementary education. Her father died when she was 15, leaving Jane, her four brothers and widowed mother without a home. Her mother then moved to a position with the Methodist Board in New York City, and relatives found homes or schools to take the children in. Jane was accepted at Northfield School for Girls where she graduated in 1941, then went on to Doane College in Crete, where she earned her degree in 1945.

Jane then joined the American Red Cross family services activity at Fort Belvoir, Va., helping GI families returning from World War II. She moved from there to Cambridge, Mass., to a position at M.I.T. in the textile department. In 1948, she decided to become a teacher and enrolled at Columbia University Teachers College in New York City. In that year she met Bill Gibson while on a summer holiday in Maine. They dated while she was in New York and Bill was in college in Rhode Island. After his graduation from Brown University they were married on June 27, 1949, just before Bill started his career with the General Electric Company in Lynn, Mass.

They made their home in nearby Marblehead, where daughters, Mary and Emily, were born. In 1956, Bill was transferred to Rome, Ga., where they spent the next 10 years. Jane took art education classes at Shorter College there and assisted teachers in the local elementary school. In 1966, Bill was transferred back to Lynn, Mass., and they settled once again in Marblehead.

In 1971, they moved back to the Gibson family farm in West Paris, which was in danger of being sold after Bill’s father died, and his mother needed help. They bought the farm and joined the “back-to-the-land” movement. Jane accepted a position with SAD 17, starting an art program that served the junior high and each elementary school in the district. After she had the art program firmly established, she became the fourth grade teacher at the Agnes Gray School in West Paris. She was glad to give up traveling to so many schools, and enjoyed being part of the West Paris community. She retired in 1987.

Jane’s long retirement included gardening and preserving foods, cooking, baking and entertaining. Later, she planned and supervised the building of a retirement home on Stearns Hill, where they moved in 2003. She was active at Christ Episcopal Church in Norway, where she provided leadership as warden and vestry member. She was a co-founder of the Fare Share Food Co-op in Norway, a member of the McLaughlin Foundation and Paris Cape Historical Society.


She was preceded in death by her parents; and brothers, John F. Porter, Perry M. Porter and William E. Porter.

She is survived by her husband, William (Bill); her brother, Sam R. Porter of Bellingham, Wash.; daughters, Mary Williams (Tom) of West Paris and Emily Gibson (David Andrews) of Wilmington, Del.; grandchildren, Evan Williams (Chelsea Lipham), Ellis Williams (Kayla Leveille), Austin Williams and Arielle Williams; and great-granddaughter, Aurora Williams. She is also survived by many Porter and Gibson nieces and nephews.

Jane’s family wishes to give sincere thanks for the compassionate support of Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice.

Online condolences may be sent to www.funeralalternatives.net.

Jane P. Gibson

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