Valaire Jean Mayer, formerly of the Elizabeth Brewster House, Homer, NY, and most recently, The Guthrie Cortland Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility, Cortland, NY, passed peacefully on June 2, 2021.
Jean was born on October 1, 1932, to Avery and Lucy Smith Haight in Willet, NY. Predeceased by her parents, her husbands: Frank Mayer and Robert Keene, her former husband, Paul Wheaton, guardian, Mabel Carr, brother LeRoy Haight, stepson Robert Mayer and her grandchildren: Christopher Canfield, Jaime Canfield and Marcie Slocum.
Surviving Jean are her five daughters: Patricia (Ralph) Canfield, Susan Canfield, Margaret Wheaton, Shelley (Donald) Warnow, and Wendy Means. Jean leaves behind 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Joyce Carpenter and stepdaughter Elan Quattrone and close friends: Mary Sculley and Herman and Marion Ruigrock.
Jean attended the Willet School for her elementary years and was grateful to have grown up in Willet. She proudly graduated from Cincinnatus Central School in 1949 at the age of 16. Jean attended the annual Cincinnatus Alumni Celebration faithfully until her health declined.
Jean was a member of the Marathon Legion Auxiliary, the Cortland County Legion Auxiliary, the Marathon Fire Department Auxiliary, St. Stephen’s Altar Rosary Society, the Loyal Order of the Moose and was a Girl Scout Leader for her daughters. Jean was also Director of the RCIA program for St. Stephen’s for many years. She sang in the choirs of St. Stephen’s, St. Patrick’s, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help churches.
Jean retired from the Marathon Central School District after 25 years of service. She went back to school and earned a Certificate of Achievement in Office Management from OCM BOCES. She then went on to work for The First National Bank of Cortland and The Office for the Aging through the Older Workers Program. She was very proud that she completed this program in her late 50s.
Jean passed on a tremendous work ethic to her daughters. She taught them to do their absolute best, regardless of the task. She took pride in her homemaking skills and enjoyed baking and entertaining her family on the holidays. In her final years Jean enjoyed doing crossword puzzles and Soduko puzzles, as well as playing BINGO. She was the official Rummikub Queen of Brewster House.
Jean was extremely proud of the fact that all seventeen grandchildren pursued higher education. She was thrilled with the arrival of each of her great-grandchildren. She took her role as Matriarch of her family seriously.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Marathon, NY, on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. with Reverend Lester E. Smith, Celebrant. Burial will be in Willet Cemetery. The family will be present to receive friends at the church on Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. until the start of the Mass at 1:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made in Jean’s memory to: Cortland-Chenango Rural Services Inc., 2704 Lower Cincinnatus Road, Cincinnatus, NY 13040 or The Peck Memorial Library, 24 Main Street, Marathon, NY 13803.
The family wishes to thank the amazing nursing staff on Misty Glen. Your care and compassion were exemplary. You treated her with dignity and respect and allowed her a peaceful passing. Mom called all of you, her angels.
Jean’s girls would like to recognize the entire staff of Brewster House for their love and friendship for mom’s last years. Your care for mom was a blessing to her girls. She loved being a part of the Brewster family.