Jean Archer Rothermel
May 2, 1921-Jan. 27, 2014
CEDAR CREST, N.J. — Jean Archer Rothermel, the second of four children born to Harry and Hazel Archer, spent a fairy-tale childhood in the small towns of Fair Oaks and Ben Avon, Pa.
After graduating from Pennsylvania College for Women /Chatham University in Pittsburgh and teaching English, French and Latin at Woodstown High School in New Jersey, Jean joined the Overseas Red Cross during World War II. Assigned to the recreation unit on Guam, she crossed paths in the Pacific on four occasions with a naval officer who also taught in Woodstown.
In December of 1945, two days after returning from Guam to Ben Avon, Jean, hastily borrowed her college roommate’s dress and married Daniel Angstadt Rothermel just before he was reassigned to Philadelphia by the Navy.
Together, they made their way to Fair Lawn, N.J., to be closer to the action and culture of New York City where Dan served as principal of the high school and where they lived for the next 53 years.
Jean raised three children before earning her second degree and returning to her career, this time as a librarian to share her love of books at Hawes School in Ridgewood, N.J., where the library is named in her honor.
Neighbors remember Jean as the one who hosted the Cub Scouts, foreign exchange students, the Christmas caroling parties, and the receptions for newcomers. She lived her values as a passionate, life-long Democrat, volunteering to register voters and speaking out against war.
Not surprisingly, Jean took up running at age 42 and never stopped. She also toured the world with Dan, visiting exotic countries and far-flung friends. Her favorite trips, however, were to the homes of her grandchildren. Treasured are the seven books she researched and wrote for them about Archer and Rothermel family histories complete with priceless anecdotal reflections.