Mary Jane Pawling Birchett, 93, of Hopewell, died peacefully at her home on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Mrs. Birchett was the widow of Dr. John Major Birchett.
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She was a retired child psychologist and resident of Hopewell since 1965. Mrs. Birchett was a beloved figure known as "Aunt Jane" to a host of family and friends far and wide. Mrs. Birchett was born in Thornsdale, Pa., and raised in Downingtown, Pa. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Morgan Pawling. Mrs. Birchett was a graduate of Temple University where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology. A true patriot, Mrs. Birchett served in the WAC (Women's Army Corps) during World War II. Her career in psychology included work for the Devereux Schools in Pennsylvania and New England. She also worked abroad in France and Germany in the 1950s and early 1960s. Following her marriage to Dr. John Major Birchett, she moved to Hopewell. Mrs. Birchett was a school psychologist for Richmond Public Schools and retired as a senior psychologist after 20 years of service.
Mrs. Birchett was a lifelong lover of traveling and her adventures took her around the globe. Highlights of her travels included summers on Monhegan Island, Maine, and a home on Puget Sound in Washington State. She also made extensive trips to Europe, Mexico, Asia and had a special affinity for her beloved Cassis in the south of France. Jane also had a love for art and music and enjoyed being a patron of the Richmond Symphony for over 20 years.
A lifelong Episcopalian, Mrs. Birchett was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Hopewell, where she served on the vestry and altar guild. She was a board member and docent for the Historic Hopewell Foundation, having served as a volunteer at Weston Manor for many years.
Mrs. Birchett was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. John Major Birchett of Hopewell; brother, Thomas Morgan Pawling of Richmond; and nephew Dr. Thomas F. Leftwich of Hopewell.
She is survived by her sister, Sarah (Salli) Pawling Clayton of Grapeview, Wash. Her West Coast family includes nieces and nephews, Mr. Walter G. Clayton III of Seattle, Mr. and Mrs. William Sund of Quincy, Wash., and Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Stockwell of Phoenix, Ariz. Mrs. Birchett was honored with a namesake great-great-niece, Sadie Jane Scott of Phoenix.
Mrs. Birchett's Virginia family includes, Mary Ann Francis Leftwich of Prince GeorgeCounty, Thomas F. Leftwich III (Tripp) of Richmond and Conner F. Leftwich and wife, Lauren, of Chester; nephew, Drew A. Leftwich and wife, Laura, of Forest, Va., Drs. Greyson A. and Kelly Leftwich of Okinawa, Japan, and Addison C. Leftwich of Richmond; niece, Kyle Leftwich Banning and husband, Jim, of Richmond, and Jackson and Harrison Banning. Also, sister-in-law, Louise Birchett McLauchlin of Hopewell; nephews, B. Darrow McLauchlin of Rehoboth, Del., and David W. McLauchlin of Hopewell; nephews, Brent D. Birchett of Chesterfield, and Brad T. Birchett and wife, Stacie, of Richmond; nephew, Thomas M. Pawling and wife, Sandy, of Chesterfield, and niece, Heather Phelps and husband, Kevin, of Chesterfield.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, at the Hopewell Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Service, with a visitation to be held one hour prior. Interment to follow in Southlawn Memorial Park.
Memorial gifts may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church, 505 Cedar Lane, Hopewell VA 23860.
Condolences may be registered at www.jtmorriss.com.
J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home, Inc. - Hopewell Chapel
820 West Broadway Avenue
Hopewell, VA 23860
Published in The Progress-Index from Sept. 3 to Sept. 4, 2014