Jane was born on July 6, 1927 to Harry and Maggie Brightbill in Harrisburg, PA. She graduated from John Harris High School in Harrisburg and Findlay College. Jane received her Master’s Degree from Oberlin College. It was at Findlay College where she met Ralph Dessem. The two married in 1947. Jane spent all her adult life in Ohio, where she pursued a teaching career while raising four children.
Jane began her career as a teacher of Christian Education in the public schools. After staying home to raise young children, Jane re-entered the education field as a reading and English teacher at North Royalton High School, where she taught and served as the English department chairperson until her retirement.
Jane was involved in the United Methodist Church all her adult life. As a minister’s wife, she served many roles in congregations throughout the East Ohio Conference. In later years, she became an active member of The Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights. At The Church of the Saviour Jane was integral in the formation of The Stephen Ministries, a group of congregation members who provide Christ-centered care to those experiencing life difficulties. She was also a teacher and leader in the East Side Ministries, a group that welcomed physically and developmentally disabled adults to the church. Additionally, she was active in a variety of church committees and missions. Jane was a lover of books, theatre and music. She traveled to many different countries and embraced the cultures she encountered. She truly enjoyed life and saw the beauty in every day even when her health brought her challenges.
Jane was predeceased by her loving husband, Ralph, and son, Dean. She is survived by her children: Larry (Beth) of Daufuskie Island, SC; her son Mark (Jan) of Memphis, TN; and her daughter Carol Boyd (John) of Shaker Heights, OH. Jane was the proud grandmother of Matthew Dessem (Yasmin), Lindsay Dessem, Emily McDonald (David), Meredith Boyd and Alison Boyd (Matthew Tyler). Although she did not get to meet them, Jane recently became the great grandmother of twins (Maggie and Charlie McDonald). She is undoubtedly smiling down on them.
The family prefers that those who wish may make contributions in her name to The Church of the Saviour, 2537 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118 where a private family Memorial Service will be held on Monday, October 26th at 10 AM. Friends may view the service virtually via live stream by clicking link below.