GREENSBORO – Jane Sprenger Wallace (born Jane Moss Gordon) died on November 15, at the age of 105 at the Greensboro Nursing Home.
Born in New York City on January 15, 1917, she was predeceased by her parents Bertha M. Gordon (Birdie) and William S. Gordon and by her brothers, William S. Gordon Jr. and Richard M. Gordon. She lived on the upper east side of Manhattan throughout her childhood. During her childhood she became an accomplished horseback rider with numerous equestrian awards in New York City, with her horse Lucky. She also studied music and took voice lessons.
After attending the Horace Mann School and the Ethical Culture Normal School, she graduated from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1937 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. After graduating, her work included teaching in elementary and adult education, social work and a dedication to civil rights and historic preservation.
In 1941, Jane was married to Charles William Loeb Jr. She moved to San Francisco, Calif., during World War II, while she awaited his return, and while in San Francisco, her only child John Gordon Loeb was born in 1945. After the end of World War II, they moved to Rye, N.Y.
She remarried in 1956 to William F. Sprenger. Shortly after her marriage, while traveling in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont they found Caspian Lake. This began her love affair with Greensboro, where after six years of renting on Caspian Lake, she bought a property.
She moved to Federal Hill in Baltimore, where she restored an 18th century row home. In Federal Hill and Fells Point, she dedicated her work to urban historic preservation and was recognized by the mayor and governor of Maryland for her dedication and contributions.
While working on the restoration of her home she met Philander Wallace (Wally), a bricklayer and amateur sailor. This relationship defined the next thirty-year chapter of her life, during which time they were married. She supported Wally in his dream to become an accomplished sailor and commercial boat captain. This dream became true when they bought the 34-foot sailboat Lady Jane and Wally completed a two-year solo circumnavigation of the world. Jane traveled to every major port where she joined Wally on his sailing adventures. After this trip was over she continued to travel, meeting Wally all over the world where he delivered sailboats in his work as a delivery skipper.
Her life now defined by the sea, Jane and Wally moved to Florida to No Name Key (another adventure!), where they restored a raised historic house on a canal. They traveled all over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, visiting the Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica and Panama, as well as an adventurous trip to Cuba where, in Havana, they met the old man who inspired Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea.
With the death of her husband Wally in 2006, she moved north again and made Greensboro her permanent home, purchasing a home on Country Club Road. Continuing to be active, she became a board member of Caspian Monday Music, added to and renovated her new home and continued her love of gardening. In Greensboro, everybody knew Jane as she traveled the dirt roads with her poodle Penny, always in search of antiques and a lunch out with friends.
Jane is survived by her son John Loeb and daughter-in-law Anna Belle Loeb, her grandson Locke Woodfin and her four great grandchildren, her nephew William S. Gordon III, her nieces Jennifer and Amy Gordon, her cousin Arthur Moss and her sisters-in-law Phyliss Schaltenbrand and Cheryl Hembree. Contributions in her honor can be made in her name to the Greensboro Nursing Home, Planned Parenthood or a charity of choice. Online condolences are welcomed at: northernvermontfuneralservice.com.