Jane Sprague (nee Sara Jane Smith) died peacefully on July 3, 2023 at the home of her daughter Janet in Raleigh, NC.
She was born in New Kensington, PA on October 25, 1926 to Lillian McDonough Smith and Robert Wylie Smith. She is survived by her six children Joseph Sprague (Gretchen) Denver, CO, Janet Fields (Todd) Raleigh, NC, Nancy Wood (Ted) London, UK, Virginia Sprague, Carrboro, NC, Mary Sappick-Sprague, Pittsboro, NC, and Elizabeth Petrie (Mark) Vestal, NY, her eight grandchildren (Ben, Ellie and Billy Sprague, Hannah and Jacob Fields and Joy and Nina Petrie and Jeffrey Washington) ten great-grandchildren, dear nephews and nieces and many beloved friends. She was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Wendell (2010) and two sisters, Joy Smith Stein (Berea, OH) and Betsy Smith Stevenson (Washington, PA).
Jane grew up in Washington, PA and attended Westminster College. She graduated in 1949 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. It was here she met her husband Wendell who was attending Pitt Dental School. They were married the last day of 1949.
Soon after their marriage, the Spragues went to Cameroon, West Africa as dental missionaries with the United Presbyterian Church. They returned in 1959 with four children. They settled in State College, PA where two more children were added to the family and she developed life-long friendships. In 1980 they began a journey in Christian community with some years in the Bruderhof Community and later settled at Reba Place Fellowship in Evanston, IL where they worked and lived for 17 years. After retirement, Jane and Wendell spent many years doing short-term missions in Thailand, Cambodia, Russia, Spain and Central America. From 1997-2001 she and Wendell lived close to Joe’s family in Denver and then moved close to Elizabeth in Binghamton NY.
In 2009 they moved to Hilltop Methodist Retirement Center in Johnson City, NY. Well into her 90’s she served every day in the gift shop and visited the “elderly” in the nursing center. After a year of isolation due to Covid and several falls, it was decided that she should live with Janet and Todd in Raleigh, NC. where she has spent the last 2 ½ years and became part of the community of Raleigh Mennonite Church.
Her life was a continuous journey of “seeking the kingdom of God.” And her love of opera, two-dollar bills and reading were beyond measure!
A memorial service was held at Raleigh Mennonite Church’s meeting location on Friday, July 7 at 11:00, EST. The recording of the service is available to watch. Burial will take place in Corning, NY at a future date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Raleigh Mennonite Church Benevolent Fund via the church donation page.