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Monday, April 04, 2016

Mary Jane Stokes, 90

Mary Jane Shepard Stokes, a former Westport resident, died Feb. 29 at the Bayonet Point Hospice in Hudson, Fla. She was 90.

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Mary Jane Stokes: athlete, artist. Contributed photo

She was born May 5, 1925 in Watertown, N.Y. to the late Ellsworth Shephard and Dorothy Howard.

She worked as a switchboard operator on Sampson Air Base in New York State during World War II, where she met her husband, William During, a marine pilot, in 1945.

She was a great athlete at Watertown High School, a champion swimmer, and later became a very accomplished artist, best known for her animal drawings and land/seascapes.

Among her fondest memories were spending summers at her family cottage in Chaumont Bay on Lake Ontario. She lived in Watertown for 19 years, before moving to Syracuse, N.Y. in 1946.

William and Mary Jane moved to Westport in 1963. She was employed by Dr. Bender and later by Dr. Ivan Cohen, in Fairfield. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1991, where she lived for 11 years, and eventually settled in Hudson, Fla.

She was the eldest child of Ellsworth Shepard, and Dorothy Howard. She is survived by her two children, William During and his wife, Karen of Fairfield, and Tina Kafka of Edmonton, Alberta; also by her siblings, Mike Shepard of Brownville, N.Y. and his wife, Sally; Sally Girard (sister) of Wesley Chapel, Fla.; and Julie Peltier (sister) and her husband, Rich Peltier, of Ocala, Fla., grandchildren, Gabrielle and Danielle During of Tucson, and Phoenix, Ariz; Joel Kafka of Edmonton, Alberta and Jeffrey Kafka of Maui, Hawaii. She also has four great grandchildren: Lina, Isa, Clia, and Bowan. She was predeceased by her husband, William J. During, her two children, John During and Kathy Fell as well as her two brothers, John Shephard and Robert Shephard. She also cherished her friendship with her loving companion, Robert DeWallace, who died in 2009.

The family will have a memorial service on July 26 at 10:30 a.m. at The Craftsman Inn, Fayetteville, N.Y.  Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse.

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Posted 04/04/16 at 01:49 PM  Permalink



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