Jane Florence Fessenden

Jane Florence Fessenden

It is with sadness that we share the passing of former longtime MBL employee Jane Florence Fessenden who died on June 3, 2022. The MBL flag will be lowered in her memory. The following obituary was provided by her family.

Jane Florence Fessenden, age 91, passed away peacefully at home on June 3, 2022.

She is a descendant of the Fessenden Barrel Company family, Townsend, MA. Jane grew up in Needham, MA, she graduated from Skidmore College with an English degree, and worked for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) in Washington DC before moving to Falmouth some 60 years ago.

Jane joined the staff of Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole In 1962 and later joined the MBL Corporation. In 1964, she was named Library Director, administering this scientific library widely considered one of the best in the world for biological and oceanographic research. Her decades of work as Director were outstanding.  Jane made the Library accessible to all for research, created the rare books collection, documented the 1988 Centennial by archiving important records which became the go-to-place for journalists, historians, scientists, and others alike.  Jane took excellent care of her employees, standing up for them and mentoring young college students.  She retired in 1991 after 29 years.           

Jane had a hearty New England accent and spirited attitude.  She enjoyed her friends and loved her family. She spent time cultivating her gorgeous gardens, was an avid reader, loved her animals, both wild and domesticated, was very active in politics and the Democrats. She was generous to all who knew her, and she was loved by so many friends and family. She will be truly missed by all that she touched.

Jane was pre-deceased by her parents Donald L. and Margaret Wood Fessenden, her sister and brother-in-law Ann Fessenden Clymer and Adam Clymer and her niece jane Emily Clymer.

Jane is survived by her cousins Lynda Onthank (Sullivan), Douglas and Wendy Nickerson, Richard and Dawn Nickerson, Cheryl and Tom Franco, and Marion Nickerson Paulson. She has left behind many younger cousins, all of whom loved her. Ashley, McKinley, Hillary, MacGregor and Alexandra Nickerson, Meghan and Tobin Sullivan, Ben Onthank, Jessica and Andrew Nickerson, Melissa Brooks, Josh Franco, Jennifer Bernstein and Thomas Franco, Alisa and Nate Barrett.

A special thanks goes to all of the wonderful caregivers, Reggie, Hillary, Mary, Dee, and Gail, hospice, and the providers including Ann and Adam Clymer, Lynda Onthank (Sullivan) and the Nickerson family and Judge Stearns, who helped to fulfill her wishes to stay in her home. We will always carry Jane’s memory in our hearts.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Osprey Project, c/o Falmouth Together We Can, PO Box 303, Falmouth, MA  02541

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. For more information, please contact The Chapman Funeral Home, 475 Main Street (Route 28), Falmouth, MA  02540, 508-540-4172.