Martha Jane Ellis Judson, 101, of Franklin, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning February 3, 2018 at Sugar Creek Station where she has resided for the past several years.
Jane, the next to youngest of nine children, was born in Franklin on February 23, 1916 to the late Edward L. and Mazie (Mitchell) Ellis.
Jane spent her entire life in Franklin attending the local schools and graduating from Franklin High School in 1933. She married her high school sweetheart, Lewis A. Judson, on January 18, 1941. Jane and Lew were married for over 58 years, until his passing in late 1999, and together they raised five children at their 328 Liberty Street home. Jane continued to reside there until her middle 90's when mobility issues necessitated her move to Sugar Creek Station.
Jane was a caring and giving person who thrived on entertaining family and friends and just about every occasion could be a reason for a party. In her later years as meal preparation became a strain, she moved her gatherings to local dining establishments where she could be waited on but still enjoy the camaraderie of her family and friends. Her entertaining excursions were so frequent that Bella Cucina in Franklin honored her with a name plaque on her favorite booth.
To merely say Jane was a busy person would be an understatement. She was an excellent bookkeeper and her initial employment was at Joy Manufacturing, but she is most remembered for her dancing school and her work at "The Fashion." She started dance at an early age and was a member of the Dancing Masters of America as well as the Dance Educators of America. She was initially partners with Helen Jane Baker in the Ellis-Baker School of Dance which operated in both Franklin and Oil City. Eventually she opened her own studio, the Jane Judson School of Dance, and concentrated in the Franklin area. Until the early 60's, she spent every Saturday teaching ballet, tap, acrobatics, baton and ballroom dancing to area children and youth.
For over thirty years you could find her behind the counter at Fashion, where she developed a fast and lasting friendship with the owners, Butch and Bess Silverman. While she was primarily the bookkeeper, you weren't surprised to receive a phone call from her letting you know that a certain dress, coat or other item of apparel had just arrived and it had your name written all over it.
When her husband Lew became involved in local politics, Jane wasn't one to sit on the side lines. She quickly became involved in the local Democratic Party and served as its Vice Chair for - over 22 years. One of her fondest memories was of traveling to a democratic women's conference in Washington, D.C., and being introduced to President John Kennedy and his wife, Jackie.
Jane's love of dance and the performing arts enabled her to contribute significantly to Franklin's cultural venue. She was one of the original founders of Franklin's Civic Operetta Association and played a key role in the securing and renovating of the Kayton Theater into the Barrow Civic Theatre. While in her 80's, Jane established the Venango County Vamps, a group of like-minded women who entertained with their marching and dancing routines at various community functions.
Jane also found time to participate in the local Business and Professional Women's club, both as a member and past president. She was also active in the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and the Eastern Star. Jane was also an active volunteer providing many hours of service to the American Cancer Society, The American Red Cross, local PTA, and Heart Fund. Her civic contributions were recognized by her peers and in 1961 she was designated as Franklin's Woman of the Year.
Jane and her family were members of St. John's Episcopal Church in Franklin and the family is especially appreciative of all the care and attention the church has provided to Jane, especially during her years at Sugar Creek Station. The family also expresses their thanks to everyone at Sugar Creek Station who made her time there so pleasant and meaningful.
Jane is survived by her three daughters, Sally Mays, Betsy Judson, and Amy Judson-Burak, all of Franklin. She is also survived by her brother Tom Ellis of Cleveland, Ohio. Survivors also included her son-in-law John McConnell and grandchildren Chris McConnell, Rick Judson, and Jennifer (Paul) White, all of Franklin. Her great� grandchildren include Caleb, Brendon, Colin, Adriana, Jayda Judson and Judson White.
She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and several step grandchildren.
In addition to her parents and husband, Lew, Jane was also preceded in death by her son Joseph E. (Ted) Judson and his wife Diane; her daughter Susie McConnell; sons-in-law Paul Burak and Jack Mays; her Sisters Viola Hall, Geraldine Hied, Mary Rose, Edna Wiegel, Helen Cartwright, and infant sister Billie Ellis; and her brother Edward (Bus) Ellis.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Huff Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 312 West Park St. Franklin where family and friends are welcome from 3:00 - 7:00 P.M. Tuesday.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday in St. John's Episcopal Church, 1145 Buffalo St., with Rev. Elizabeth Yale, officiating.
Interment will follow at Sunset Hill Memorial Gardens.
Memorial contributions may be made to Barrow Civic Theatre, P.O. Box 1089 Franklin, PA 16323, Sugar Creek Station 351 Causeway Dr. Franklin, PA 16323 or to the Susie McConnell Scholarship Fund, c/o Bridge Builders Community Foundation, 206 Seneca St. Oil City, PA 16301.
Online condolences and flowers may be sent to the family by visiting www.Hufffuneral.com.