Jean Evelyn Titus, 95 years old, formerly of Westport, Brier Island, died December 27, 2018 in Dartmouth, NS. She was born June 28, 1923 in Jersey City, NJ to parents with roots in Nova Scotia, the late Helena (Dakin) Sanders (Schonleber) and James Reginald Sanders. After completing high school, Jean was employed at RCA making vacuum tubes for submarines. While vacationing on Brier Island, her mother’s birthplace, she met her future husband, Walter E. Titus, a local fisherman, and they were married there May 28, 1942. After World War II, the couple’s settling in this small fishing village was a short term plan that lasted about 50 years.
During those years on Brier Island she longed to live elsewhere, but actively pursued activities in the community. She worked tirelessly in the Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary, and baked for many village events, making the best date pie on the island, a recipe that her children guard as a family secret.
Jean’s formative years of living comfortably in large cities in the United States gave her a relatively progressive perspective on life. She loved talking with people who traveled to Brier Island “from away,” and even took in overnight guests for a time because she so enjoyed hearing about visitors’ lives and experiences of places she had not had the opportunity to see for herself. She was a voracious reader throughout her life and she passed on her passion to her children, as evidenced by their individual personal library collections. Jean described books as her closest friends during her troubled childhood, and she could not imagine living without the escape of reading; indeed, the difficulty she experienced in enjoying a book prefaced the end of her life.
Throughout her life Jean proudly retained her American identity and citizenship along with adopting citizenship of Canada, the country she lived in for the rest of her life. She remained close to her older brother, the late Reginald Sanders (Marion), Wayne, NJ, and over the years the visits by him and his extended family were excitedly anticipated by Jean and her entire family.
Jean was a devoted caregiver to family members, including caring for her own mother and grandmother in their last years of life, and later caring for her husband after an accident left him a quadriplegic. She raised six children and was their staunch defender against schoolyard bullies and any authoritative adults who she perceived as treating them unfairly. She is survived by sons Reginald (Corinne), Westport, and Mark (Carol), Dartmouth; daughters Terry-Lyn (late Sherman Turner), Dartmouth, and Jordan (Paul Eaglin), Syracuse NY; daughter-in-law Gail, Halifax; grandchildren Rochelle (Karl Nordin), Halifax, Nichole Ewing (Brad), Ellsworth ME, Arron (Nicole), Westport, Katherine Dowdle (Cole), Summerside PEI, Michael (Amy Robia), Lake Charlotte, and Brianna Faulkner (Alex), Halifax; 8 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She fascinated her grandchildren with stories from her life, from her acts of rebellion (such as wearing ‘pedal pushers’ to school), to her experiences as a young woman working in Jersey City before World War II, and later, the difficulties of being a young woman traveling alone between countries during wartime. Many of her stories were of the early years of her marriage when the war had such an impact on how people lived their lives, such as getting married after being engaged 3 days, or traveling across provinces to meet her husband for his weekend leave and living out of her weekender suitcase for 3 months when his duties were unexpectedly extended. She always found great joy in her family, and as her family expanded, she delighted in the
youngest ones, often commenting on the similarities she found between herself at 95 and the very youngest of her progeny, notably their shared love of ice cream.
After 61 years together, Jean’s husband preceded her in death in 2003. What she found the hardest to bear in her life was the death during her lifetime of two of her sons afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis, Paul in 1965 at only 10 years of age, and W. Bradford in 2010 at age 64.
Following Jean’s directive, there will not be a memorial service. A private family interment will take place at a later date. Memorials may be made online by signing a guest book available at www.middletonfuneralhome.com
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Jean Evelyn Titus June 23 1923 December 27 2018..