Jeanne Marvel Sposato, Milton icon

November 22, 2020

Jeanne Marvel Sposato, 98, died Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at Bayhealth Sussex Campus, Milford.  The native Miltonian was born Oct. 21, 1922, at the Milford hospital, the daughter of John R. and Mary Bryan Marvel. Jeanne’s warm smile and kind heart affected everyone she met positively, making them feel extra special. 

Jeanne graduated from Milton High School at age 16, and she earned an elementary education bachelor’s degree from West Chester State Teachers’ College by age 20.  Jeanne’s love for teaching began at Newark Elementary School, where she taught second-graders for seven years (1943-50).  During this time, Jeanne met the love of her life, Frederick Anthony Sposato, during his attendance at the University of Delaware, following his service during WWII.  They were married in 1947.

While Jeanne and Fred were starting their careers, they expanded their family, raising three children soon after marriage: Jo Carol Sposato Hawthorne, born in 1949;  J. Frederick Sposato, born in 1951; and Judy Lynn Sposato Redard, born in 1953. Earlier that year, Jeanne and Fred relocated the family to Milton when Fred changed jobs from teacher/coach at Newark High School to employee at Draper Canning Company.

Raising three young children back in her hometown of Milton, Jeanne continued as an integral part of the children’s lives and her community.  She served as a Cub Scout den leader, Brownie Troop leader, and Little League baseball team mother.  Jeanne helped form the original Milton Bridge Club, which thrived from 1953 until early 2020.   

In 1960, Jeanne returned to the classroom.  She taught second and fourth grades at the Milton School from 1960-66, and many students considered Mrs. Sposato their favorite teacher.  She retired from teaching when her fourth child, D. Anthony “Tony” Sposato was born in 1966. Jeanne was suddenly widowed in 1971, and during this time, Jeanne increased her involvement in service and social organizations, enabling her more time with the many friends she so cherished.  The Milton Supper Club, Century Club, Milton Red Hats Club, Milton Historical Society, Women’s Club of Milton (a charter member, USO participant and Holiday House Tour docent), Read-Aloud DE, and a neighborhood volunteer for the American Heart and Lung Associations all kept her in touch with  friends and community.  Jeanne was blessed to have a close relationship with her sister, Patricia Stenger, and the sisters served together in several of these organizations. Jeanne and her husband also found time to serve others as dance instructors in the late ‘50s.  She loved dancing, and she enjoyed writing and sharing her poems and posies with everyone.

In 1988, after her children were grown, Jeanne’s love of teaching children led her to the Milton Public Library as a librarian and children’s story time leader. For over 10 years, she touched the lives of thousands of young Milton-area children with fun, meaningful story hours. Her grandchildren especially loved walking into the library after school to visit with their Mom-Mom/Mumsie.  All of her children raised their children in Milton - she was fortunate to be  surrounded by family, just as they were fortunate to have her as a constant presence in their lives. A capable, educated woman, Jeanne also served for many years as the bookkeeper for the Sposato Landscape Company in the 1990s.   

Jeanne’s positive, uplifting and fun manner with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends and community was a daily way of life for her.  She was the quintessential grandmother. Everyone enjoyed gathering with her for good cheer, great conversations, and a sweet treat. Grandchildren often created and performed skits which delighted all those present.  And Jeanne always had a plethora of antique and current toys, games, books, costumes, seasonal decorations, and gifts for relatives and friends. No grandchild left her house without a fun toy or book in hand. Jeanne had a lasting impact on her family, her friends, and her hometown. She will be sorely missed by all.

Jeanne Sposato was predeceased by her mother, father, and husband.  Jeanne is survived by her sister and four children, and daughters-in-law Shelly Thompson Sposato and Karen Howard Sposato, son-in-law Randy Redard, 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

A memorial celebration of life honoring Jeanne Sposato will take place in the near future, and this will be announced so all can participate.  Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Milton CHEER Center Meals on Wheels program, 24855 Broadkill Road, Milton, DE, in Jeanne’s memory.  

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