BATH — Irene Jumper passed away on Feb. 5, 2015, after several years of declining health, during which dementia slowly robbed her of her signature vitality. She was 92 years old.

Irene was born on June 4, 1922, in Newark, NJ, the fifth child of Oskar Marks and Mary Nojek Marks. Her mother and father fled the borderlands of Germany and Poland prior to the outbreak of WWI. Oscar gained access to the U.S. as a stowaway on a ship, with only his clothes and an accordion to comfort him. After establishing himself as a baker, he sent for his wife to join him in Elizabeth, NJ, where they lived and raised their family.

 

 

Irene grew up in New Jersey with her three older sisters and brother. She struggled through the Great Depression as a young girl with resourcefulness and an optimistic, enthusiastic approach to life. Irene graduated from Elizabeth High School in 1940, and then worked at the Bendix Corporation where she met and married J. Donald Jumper in 1941. She found that he was a great dance partner, and so accepted his proposal for marriage.

She became a stay-athome mother starting out in Montclair, NJ, then moved to Southwest Harbor, Maine in 1946. Irene and her older children braved the great fire of 1947 on Mount Desert Island. There she was a powerhouse in that community, volunteering for many church activities and attending most of the parties and dances on the island. She did part-time work at the Claremont Hotel while raising the four oldest of her eventual seven children.

The family moved to Bath, Maine in 1956 where her husband took on the ownership of Bailey’s Hardware store. She delivered her last three children at the former Bath Memorial Hospital where she started her working career as a switchboard operator in 1964. She then went on to work at Congress Sportswear, Sam Prawer’s Wholesale Fruit, Produce and Groceries, and finally, for 23 years, at Bath Iron Works, retiring in 1990.

In addition to her work life, Irene managed to attend all of her children’s dance recitals, swim meets, and baseball games. She was always the most enthusiastic and loudest cheerleader in the entire crowd. Her brother in-law, Jerry Sheehan, once identified her as “The Hot Potato from Maine!” when she was dancing up a storm at a tavern in New Jersey.

She had her own moment in the spotlight at age 70, when she represented the state of Maine in the Senior Olympics in Baton Rouge, La. She placed in the top 17 in all three backstroke swimming events. She loved antiques and dealing in them at flea markets. She traveled with her sister, Lottie, and her good friend June Nering, who was her closest and most faithful companion during most of her retirement years. They enjoyed several cruises to the Caribbean together.

Prior to her husband’s death in 1998, Irene was very active in the local YMCA, was an avid antique dealer and traveled extensively. She and Don would often travel to Canada. They especially loved the Gaspe Peninsula. Her overseas travels with her sister and other family members included Poland, Germany, Spain, Ireland, England, Bermuda, and Hawaii (with her close friends Anne and Dick Largay). Visiting and traveling with her children included trips to St. Andrews, NB, Quebec City, The Balsams, NH, Orlando, FL, Washington, D.C., Newport, RI, San Francisco, CA, Fairbanks, AK, Texas and Wyoming.

Irene was predeceased by her four older siblings: Al Marks, Jeanne Wojtowicz, Helen Zielski, and Lottie Sheehan, her husband of 57 years, J. Donald Jumper, her oldest son, Patrick Jumper and his son, Kevin Jumper, her step-grandson Robert Weiser Jr., and her two great-grandchildren, Emma and Olivia Lewis.

She is survived by her children Timothy Jumper of Hingham, Mass., and his wife Diane, Dennis Jumper of Wiscasset, Maine and his wife, Rebekah Applin, Colleen Jumper Acerra of Tomball, Texas and her husband John Acerra, Maureen Jumper Lewis of Grantsburg, Wis. and her husband Gordon Lewis, Brian Jumper of Falmouth, Maine and his wife Yvonne, Kathleen Jumper Cohn of Charleston, S.C. and her husband Charles Cohn and Meg O’Toole (Patrick Jumper’s wife) of Foresthill, Calif. She leaves behind about 30 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bath, and Holy Martyr’s Catholic Church in Falmouth. Her Catholic faith was a very important part of her life. The family would like to express their thanks to her many friends, especially June Nering, Cathy Rand of Comfort Keepers, and the staffs at Scarborough Terrace and the Barron Center.

Visiting hours will be held on Feb. 27, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home, 638 High St., Bath. A Mass of Christian burial will follow at 1 p.m. at All Saints Parish, St. Mary’s Church, Lincoln Street, Bath.

A graveside service will be held in the spring.

For future service and to share condolences and memories, please visit: www.desmondfuneralhomes.com.