Cover photo for Jane Ann Tourtellot's Obituary
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1935 Jane 2022

Jane Ann Tourtellot

March 31, 1935 — January 19, 2022

Jane Ann Tourtellot, 86, of Grand Forks, ND, passed away on January 19, 2022, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

No local services are planned.   

Inurnment at a later date.

A reflection on the passing of Jane Tourtellot from Michael Fotta...

I met Jane Tourtellot within a few weeks of being appointed pastor for the Methodist Churches of Lake Como & Shehawken. My impression of Jane was that of a kindly older woman who, like most of her vintage, was cautious and reserved; first impressions may indeed fool us from time to time. 

The late, warm days of September 2017 persuaded me to walk down Como Road, into the post office, then home again. But, as I reached the Lake Como Church, a car horn was pulsating behind me, getting louder and louder with each honk and soon I was walking parallel with a rather irrepressible octogenarian in her open-aired, Chrysler convertible. This was the ‘real’ Jane Tourtellot: driving those country lanes with Bailey, her canine companion, blasting “40’s Junction” from Sirius XM, tapping her fingers while Glenn Miller Orchestra’s “In the Mood” had Jane Lindy-Hopping all over Northern Wayne County. Pulling up next to me that September, and wiping erstwhile soft-serve from her mouth, it seemed that ice cream happened to be central in her motoring excursions. That image is how I will always remember Jane. 

There were much sadder times too; hospital visits, rehab chats, sitting in her living room as she confessed her loneliness - how she wanted to be with Pete again. She grew increasingly sad as she lost her independence and as her health worsened. Through all of this, Jane’s faith remained unshakable; a worn-out Bible was always by her chair and there was little, if any, doubt that, through her faith in Jesus Christ, she would, sooner or later, be with her husband who himself was devoted to Our Lord. She would often ask me “why is God keeping me here?”, and, as she and I shared a mischievous sense of humor, I would usually reply that God was keeping her here on earth “to annoy good people like me.” Jane’s immediate burst of laughter always ended with her attempt to look serious as she scolded me - “oh, you’re a terrible one!” 

Before his death, Pete Tourtellot wished to be buried in the churchyard of his hometown - a small hamlet called Baldwinville, Massachusetts. It was always the plan that, as in life, his beloved wife’s body would find repose next to his. When Jane brought this subject up, she would laugh thinking that no one would be there to lay her to rest. “I’ll do it!”, I said. Of course she protested and perhaps wasn’t sure if I was being earnest. “I’m serious - even if I’m the only one there, I will drive to Massachusetts and conduct a graveside service of committal.” “You would?”, she replied. “Jane, whenever God takes you from this world to the next, I promise that I will preside over your burial - in fact, it would be an honor.” Tears welled up in both our eyes before she looked at me sideways, again with that mischievous grin; “you promise?” “I promise.” That promise for a friend and sister in Christ will be fulfilled on May 21st, 2022 in Baldwinville, Massachusetts, and I can hardly wait to do so. 

On that Day of Resurrection, when Christ comes to this earth again, when we will all be physically raised with perfect bodies, minds, and souls - on that day I will keep my eyes opened for Jane Tourtellot - ice cream in one hand, the other hand enlaced with Pete’s - jitterbugging, laughing, and Glorifying God together. We love you Jane.


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