Jeanne M. Van Auken, long-time resident of Sandy Pond and Canton, NY, passed away on July 25. Born in 1935, Jeanne was the daughter of Robert and June (Sherman) Mettler. She was raised in South Otselic, NY and moved to Syracuse to work in the city. In her work at Merchants National Bank, she met Arthur Van Auken, whom she married in 1956, and who preceded her in death in 1995. Arthur and Jeanne made their home in Syracuse while Arthur was the athletic trainer for the Syracuse Nationals NBA team. When the team moved from Syracuse, Arthur became the trainer at Alfred University, and then St. Lawrence University.
Jeanne enjoyed university life immensely. In Alfred, she took ceramics classes and created many beautiful pottery pieces. After moving to Canton, she worked for the university bookstore, and then for many years as the secretary in the Environmental Studies Department at St. Lawrence University. Jeanne was a life-long reader and enjoyed books of all kinds. She shared her love of reading with her children and grandchildren, first reading to them, and then by sharing her own best-loved books. She also loved nature and spent many hours walking in quiet places to observe flowers, plants, birds and animals. Jeanne and Arthur purchased a family cottage near Lake Ontario in 1963, and this added to their mutual enjoyment of nature and observation of the ever-changing pond life. Jeanne also had many beloved cats over the years. The Van Auken's cats were always part of the family.
Throughout their marriage, Jeanne and Arthur collected antiques. Many a Sunday drive was had throughout the North Country! In the early 1970s, they purchased and restored a one-room schoolhouse near their cottage. They shared a passion for history, and Jeanne especially enjoyed collecting antique dishes, which included all types of porcelain, pottery, glass and tableware. Although she didn't need any more dishes, she continued buying antique dishes (sometimes secretly) until recently.
In addition to working outside the home, Jeanne was a consummate homemaker. She sewed and knitted clothing for her children and grandchildren, was a wonderful cook, and an exceptional hostess. She and Arthur loved entertaining, and welcomed friends at their home and cottage regularly.
Most importantly, Jeanne will always be remembered for her kind and gracious nature, which she shared with all. From her birth to her death, she quietly created a sweet and calming presence for all who knew and loved her. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends all over the North Country and Central NY, in Germany, and on Hilton Head where she spent several months each year.
Jeanne is survived by her two daughters, Sharon Van Auken (Michael Scheer) and Susan Marancik (Peter), and two grandchildren, Anthony Miller and Alexander Marancik. She is also survived by her sister, Shirley Knickerbocker, and brothers Dennis Bunting (Jessica), and Jerry Bunting (Dorothy), as well as many nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, Arthur, she was predeceased by her parents, brother, Larry S. Mettler who died in 1966 while serving during the Vietnam War, her brother-in-law, Clesson Knickerbocker, and niece Patti Ryfun.
In light of the current climate, the funeral service will be private. The M. B. Clark, Inc., Funeral Home in Lake Placid, NY is in charge of arrangements. When it is safe to gather again, we will hold a celebration of Jeanne's life and legacy for all of our family and friends. Jeanne was kind, loving, and always thoughtful; everyone loved her like she was their Mom. There is much to celebrate!
If you wish to donate in honor of Jeanne and her life, the family requests that you make a charitable donation in her name to the St. Lawrence County Historical Society or to The Sandy Pond Sportsmen's Association, P.O. Box 154 Sandy Creek, NY 13145.
Relatives and friends are invited to share a memory, Upload a photograph, or leave condolences at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com .
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