Jeanne Margaret Smolka Kaye passed away on February 16, 2022, just two months shy of her 90th birthday.
Born and raised in Wilmington, DE, she attended Mt Pleasant High School and was class Salutatorian. She attended Temple University and worked as a dental hygienist for many years in the Wilmington area spending much of her career working for the firm now known as Dental Associates of Delaware.
Jeanne’s most important role was being a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and aunt. Faith and family were her trademarks. She married her husband Jim in 1954 just after hurricane Hazel hit the east coast. They quickly started a family and in the early years of their marriage lived in Asbury Park, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ before settling in north Wilmington where she resided for nearly 59 years. She loved to travel and enjoyed spending time at her Bethany Beach home.
Guided by her Catholic faith, Jeanne was a 59-year parishioner at St Mary Magdalen, a member of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality, volunteer at St Mary Magdalen school, CCD educator, Eucharistic Minister to the sick or infirmed, Cancer Society volunteer, Ministry of Caring Food Shelter volunteer. She participated in prayer groups and Holy Hours at St Mary Magdalen, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St Ann’s and St Hedwig’s parishes. A loyal and dedicated friend to many, she would always put the needs of others ahead of her own. If a family member, friend or neighbor needed help, Jeanne was there to prepare a meal, offer support and even her time if necessary.
Jeanne is predeceased by her husband Jim, parents, William and Anna Smolka, her brother Willy and sister Diane, her youngest daughter Jennifer Kaye McGaha, son-in-law John McGaha and grandson Ryan McGaha. She is survived by her siblings: Elaine Anisko, Valerie Whipple, Thomas Smolka and Carol Zaruba. Her children: Jimmy Kaye (Bridget), Ann Webster (John), Veronica O’Connor (Stefan), Chris Kaye (Debra), Diane Gunn (Dennis), Amy Lindsay. Her grandchildren; Daniel Kerrick, Matthew, Michael, Peter and Phillip Kaye; Katherine, Elizabeth, Chris, Andrew and Angela Webster; Nick, Jeanne, and Theresa O’Connor; Olivia Kaye, Grace, Michael and Daniel Bernardo; Blair and Carley Lindsay, and Rebecca and Cara McGaha. Her great-grandchildren, Isla, Naomi, Raelynn and Ruth.
The family wishes to recognize the care and support provided by the medical staff on 6 South at Wilmington Hospital. Special thanks to her many friends and neighbors in Blue Rock Manor who looked after our mother following the death of her husband. Special thanks to longtime friends in the St Mary Magdalen, IHM and St Hedwig’s parishes, her ‘Panera coffee gang’ and her dinner group who shared stories and laughter every week. Our mother led a long and happy life and was truly blessed to have so many friends!
A visitation will be held on Monday, February 21, 2022 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4701 Weldin Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 where a Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:30 a.m. Burial will be in St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery. Donations may be made in Jeanne’s name to the Emmanuel Dining Room - Ministry of Caring Wilmington DE and to St Hedwig’s parish Wilmington, DE. To send condolences visit: www.mccreryandharra.com.