SOUTH PORTLAND — Katherine Beatrice (Willwerth) Jaques died July 27, shortly before her 91st birthday.
She was born in Portland on Aug. 5, 1923, the third of four children of Mary J. (Quinn) and Wendell L. Willwerth, of South Portland.
She learned the value of hard work and the importance of charity at an early age. During the Great Depression, the family helped neighbors who were having difficulty making ends meet. The lessons of her upbringing would have a lifelong influence.
Jaques was educated in South Portland schools and at St. Joseph’s College, and then worked in the South Portland naval shipyard as a secretary. After World War II, she taught at the North School in Portland, and often brought bags of clothing to school for its many underprivileged students.
During this time, she met and married John F. Jaques, one of the first professors at Portland Junior College, the predecessor of the University of Southern Maine. It was said that the couple met after John moved aside books on a public library shelf and saw Kay in the next aisle.
The couple were avid gardeners and were active in politics, especially in their support of Edmund Muskie. Proud of her Irish and German heritage, Jaques knew a few choice words in Gaelic and often told stories of her hard-working immigrant ancestors.
Her favorite time was that spent with her family. Jaques cherished her three children, John, Mary Jo, and Katherine. Many fond memories were created around seasonal celebrations and annual car trips along the Maine mid-coast.
Jaques is predeceased by her husband of 55 years, John; her two sisters, Mary J. Walsh and Dorothy E. Willwerth; and her brother, William T. Willwerth.
She is survived by her son, John W. Jaques, and wife Lisa, of Windham; daughter, Mary Jo Daigle, and husband, Robert, of Arundel, and daughter Katie Sharma; daughter, Katherine A. Peary, and husband, David, of South Portland, and his children, Stephen Peary and family, of Gorham, Beth Peary, of South Portland, and Yanni Peary, of Brooklyn, New York; grandchildren, Lindsay Jaques and wife, Nichole Gulliver, of Sebago, and daughter, Scout, and Nathan Jaques of Medford, Massachusetts; sister-in-law, Betty Willwerth, of Cape Elizabeth; many nieces and nephews; and friend and confidant, Cheryl Houde.
The family would like to thank the dedicated staff of The Cedars of Portland for the exceptional care they provided Jaques in the final months of her life.
Visitation and a memorial service were held July 31.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the City of South Portland, Bug Light Park/Parks and Recreation, 25 Cottage Road, P.O. Box 9422, South Portland, ME 04106.