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March 20 Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley
Jane Connelly Reisig Hansel
Jane Connelly Reisig Hansel passed away to be with her Lord on March 22, 2018. She is so glad to be able to finally talk directly with him! She was known to many of her students as Jane Poor.
Jane was born on Easter Sunday on April 16, 1933. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lester Connelly and Pearl Connelly; and brother, Joe Connelly. And all now will be joined at Piney Grove Cemetery.
Jane was born and raised in the Swannanoa Valley and was always very proud of her heritage which is connected through Pearl Gaston Harkins (her mother), with these families who are of historical note in Buncombe County: Hershel Harkins, the former sheriff of Buncombe County, and Tom Harkins, a well-known attorney and Grand Master in Washington, DC (honored) at the Masonic Temple in Asheville. Jane’s father (Sweetie) had family roots in the Swannanoa Valley and the farm where he was raised was located where National Wiper Company is located today. These two parents instilled in Jane a certain work ethic which she adhered to until her passing. Also, a love and pride of family. Jane married Steve Hansel on June 7, 1981 (good move!).
Jane attended Lee Edwards High School and always returned with the group for reunions of her graduating class. She completed undergrad studies at Greensboro College with a major in Social Studies and Religion; Masters Study at Asheville Biltmore and UNC-Greensboro in Education.
The experience of teaching was what made up a great deal of Jane’s life. She challenged her students, and the relationships with them meant so much to her and her career. She garnered a wide range of experience not only with teaching but being chosen as Director of Head Start in Buncombe and Madison Counties so that with that program she was able to start up these programs under OEO.
It became necessary for Jane to take her four children to Greensboro and seek a teaching job there and raise her children in a place that higher education would be available. This was the time of integration of the Greensboro City Schools and Jane played an active part in that movement and was elected to represent educators in Greensboro and Guildford Counties. Jane received recognition from her peers with several awards, one of which was Teacher of the Year, another Terry Sanford state runner up.
Later on, other experience came with the integration of Greensboro City Schools, High Point Schools, and Guildford County Schools. Jane was an elected educational leader of NCAE/NEA during these times. In 1979, she was hired as NCAE/NEA UniServ Director for the area which later on included Alamance County, Rockingham County and Stokes County. During that time, she worked with five other colleagues to develop the NC Teacher Cadet Program. After retirement, Jane worked with the North Carolina Retired School Personnel division of NCAE/NEA as President in Buncombe County.
In 1991, Jane and Steve became very involved in mission work through the First Presbyterian Church, Greensboro. Jane was able to volunteer and become part of many mission trips to Mwandi, Zambia and become involved in helping to build the Teaching Learning Center there and refurbish the hospital. She served for many years on the Mwandi Board of Directors with close ties to this project. Both Steve and Jane became part of the mission team to go to Malawi and assist in efforts there with Dr. Barbara Nagy and the hospital. Later on, they assisted with efforts to help with the teachers and students at the school there. Both Steve and Jane were also involved in mission efforts and traveled to Peru. These experiences meant so much to Jane and Steve, who continued their efforts with these missions after retirement.
The “Lil Church on the Hill,” First Presbyterian Church of Swannanoa, was an important part of Jane’s life after retirement in 2003 and will be recognized as her final resting place as she becomes part of the Connelly plots in Piney Grove Cemetery.
Jane is survived by her husband, Steve Hansel; children, Kim Weintraub, Robert Reisig Jr. (Kelly), Paula Jane Ruis (Allen), and Betsy Bullins (Tim), sister, Dale Ann Caldwell (Tim); grandchildren, Ashley Ellington (Cleve), Joe Bullins (Kirstin), Ashley Ruis, Bluu Reine, Thomas Reisig, David Reisig, George Reisig, and William Reisig; great grandchildren, Kayden, Owen, and Gabriel; niece, Lorrie; and nephews, Timmy, Jonathan and Phillip.
The family received friends, Monday, March 26, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at Harwood Home for Funerals. A Celebration of Life Service was held Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Swannanoa. A reception immediately followed the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hand In Hand, PO Box 764, Black Mountain NC 28711 or Mission Funds through Western NC Presbytery, 114 Silver Creek Road, Morganton, NC 28655 or Montreat Presbyterian Church, PO Box 577, Montreat, NC 28757.
Arrangements are by Harwood Home for Funerals, harwoodhomeforfunerals.com.