Sara Jane App Tupin
March 29, 1927 – May 6, 2016
Sara Jane App Tupin, age 89, of Newark, went home to her God on May 6, 2016.
Sara Jane was born in Schaefferstown, PA, March 29. 1927, the only child of the late Jennie Hickernell App, town Postmaster and the late Harry Edward App, Storekeeper/Gauger for the Alcohol Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service. A few years later they moved to Philadelphia, to a house on Large Street. At age 10 she was made a life member of the Lutheran Women in Mission. Later she and her parents moved to a house in the Wyndmoor suburb of Philadelphia. She was a proud graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls, where she was one of the youngest graduates of her class. She briefly attended Gettysburg College. She received her BA degree from Temple University in 1949 and an MA in English from Penn State University in 1951. She remained a loyal alum of Penn State throughout her life. At Penn State she met Parker Eugene Tupin. Two girls dad knew asked him to join them and a third friend he didn’t know for a bridge game. The third girl was Sara Jane. They hit it off immediately.
After graduating from Temple, she taught English and journalism at North Wales High School. She was the faculty advisor to the North Wales HS yearbook.
Gene and Sara Jane were married in Philadelphia on June 16, 1951 at noon in Grace Lutheran Church, a block from her parents’ house. The reception was held outdoors at Old Mill Manor in Ambler, PA on a beautiful sunny day. After the honeymoon, Gene went to Texas to fulfill his Air Force obligation while Sara Jane finished her last few credits at PSU before joining him.
Together they had four children: Edward Anthony, born August 22, 1952; Jane Louise, born February 24, 1954; Nancy Jean Jensen (Paul), born January 25, 1956 and Joan Elizabeth (David) Tupin-Crites, born May 23, 1959.
The Air Force sent Gene from Lackland AFB in San Antonio to Biloxi, MS. Sara Jane learned how to make pecan pie (when they grow in your yard, you use them!) Another AF reassignment to Ellington AFB landed them in Houston, TX, where Ed was born. Once Gene’s service obligation was completed they moved to Newark, DE and Gene started his career with Chrysler. A short while later Gene took a job in Milwaukee, WI. Sara Jane stayed in Philadelphia to deliver baby Jane, then took the baby and toddler on the long train ride from Philadelphia to Chicago, where Gene met them. While in Milwaukee she had her first plane ride (with two small children) as she and Gene flew to Pittsburgh and back to visit Gene’s dying aunt.
After a year, they returned to Newark and resettled into the first of their four houses in town. With a growing family (now four children) they moved to their second house in 1960. Her mother and father moved from Philadelphia to a house a few blocks away. Sara Jane became a substitute teacher for the Newark School District. Though primarily an English and Latin teacher, she also taught many other subjects, including boy’s gym during her career.
After her father died, the family moved to the third house, an old, 6 bedroom, three story Dutch colonial and her mother moved in with everyone. She was a busy Mom, raising four children, taking them here and there, chaperoning school trips, and serving as adult leader for Cub Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts throughout the 60’s. She also supported her children’s paper routes, band concerts and first jobs. High school and college graduations followed. The family took many summer vacation trips, including several to the west coast. Mom handled all the logistics of managing four children, meals, water, and entertainment during the drives. Somehow she also managed to find time to knit and sew, making sweaters for herself and others, and quilts for Lutheran World Relief.
Sara Jane enjoyed volunteering at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where she and her family participated in the full life of the church. She taught Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and confirmation classes. She and Gene were advisors to the youth group and sang in the church choir. She was an active participant in the Lutheran Church Women. Sara Jane was also an active member of the Evangelism Committee, reaching out to new arrivals in Newark. Some years later she made use of living near the office of John Keating, then regional director of Campus Ministry for the Lutheran Church, and through her multiple visits, helped convince John that he was needed as pastor at St. Paul’s.
Mom took a break from teaching to prepare for her mother’s 90th birthday celebration February 18, 1976. Afterwards she felt extremely tired and eventually consented to go to the doctor. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – ALL, the kind kids get. She received excellent care and was released from the hospital a week later. Shortly thereafter she suffered a leukemic stroke and was in the hospital again. She was comatose and near death for a week. On her 25th wedding anniversary she was finally well enough to go home from the hospital. Her stated goal was to get well and take care of her husband and family again. It took almost a year, but she recovered remarkably, and was able to do all that and more. She outlived all but two of the many doctors who had primary responsibility for her diagnosis and treatment.
With the children grown and out of the house, Sara Jane and Gene realized a few of their dreams, such as a cruise to Bermuda and several Elder Hostel trips. They also moved once more to a ranch style house that Gene designed and helped supervise construction. Throughout these years there were nearly yearly reunions of the families of herself and a few other girls from her Sunday school class at St. James Lutheran Church.
Sara Jane’s love for language manifested itself in the daily entries in her diaries. She regularly wrote about the day’s events, whatever they were, up until her second stroke in July of 2003 left her physically unable to write, as it took away the control over her right hand. She continued to do as much as she could, pointing out that a lot of people were left handed. This second stroke also took away her ability to walk, as she needed a walker after this. In 2008, after a fall, she became totally confined to a wheel chair, able to walk at most a few steps with help and support. This was most difficult for her, as she was now dependent upon others for everything, while up to that point she had been the one who took care of everybody around her – family, friends, church and students. She had time to become a more avid reader, particularly of biographies of world leaders.
She was a 50+ year member of Daughters of the American Revolution, Cooch’s Bridge Chapter. She also supported her children’s activities with the accompanying Children of the American Revolution Chapter. She was a lifelong baseball fan, regularly attending (then Philadelphia) Athletics games while growing up in Philadelphia. Once the Athletics departed, she switched her allegiance to the Phillies. In her later years, her health issues confined her to watching Phillies and Washington Nationals games on TV.
Sara Jane is survived by her husband of nearly 65 years, Parker Eugene Tupin and 4 children, Edward, Jane, Nancy (Paul) Jensen and Joan (David) Tupin-Crites.
Friends may call from 6 pm until 8 pm at the Spicer Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE on Monday evening, May 9, 2016. A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Tuesday morning, May 10, 2016 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 701 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19713, where a second visitation will be held from 10 am until 11 am. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Memorial Fund at the address listed above.