Jessie N. Casavant passed on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 after an extended illness. She was born in Granville, New York, on Dec. 21, 1940, to George K. and Evelyn (Smith) Norton. Jessie is survived by her husband Paul of 59 years, a daughter Kristin (Rob) Eiben of Scottsdale, Arizona, a son Kevin (Debbie) and beloved grandchildren Jack and Anna Casavant of Syracuse, New York, sister Christina Donohue, brother George (Barbara) Norton and numerous cousins and other relatives in the Granville and Vermont area. She was predeceased by her parents as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins from Granville and nearby Vermont.
Jessie attended school in Granville, New York, where she was extremely active in music and sports. She played violin in the school orchestra, was drum majorette in the school marching band and applied her major skills on the piano, accompanying the school chorus. She sang in her church choir and played piano and sang at various area events during her high school years.
Following high school graduation in 1958 she pursued her love of music and enrolled in the New York State University at Potsdam Crane School of Music. She was a piano major and received her bachelor’s degree in music education and New York State certification in music K-12.
Jessie met the love of her life and future husband Paul during her freshman year at Potsdam, and they were married two months after graduation in 1962. After college graduation and marriage, Jessie and her new husband moved to Syracuse. It was in Syracuse where she began her career. With her NYS certification in music she was a teacher in the North Syracuse Lakeshore Road Elementary School where she worked for eight years. With the birth of her first child in 1970 she chose to stay at home until both her children were in school. During this time she gave private piano lessons from home and did some limited substitute teaching.
Once her children were in school full-time she completed graduate-level courses at Syracuse University to obtain additional NYS certification in regular education. She began this new career in the Syracuse City Schools teaching first grade. She continued in the Syracuse City Schools for the next 32 years until her retirement.
During this time she taught first, third, fourth and fifth grade, math lab, English and performing arts, gifted and talented, and served as an instructional specialist in the gifted program.
In addition to her regular teaching duties Jessie was active in a wide range of teacher union activities. She also provided in-service training for teachers.
In her “free” time Jessie most enjoyed time with her family and occasional travels to warmer climates. She was an avid reader and an exceptional cook. Jessie also enjoyed crafts, sewing, gardening, golf and bridge.
The summer home on the shores of Otisco Lake afforded Jess and her family unending time to enjoy swimming, motor-boating, sailing, kayaking and a wide range of water sports including fishing and water skiing. In between all those “strenuous” activities there was always time for a glass of wine (or two) while watching breathtaking sunsets over the lake.
Jessie was active in her churches in Syracuse and Granville, where she and Paul moved in 2008. In both churches she served on many committees, taught Sunday school and sang in church and local choirs. She also organized and conducted handbell choirs that performed regularly in church and at various functions in both communities.
In Granville she also was very active in Eastern Star where she served as Matron and in many other capacities at Slate Valley Chapter #122, Order of the Eastern Star. She was selected as New York State Grand Musician in 2013. As Grand Musician she traveled with the NYS Grand Matron in her visitations to chapters across the State of New York, providing the music required.
Her love for others, outstanding sense of humor and quick wit will be sorely missed by the very many who called her a friend.
Funeral services were conducted on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m., at the Robert M. King Funeral Home, 23 Church St. in Granville with Reverend Jerry McKinney, pastor of the United Church of Granville, officiating. Calling hours were from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday prior to the service. Members of Slate Valley Chapter #122, O.E.S., conducted a memorial service at the funeral home at 3:45 p.m.
To leave an online condolence, visit robertmkingfuneralhome.com.
Contributions in Jessie’s memory may be made to the Slate Valley Chapter #122, c/o Lois Warner, 2 Munson Dr., Granville, NY 12832, the South Granville Congregational Church, PO Box 225, Granville, NY 12832 or Haynes House of Hope, 7187 State Route 149, Granville, NY 12832.