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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Jane Ann Gereghty

The world lost a beloved wife, mother, friend, teacher, and mentor when Jane Ann Gereghty (nee Brewer) passed away in her home on Shelter Island on Oct. 21, 2023. She was surrounded by family and love as she embarked on the next leg of her journey. 

Raised in Garden City, Jane was born on Sept. 20, 1950, to Chauncey and Gertrude Brewer, the second of six children. But, as her younger brother said, Jane ran the second floor of their childhood home. 

Jane’s life was a love story wrapped in a fairy tale. She always said she felt like Cinderella when she married James (Jim) Gerard Gereghty on Aug. 9, 1969. She devoted her life to her family, and, through her unyielding support, Jane provided a platform for future success for her husband and children.

She found joy in horseback riding, peace in faith, and purpose in education first as an aide and later as a teacher. Jane graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education with a specialization in Special Education.

She taught in the Fairfield, Conn. school system, sharing knowledge, providing structure and discipline, and demanding excellence from her students beyond their expectations. Jane revered the title “Teacher” and took its etymological history to heart as she guided her students through lessons in learning and in life.

Jane was a quiet force whose tough exterior and rigidity to rules was softened by an exuberant enjoyment of life, laughter, and song. She thrived in conversation, eager to engage and listen with vivid attention. When something tickled her, her laugh, described by her son as a “belly-busting guffaw,” could be heard across the room. In addition to her devotion to others and joie de vivre, Jane is probably best known for her singing voice.

Whether an Irish ballad, a Christmas carol or a modern classic, whether she knew the words or never heard the song before, Jane’s beautiful soprano could light up a room, bring a tear to the eye, and sometimes even both.

More recently, she returned to the Island upon which her fairy tale began, where she could be found dancing to live music at SALT, playing cards and games at the Shelter Island Senior Center, and tutoring and mentoring the youth of the Island through 2Rs4Fun.

As Jane said to her daughter, she preferred to share her presence rather than give presents, and her presence was felt in her deep love of her family. This love will carry on through her husband of 54 years, James Gerard Gereghty and her children: James Gerard Gereghty Jr. (Elizabeth Whitmer Gereghty); Dana Gereghty Romanosky (Jason Joseph Romanosky); and Meghan Gereghty Shanley (Casey Finnerty Shanley); and her grandchildren: Margaret Reid Gereghty, William Whitmer Gereghty, Jameson Richard Gereghty, Hayes Caroline Romanosky, Eden Anna Romanosky, Tanner Jane Shanley, Paige Davis Shanley, Piper Laura Shanley and Reade James Shanley.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Jane Gereghty to the Shelter Island Senior Center.  Please make any contributions payable to: Senior Citizens Foundation of Shelter Island, Inc., P.O. Box 352, Shelter Island, NY 11964.