Jane Butterworth Riegel, 108, died Jan. 24


Jane Butterworth Riegel, 108, died Wednesday, Jan. 24. Daughter of Charles Melcher Butterworth and Mary Keeler, she was born Jan. 14, 1910, in Philadelphia, Pa. She was predeceased by her husband O.W. (Tom) Riegel and has lived in Lexington and Rockbridge County since 1930.

Jane is survived by five children: Kurt, Cordelia (Dee) Bingham, Hunt, Mark and Quentin, the spouses and two ex-spouses of her five children, 15 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

In addition to raising her family, Jane always welcomed and enjoyed the company of her many acquaintances and maintained a network of enduring friendships. Jane's primary interests were travel, art, music and bridge. Gardening provided unending supplies of food and lovely gardens surrounding her home “Gulchleigh” near Glasgow. Her travels began when she moved from Philadelphia to New York, finally settling in Lexington.

Various excursions took her to different parts of North and Central America, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China. She documented her travels through extensive detailed diaries including a number of sketches, and watercolors, which were inspirations for oil paintings. Her art has been displayed in many group exhibitions.

In addition to the visual arts, Jane loved classical music and could often be heard playing some of her favorite piano pieces (Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff). She had a passion for Bridge, a game she played throughout her life with aplomb and finesse.

Jane was a faithful supporter of W&L and its cultural activities, and a contributor to many Lexington and Rockbridge County charitable and non-profit organizations. She was a regular listener and contributor to National Public Radio and public television stations.

Jane cherished her life and her family celebrates that life and gives thanks for her unfailing kindnesses. She was of the old school that emphasized warmth, joy and support for family, and will be sorely missed both as a constant model of family cohesiveness and as one who loved the experiences she felt lucky enough to share with her children.

On the 50th anniversary of their marriage, Tom wrote of Jane, “Her presence shines through, with an echo, for those who can hear it, of the gaiety of her laughter ... She is warmth, vitality, perception, loving and caring tenderness, and, always, generosity. She is totally without meanness. Her quick laugh springs from a spirit that is condemned to be eternally young, with the true gaiety and innocence which to me are the magic of life.”

Unassuming and keen on propriety in communications, she was once heard interrupting one of her sons in a public meeting during his run for the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors to tell him to “stand up so the people will know who is talking.”

Memorial observance will be private. In lieu of flowers Jane would have appreciated your keeping the volunteer rescue squads, fire departments and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in your thoughts.



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