Jane Hersch departed this earth on March 21, 2020. Born in Bristol, Virginia, she made the long trek across town to Tennessee as soon as possible. The only child of Claude and Eva Buckles, she grew up in Bristol, Tennessee, and attended Tennessee High School.
After graduating in 1962, she attended the University of Tennessee, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in American history, as well as social studies, and where her love of learning was rivaled only by her love of Tennessee football. She went on to earn a master's degree in library science at the Peabody School of Library Science at Vanderbilt University, and a master's degree in history at West Georgia College, where she met her husband, Bob Hersch, whom she married in 1971.
After teaching in several locations (the plight of every professor), her son, Bill, was born in Greeneville in 1978, while Bob taught Latin American history at Tusculum College. In 1980, she and her family moved to a historic house in Maxton, North Carolina, where she became the librarian at West Robeson High School (now Purnell Swett High School), a position she held for several decades. During her time at Purnell Swett, she touched thousands of lives and inspired her pupils to continually seek knowledge, an endeavor from which she never strayed. She always had time for students who sought to expand their minds, and was quick to guide them to the resources that would put them on the right track. The number of students who remember her after graduating is staggering.
She was heavily involved in many civic and municipal organizations in Maxton, including the Maxton Planning and Zoning Board, the Presbyterian Women's Circle, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Red Hat Club, multiple book clubs, the library board, various other organizations and, her most beloved contribution, the Maxton Historical Society. As a result, she became a key player in maintaining the town's unique culture and history. She was also an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Maxton. During her time in Maxton, she faithfully restored the old house, showcasing her love of historic preservation.
After her husband passed away in 1989, she raised her son on her own. When she retired, she relocated back to her native East Tennessee, to Morristown, where she could be closer to the mountains and friends she held so dear to her heart, and where her love of Tennessee football was more accepted. She wasted no time in joining the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, as well as every civic organization in town, including the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter of the DAR; an associate member of the Nolachuckey Chapter of the DAR; the Abner Baker Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy; the Thomas Ogle Chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812; Soma Sala; various quilt guilds and book clubs; the Red Hat Club; and was a patron of the Rose Center. Her dedication, generosity and affable personality earned her many friends to whom she was very loyal.
She is preceded in death by her mother, Eva Rhea Buckles; her father, Claude James Buckles; and her husband, Robert Conrad Hersch.
She is survived by her son, William Preston “Bill” Hersch; her daughter-in-law, Ana Elizabeth Casso (Liz); her sister-in-law, Louise Nellegar; her nephew, Tony Lazaar; her niece, Allison Lazaar Busam; and their children. She is also survived by many friends. She will be sorely missed.
Due to the pandemic, a small, private graveside service will be held in Bristol on Saturday; however, a larger memorial celebrating her life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Library Association, the Daughters of the American Revolution, UT Hospice, First Presbyterian Church of Morristown, or a charity of choice.
Arrangements by Mayes Mortuary