Cover photo for Sarah Jane Lentz's Obituary
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1937 Sarah 2023

Sarah Jane Lentz

November 16, 1937 — October 17, 2023


Sarah Jane Lentz died Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at home in The Pines of Davidson. She was 85. She was the middle child of Adaline (Yost) and Harry Updegrove, both of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, wife of 61 years to Ronald James Lentz, also of Shamokin, and mother to Connie Jane Wessner of Davidson, North Carolina.

Growing up in Shamokin, Jane immersed herself in the life of her small coal mining community and was a devoted friend to anyone in her orbit. Family lore has it that, even as a young girl, she had a keenly honed sense of justice and equity that recognized and responded to unmet need in the lives of her friends and neighbors. From passing on a favorite, but outgrown coat to a classmate to asking that her parents consider adopting a friend whose family struggled, Jane shared what she had without hesitation.

Her intuitive ability to connect with people made her a natural leader among her classmates. In high school she earned a spot on the cheer squad even after being passed over in a previous tryout, played basketball despite her diminutive height, served as the Class of 1955 secretary, and was named May Queen by her classmates. Her lack of ego led her to step into all of these roles with a grace that was her hallmark.

Jane was a daughter of Shamokin, but an even more deeply devoted transplant in Washington, DC, the city she called home for most of her adult life. She had her first taste of city life, moving at 17 with four high-school friends to Wyoming Ave, NW after graduation and working in the FBI’s fingerprint and identification division. She returned briefly to Shamokin some years later, where she and Ron began dating and eventually married before deciding to move back to Washington to raise their daughter.

In the ensuing years, Jane led Brownie troops and volunteered in school libraries and classrooms before returning to work as a secretary for the WC and AN Miller Development Companies. Never one to stop learning, Jane studied calligraphy, took up quilting, and hosted book and crafting clubs. She loved a parade—especially the Sousa marches. She relished the Fourth of July fireworks over the Washington Monument—particularly when the National Symphony struck up The Washington Post March. She tolerated her husband’s and daughter’s devotion to the Washington football team on Sundays and the greasy pizza of Mario’s on River Road they both insisted went with those game days. She was overjoyed when Talbot’s opened in Spring Valley—and deeply relieved to find one near Davidson many years later. She was an unabashed cheerleader for Connie—even during those difficult teen years. That loyalty redoubled with far greater returns in later years as she became the number one fan of her grandson Ian—no matter what he did.

Jane will be deeply missed by her husband Ron, daughter Connie and son-in-law Dave Wessner, as well as her grandson Ian Wessner and her surviving brother Ralph and sister-in-law Judy (Lubnow) Updegrove of Midlothian, Virginia and their family. She leaves three nephews and three nieces, an array of great-nieces and -nephews, and countless graduates of  schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina who felt connected to her as family. Jane’s immediate family asks that memorials be sent to The Pines Benevolence Fund, Shamokin High School Alumni Association, Hospice and Palliative Care of Lake Norman, or Davidson Housing Coalition.

The family will organize a memorial service at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sarah Jane Lentz, please visit our flower store.


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