Jean (Taddia) Savaria, 93, died Saturday, September 26, 2020. Jean was born on June 27, 1927, and spent most of her life in West Springfield, MA. Recently, she was a resident of Armbrook Village in Westfield, MA. After graduating from West Springfield High School in 1945, Jean entered the Springfield Hospital School of Nursing and the US Cadet Nurse Corps. By the time she had received her R.N. certificate in 1949, World War II was over. Nevertheless, she and the other Cadet Nurses were recently recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for answering the call to serve their country in a time of severe nurse shortage. In 1980, Jean earned an associate degree in science from Springfield Technical Community College, after which she studied further at the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Throughout her life, Jean kept in touch with her nursing school classmates and attended many high school reunions.
Jean met her husband, Theodore W. (“Ted”) Savaria, at the West Springfield YMCA. After Jean and Ted were married on October 9, 1948, they enjoyed 55 years together until Ted’s death in 2004. Although their home on Johnson Street was the perfect size for a family of five, they did not hesitate to open it to people in need.
Jean was as proud of her nursing career as she was of her family. After working as a pediatric nurse at Springfield Hospital, she served as “nurse to the nurses” in the school of nursing. She later became a school nurse and worked in the West Springfield, MA, school system for 25 years. Jean also worked as the camp nurse for the Springfield Girls Club Camp Mishnoah in Holland, MA.
Even though she was a working mother, Jean did all of the things for her family that the stay-at-home mothers did. When her daughters were young, Jean became a Girl Scout leader and accompanied the troop on overnight camping trips and when they went caroling and delivered home-baked Christmas cookies to the elderly. She was also an expert seamstress and made her own tailored suits and coats, plus a wedding gown, several bridesmaid’s dresses, and a trousseau for her daughter Melinda’s wedding. Though cooking was not her favorite pastime, she was always asked to contribute her Boston Baked Beans to family celebrations.
Jean and Ted spent many idyllic summers at their camp at Baker Pond in Dudley, MA, often in the company of their grandchildren.
As retirees, Jean and Ted joined the West Springfield Senior Center where they participated in travel programs and where Jean took exercise and dance classes. For years, Jean performed around the area with the West Side Tappers.
Faith was important in Jean’s life. She was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Springfield, where she attended daily Mass for many years. She will be buried next to her husband in St. Thomas Cemetery.
Jean is survived by her three children: Melinda Giustina and her husband Robert, Martha Morris and her husband Wesley, and Stephen Savaria and his wife Katie McGrath O’Connell, as well as her four grandchildren: Janine Giustina and her husband Ross Graffman, Lauren Savaria, Christian Savaria and his wife Ashley, and Martha Savaria. She also leaves four great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband, Jean was preceded in death by her sister Geneva (Taddia) Springer and her brothers George and Julius Taddia, who died in infancy.
A memorial Mass and gathering in celebration of Jean’s life will be held at a later date.
Thanks to the Staff of Armbrook Village, especially Kara Wadlegger, former Wellness Nurse, for their care during these unprecedented times.
Memorial contributions in Jean’s name may be made to the West Springfield Senior Center, 128 Park Street, West Springfield, MA, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, https://www.agbell.org/Donate, or the American Nurses Foundation https://www.nursingworld.org/foundaWon/donate/honor-a-nurse.
All arrangements are being handled by Toomey-O’Brien Funeral Home in West Springfield.
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