Jean Ann (Herman) Brindle, 74, a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, and teacher to thousands of central New Jersey students, formerly of Lawrenceville, N.J., died unexpectedly at her home in Longwood, Fla. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020.
Jean had a unique blend of warmth, wit, and quiet stoicism, personality traits undoubtedly rooted in her Finnish heritage and cultivated by her late parents, Aili and T. August “Gus” Herman. Jean was born June 2, 1946, in Newark, N.J. and grew up with her sister, Bette, in Springfield, N.J.
Her personal and professional life changed forever when she decided to attend Trenton State College, where she earned a degree in elementary education. Due to a dorm shortage, Jean found off-campus housing in a
nearby home. The host family’s son, Mike Brindle, was off at Glassboro (Rowan) State College, but she soon became friends with Mike’s sister Tori.
Eventually, Mike started coming home a lot on weekends – to see the girl who was staying in his room – and a 50-year love story began. They were married on Aug. 17, 1968, just after Jean’s graduation.
Jean began her teaching career in Whitehouse Station, N.J. She pored over lesson plans meticulously – all written in her perfect cursive handwriting. She had a flair for creative arts, and she could command a classroom of rambunctious youngsters with one of her signature glares.
After five years off to stay home with her newborn daughter Janet starting in 1974, Jean returned to the classroom in Hopewell Valley, N.J., where she taught at Bear Tavern School and Toll Gate (Grammar) School. She inspired generations of students, staging the Greek Olympics, diagramming sentences, and teaching both Gifted & Talented and Special Needs classes until her retirement in 2006.
One of Jean’s favorite times each year was the week in August spent with her sister in North Wildwood, N.J., until Bette’s death in 2012.
Jean and Mike made the most of their time off, rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies and traveling the world on cruise ships to ports as distant as St. Petersburg, Russia, the Mediterranean Sea, and her favorite – Magens Bay in St. John, Virgin Islands. She had a favorite slot machine at the Paris casino in Las Vegas and several Atlantic City casinos. They were married for 46 years until his death in 2015. She missed him every day since.
Shortly after Mike’s death, Jean moved to Florida, where she spent five years spoiling Janet and her husband Jay, who she loved like a son. Jean’s first in-state purchase was a Disney Annual Pass. She took up adult coloring, channeled her vast vocabulary into a Words With Friends habit, and despite Janet’s gentle teasing, began following one of Jay’s interests: professional wrestling.
Celebrating her life are her daughter Janet Brindle Reddick and husband, Jay, of Orlando, Fla.; sister-in-law Tori Socha of Yardley, Pa.; niece, Jennifer Richardson and husband, David, and daughter, Ella, of Morrisville, Pa.; niece, Christine Hunt and husband, Shawn, and children, Ryan and Hailey, of Hillsborough, N.J.; and nephew, Mark Janutolo and partner Allison Trabb, and children, Mackenzie and Corey, of Hillsborough, N.J.
A remembrance will be held sometime in Summer 2021 in New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to honor Jean with simple acts of kindness or a donation to your favorite charity in her name.