Obituary of Jean W. Masters
Jean W. Masters, 95, Social Worker at Children's Hospital Rehab
1/10/24-4/2/19. It took fortitude, optimism, and a sense of adventure to board a ship and cross the Atlantic in late winter, leaving your family behind to begin a new life, but that's exactly what thousands of "War Brides" did in 1946. Jean was the first English war bride to arrive in East Aurora. She had made the arduous journey with her six month old daughter, Jennifer, to join her husband, Brad, whom she'd met while he was stationed with the Army Air Corp in Sherringham. Like so many others, they built a home and raised a large family, eventually settling in Amherst.
Born Jean Wilhelmina Dallas, the youngest of six children in northern London, her schoolteacher father died when she was only ten years old, and the family struggled financially. Jean was a brilliant student, earning scholarships to the prestigious Walthamstow School for Girls and eventually to St. Anne's College at Oxford University, where she graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Her education led her to the field of medical social work. She once explained that, having witnessed so much death and damage during the war, she felt compelled to help people deal with the aftermath. Physicians could heal physical wounds but people needed help adjusting to life once they were back home.
Jean began her career at the Children's Aid Society, travelling by bus from East Aurora into Buffalo, at a time when most women didn't work outside the home. She spent the majority of her professional life at the Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Center, under the leadership of Dr. Robert Warner, retiring in 1986. During her long and fulfilling career, she was a member of the Teen Parenting Task Force and past president of the Business and Professional Women's Association.
In addition to working full time, she played an active role in her community as a WEBLO boy scout leader. Her involvement with University Presbyterian Church endured over sixty years, serving as an Elder, a choir member, and a volunteer with their busy Food Pantry. In 2006, she and Brad were recognized by the Network of Religious Communities at their Annual Appreciation Dinner.
Although her husband Brad died in 2008, Jean is survived by her six children: Jennifer (Jack) Hensler, Nancy (Russell) Ghoston, Deborah Tonsoline, Brad (Kathryn) Masters, Sarah (Tom) Fitzpatrick, and Mark (Kedra) Masters, as well as 16 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations are gratefully accepted by the Robert Warner Rehab Center in her honor. Funeral arrangements will be private, with a celebration of her life to be scheduled in May.