Faith Jerome, 76, of Cherry Hill, a longtime nurse and member of the township's school board, died Monday, Dec. 22, at home of pancreatic cancer.
When a local school was slated to close in the early 1980s, a friend persuaded Mrs. Jerome to run for the Cherry Hill school board.
Fifteen years later, when she decided against seeking a sixth term, former board member James Marino told The Inquirer that "she has great integrity. . . . I can't think of a decision she ever made that she didn't feel she was doing in the best interest of the children of Cherry Hill."
A registered nurse, Mrs. Jerome worked at St. Mary's Catholic Home, a nursing home in Cherry Hill, for three decades before retiring.
Her husband, Jerry, said his wife worked at the nursing home starting in 1969 while friends took better-paying hospital jobs, "because she was a very, very compassionate person. It wasn't about the money. She wanted to work there."
Jerry Jerome met his wife of 53 years on a blind date in 1959.
A friend had asked Faith Chamberlain, then a nursing student at the University of Pennsylvania, if she would double date so the couple would have a car for a drive-in movie in Clifton Heights.
It was meant to be a one-time thing, her husband said, but that favor turned into a series of dates, and Faith Chamberlain, who had graduated in 1960, became Faith Jerome on Sept. 2, 1961.
Mrs. Jerome and her husband moved around for a while, with her working nursing jobs and him moving from drug sales to telecommunications, before they settled in Cherry Hill.
Outside work, Mrs. Jerome enjoyed tending her garden, particularly her beloved daisies, and spending time in Ocean City, N.J.
"She loved the Shore," Jerry Jerome, 78, said. "She'd just sit in a chair, read her books, listen to her tapes, and soak up the sun."
On the drive home, the family would listen to Michael Bublé, whom Faith and Jerry Jerome saw in concert twice. They also loved Frank Sinatra thanks to Sid Mark's radio show, to which they would listen for two hours after church every Sunday morning.
Mrs. Jerome died facing the family Christmas tree, which was bedecked in white lights on the couple's deck, per family tradition.
The family "broke open a bottle of wine and sat there, drank wine, and ate brownies," Jerry Jerome said. "We just drank wine and listened to Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé."
Besides her husband, Mrs. Jerome is survived by a daughter, Jennifer; son, Gerald; three brothers, and a sister.
Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 2, from 7 to 9 p.m., and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at Schetter Funeral Home, 304 Marlton Pike W., Cherry Hill. A funeral will follow at 1 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 499 Route 70 E., Cherry Hill, N.J., 08034, where Mrs. Jerome was an elder and deacon. She will be buried at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown later.
Contributions may be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church or the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, 706 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002.