How Great Thou Art

Her passions as a child were music and art. M. Jeanne Tasse, 91, a Glenwood Community resident in Marietta, Ohio, blended the two as an adult studying both in college and teaching her crafts to others for decades. “My first love was music. My second love was art,” Jeanne said. “I used to draw and copy things when I was young. I made my parents Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards. There was a girl in my class who could draw. She was very good. I said: ‘I want to be good, too.’” A devout Catholic, Jeanne was a nun whose faith played a major role in her education and work as a college professor of art and music. “She made the pursuit of God part of her passion, part of her vocation,” said Glenwood Director of Marketing Laura Miller.

Jeanne, a Wooster, Massachusetts, native was the oldest of seven children and was the first in her family to go to college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts, where she lived in a convent with the Sisters of Saint Anne. Jeanne went on to receive her master’s degree in art from Notre Dame University, a Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana. “Women were allowed to go during the summer time. During the regular school year, it was a boys’ school. I thought it was wonderful to go to Notre Dame,” Jeanne said. She later earned her doctorate degree in history of art at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jeanne’s career as a teacher began in 1953 when was a professor of art and music at Anna Maria College while she worked on her master’s degree. She also taught calligraphy at Anna Maria where she was an instructor for 22 years. “When studying for my master’s, I copied a teacher who did beautiful writing. She showed me the Roman letters. But I taught myself how to do calligraphy,” Jeanne said. For about 17 years, Jeanne taught at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, said Tom Perry, director of communications at the college. Jeanne taught art, history of art, calligraphy, and applied art at Marietta College before retiring in 1991.

She later was an instructor and the director of the Institute for Learning in Retirement at a time when there was a movement nationwide to offer courses to retirees. The institute is a community-based organization that offers courses as part of the continuing education opportunities at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. The ILR grew from just two professors to educate about more than 100 students. “The courses dealt with contemporary issues. Things you want to learn, but it was not in your study plan,” Jeanne said. Courses at the institute continue today, said Jim Hoy, of Marietta, a retired ophthalmologist and instructor at the institute. Jim described Jeanne as a “terrific” person who helped the institute flourish, while also devoting her life to Christ. “She’s extremely devout. But she doesn’t let that get in the way. She’s not critical of others. There’s not a malignant bone in her body,” Jim said.

Jeanne is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Who’s Who Among American Women.