Jean Thorpe Case, 71, former 3rd-grade teacher who fostered students’ love of science

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Jean Thorpe Case
Jean Thorpe Case

Jean Thorpe Case, 71, beloved wife, mother, sibling, teacher and friend, passed away early Easter morning Sunday, March 27, 2016, surrounded by family members at home. Her loving nature, giving spirit, lively sense of humor and beautiful smile will be forever missed.

Betty Jean Thorpe was born in Wilmington on February 22, 1945, and attended Chestnut Street School (current location of Snipes Academy), New Hanover High School and Wilmington College, where she was a cheerleader. She later returned to the University of North Carolina Wilmington and obtained her degree in education.

‘Ms. Case’ was an amazing 3rd-grade teacher, splitting her 30-plus-year career between Lincoln Primary School (now Lincoln Elementary) in Leland and Pilot Elementary School in Greensboro, where she lived from 1995 to 2015. She encouraged her students, many of whom corresponded with her for years, to expand their worldviews, leading class trips to Washington, D.C., and teaching units on Japanese culture. She also fostered her students’ love of science long before ‘STEM’ became an educational buzzword.

A talented painter, her whimsical beach scenes and detailed pattern work will hang in the homes of loved ones for decades to come. She was also a huge fan of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, and will no doubt be cheering them on during their Final Four game on Saturday.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Daniel E. and Adele Thorpe; and sister, Peggy Thorpe.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Dale C. Case of Wilmington; her sons, John Staton of Wilmington, Andrew Staton of Colorado and James Mason Staton of Washington, D.C.; grandchildren, Norah, Lennox, Jett and Niko; brother, Danny Thorpe; sister, Sharon Webb; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation for family and friends will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Andrews Mortuary, 1617 Market St., Wilmington. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 1, at St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1416 Market St., Wilmington. A reception at the church will follow the service.

Jean was a breast cancer survivor. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent in her name to the American Cancer Society.

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