Jean E. Nitschke

SOUTH PORTLAND — Jean E. Nitschke, 86, most recently of South Portland, passed on to her next adventure on Tuesday morning, April 5, 2011.

She was born in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on June 22, 1924, to Joseph B. Viele and Katherine Shaver. After high school and with WWII in full swing, she went to work for General Electric and later ALCO in Schenectady, N.Y. There, she met a handsome WWII veteran, Rodmond “Rod” Nitschke. They were married on Jan. 19, 1947, and made their home in Colonie, N.Y. for over 57 years.

Jean loved adventure and travel and after their retirement, she and Rod took many trips around the country and the world. Even after Rod’s health prevented him from further travels, he encouraged her to follow her adventurous spirit. Italy, Iceland and China were among her destinations, and she was proud to say she had walked on the Great Wall of China. In her “spare” time, she made over 120 afghans for Project Linus and H.U.G.S. These organizations provide blankets and afghans to children in medical or emotional crisis. Her other loves included, but were not limited to, flowers, painting, cooking, and following the exploits of her grandson Ben, who shares her love of travel.

She was predeceased by her parents; her brother, Joseph B. Viele Jr.; and her husband, Rod.

She is survived by daughters, Kathy J. Nitschke of Greenbush N.Y., Beth A. Nitschke of Hiram and Lisa Darcy of Hiram; and her grandson.

Funeral services were held on Monday at New Comer-Cannon Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Road, Albany, N.Y. Burial will be in Greenridge Cemetery, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. To leave a special message for the family online, visit

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider South Portland Nursing Home Activities Fund, 42 Anthoine St., South Portland, ME 04106 or Project Linus National Headquarters, P.O. Box 5621, Bloomington, Illinois 61702-5621.

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