Cover photo for Deborah 'Jane' (Terwillegar) Foti's Obituary
Deborah 'Jane' (Terwillegar) Foti Profile Photo
1939 Jane Foti 2024

Deborah 'Jane' (Terwillegar) Foti

April 21, 1939 — February 7, 2024

Worcester, MA

Worcester - Deborah Jane Foti passed away peacefully on February 7, 2024 with her family at her side after a short period of failing health. She was 84 years old. 

Jane, as she was known throughout her life, leaves her children Lauren O’Donnell (Patrick), Catherine Shepherd (Terence), Anthony Foti (Brigette), Mary Vajda (Joseph), and Kristen Lynch (Kevin); her 10 grandchildren, Austin Rice, Courtney Rice, Anthony Foti, Allison Vajda (Karan Datwani), Matthew Vajda, Caroline Shepherd, Nora Shepherd, Connor Lynch, Ava Lynch, and Marissa Lynch; her two great-grandchildren, Taylor Allison and Avery Allison; a large extended family, and her dear, lifelong friend, Bertha Aber. 

She was predeceased by her parents and her three brothers, Carlton, Gordon and Roger.

Jane (Terwillegar) Foti was born and raised in Ithaca, New York, the only daughter of the late Albert and Margaret (Tall) Terwillegar.  As a young adult, Jane worked as a hairdresser at Ivy’s Beauty Shop.  She met her future husband, Frank Foti, through mutual friends when he was a student at Ithaca College.  They married and settled in Moravia, New York, where they raised their five children.  

Family was the center of Jane’s universe, and if you were to ask her what she enjoyed most in her 84 years of life, she would quickly respond, ‘being a mother!’ She was a natural, and her family agreed, she was very good at it.   

Following her divorce, Jane returned to the workforce, learning the art of book and paper conservation at Cornell University.  In 1995, she moved from Ithaca to Central Massachusetts, settling in Worcester to be closer to her children.  For 26 years, she was a book and paper conservator at Clark University until her retirement in 2021. Jane loved working at Goddard Library, especially with the college interns assigned to her each year.  She took great pride in teaching them the intricacies and details of her work.

Described by her family as a Renaissance woman, Jane was a very creative and curious person.  She was an accomplished, self-taught seamstress, enthusiastic gardener and talented furniture refinisher, a skill she also taught to many in adult education programs. Her passion for flowers led Jane to New York City where she studied the art of floral design and later worked at various florist shops.  Jane loved to travel, and she was blessed to see many places around the world, visiting her son while he served in the military. Closer to home, Jane loved Cape Cod and spending time near the ocean with her family.

Funeral services will be private. A Celebration of Jane’s Life will be held at a later date. 

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Why Me & Sherry’s House, 1152 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602 or

Arrangements by James & John Heald of The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street, Waltham. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Deborah 'Jane' (Terwillegar) Foti, please visit our flower store.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree