Jayne Aquilino Wilkinson, a longtime employee of the Bedford Central School District Fox Lane High School's most inspirational teacher, died Wednesday at the age of 62.
Wilkinson also served as fire commissioner for the since 2009 and was part of a family of three generations of firefighters. She is the daughter of the late Pat Aquilino and Nick Aquilino, who was a long time member of the fire department and past commissioner. Her siblings Paul, and Joanne are also long time members and are both past chiefs. Her nephew Pete is currently assistant chief and her niece Sarah is a firefighter.
"She was inquisitive and hard-working, and known for her fair-minded and collaborative style," said Pete Lazaro, assistant chief. "She continually sought to make the Bedford Fire Department better. Jayne will be missed."
Her obituary on the Oekler & Cox Funeral Home website says that "Jayne was full of life, love and laughter. She was an amazing friend to many."
Joel Adelberg, principal at , agrees.
"The loss of Jayne is a huge one for us," he said of Wilkinson, who worked in the school library. "She was one of the warmest, most welcoming, and most upbeat individuals at Fox Lane. Students and staff found their way to Jayne. All types of students trusted her, opened up to her, and just liked being in her presence," he said.
This spring, Wilkinson was selected by the senior class as the faculty member of the year.
During his graduation speech, faculty member Jerry Ludwig told the story of how graduating senior Robbie Shilstone was so inspired by her he painted a portrait of her as his legacy project for the school, which will be hung in the library in her honor.
"She showed amazing courage during her battle with cancer and will be deeply missed and remembered warmly by all of us," said Adelberg.
Drew Patrick, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said Wilkinson exemplified the kind of person you'd want to be working in a school.
"If you walked in the library, you just knew she'd take care of you, said Patrick. "She exuded warmth and friendliness."
Wilkinson was born in Mt. Kisco and was a lifelong native of Northern Westchester. She died at her home in Bedford.
Calling hours will be held this Sunday from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the in Mount Kisco.
A Memorial Service will be Monday at 3 p.m. at the , Village Green, Bedford.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to Hospice Care of Westchester and Putnam or the ASPCA of Westchester.
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