Janet B. Jump, a Glenn L. Martin Co. aerospace engineer who later became a Westminster English teacher, died of congestive heart failure June 21 at Nova Springs, a Finksburg assisted-living facility. The longtime Gamber resident was 88.
“While family was the central focus of her life, it wasn’t to the exclusion of other things,” Sandra G. “Sandy” Rodgers, a niece, said.
“She always had ideas about things and what she wanted to pursue whether it was going to seminary or learning a foreign language,” Ms. Rodgers said. “She had a very open mind and seemed to pick up people.”
Janet Bruce Beamer, the youngest of five sisters and the daughter of Phillip Beamer, a civil engineer and farmer, and Jessie Beamer, a homemaker, was born in Aberdeen. In 1940 she and her family moved to Gamber after her parents purchased a farm.
Mrs. Jump was raised on Orchard Dale Farms, a dairy farm, where her parents also grew crops and tended an orchard.
Growing up, she worked on the farm and after graduating in 1952 from Westminster High School, became a member of the second class at St. John’s College in Annapolis that admitted women.
“She excelled in both math and physics,” said a daughter, Leslie Alexandra Jump, a St. John’s graduate and vice chair of its board.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in 1956, Mrs. Jump went to work at the old Glenn L. Martin Co., now Lockheed Martin, at its Middle River plant.
Without a formal engineering degree, Mrs. Jump became a pioneering figure when she was assigned as an aerospace engineer to the Vanguard satellite program.
“She accomplished this with on the job training,” Ms. Jump said.
While earning a master’s degree in English at the Johns Hopkins University during the early 1960s, she met and fell in love with another graduate student, Theodore David Jump, and the couple married in 1962.
A year later they settled in Westminster and Mr. Jump began his teaching career at Woodlawn High School, and later joined South Carroll High School in Sykesville, where he taught social studies.
Active in Republican politics during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mrs. Jump, who had worked for Maryland Republican Sen. J. Glenn Beall, became a national political campaign consultant while raising the couple’s three children.
Mrs. Jump returned to teaching English at Westminster High School and later taught part-time in Carroll County Public School’s home schooling program, until retiring in the 1990s.
As a girl, she studied piano and later in life was often accompanied by her husband, who enjoyed singing.
“She was a very capable pianist and an excellent sight reader,” Ms. Rodgers said. “She played piano in a variety of churches and enjoyed the people she ran into. She was an intellectual explorer who enjoyed looking into her community and interacting with people.”
Mrs. Jump also enjoyed hosting family gatherings and looked forward to holidays at her Gamber home, where she delighted in creating “raucous celebrations of food, fun and frivolity,” Ms. Jump said.
“I’m the daughter of her oldest sister, so she’s just 20 years older than me, and I got closer to her when I went to McDaniel College in Westminster and was incredibly homesick,” Ms. Rodgers recalled.
“She was a force in bringing together reunions and family gatherings,” she said. “She faced some adversity in trying to be upbeat, such as caring for her elderly mother and family illnesses, but she did what she needed to do to address those issue.”
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Ms. Rodger said when her aunt moved into a care facility, she had no difficulty in adjusting to her new surroundings.
“Some people have trouble adjusting and can be difficult to manage but her caregiver’s found her very easy to deal with,” Ms. Rodgers said. “She tried to remain a cheerful person no matter what she had to deal with.”
She enjoyed attending regional theater in Olney, the opera, orchestral programs and the movies.
She was an active member of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Bolton Hill, and later Calvary United Methodist Church in Gamber.
Theodore Jump, her husband of 47 years, died in 2009.
A private gathering will be held in the fall in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In addition to her daughter Leslie A. Jump of Cary, North Carolina, Mrs. Jump is survived by a son, Theodore Andrew “Ted” Jump of Raleigh, North Carolina, and another daughter, Lizabeth Janet Jump of Hampden.