Jayne Blodgett Murray

  • Born: October 23, 1926
  • Died: January 7, 2020
  • Location: Mayville, Wisconsin

Koepsell Funeral & Cremation Services, Mayville

301 North Walnut Street
Mayville, WI 53050

Tel. (920) 387-4440

Tribute & Message From The Family

Jayne Blodgett Murray

America has lost a great patriot.

Jayne Blodgett Murray of Mayville, Wisconsin who boasted of beating JFK in Chinese checkers passed away on January 7, 2020. She was 93 years young.

Jayne Adelaide Blodgett was born October 23, 1926 in Fond du Lac, WI, the second child of William Morris Blodgett and Adelaide Blodgett (nee Docter). She was much like her mother whom she adored.

In the third grade Jayne was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and as a result was often confined to bedrest while her playmates were running and playing on bright sunny days. Others may have viewed this as unfair, but Jayne said of her childhood, "I was lucky."

Lucky, she meant, because of the books she read while cooped up in her room; books like The Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Black Beauty and The Wind in the Willows. Books opened to Jayne the larger world of imagination and possibilities. She and her brother Billy, also homebound with the disease, capitalized on their plight by telling each other elaborate tales of travel and adventure. The writings of Longfellow, Tennyson, Frost and others combined with encouragement (but never pity) from her parents and civic-minded family, stirred her imagination and inspired her to a lifetime of service to her country.

At a very tender age, the die was cast.

Jayne was proud of her ancestry, and for good reason. Her maternal grandfather was Christian William (C.W.) Docter (1868 - 1946), a prominent entrepreneur who arrived in Mayville in 1889 with only three cents in his pocket yet went on to operate a successful photography studio, novelty store and the Modjeska (later called the May) Theater. On her father's side the first Blodgetts arrived in 1637 from England. Jayne's great-great-grandfather Nathan Blodgett proudly fought in the American Revolution.

Jayne excelled in school. She had a natural talent for drawing and painting for which she was quick to credit her grandmother Kate, a gifted teacher, artist and poet. Upon graduating high school in 1944, Jayne studied art for two years at UW-Madison, joining the Chi Omega sorority and Sigma Lambda art society.

In 1947 a fortuitous trip to California would set her life on a new and exciting course. On a train called the Santa Fe Chief Jayne was discovered by a Hollywood agent who prompted her into a successful modeling career with the Harry Conover Agency in New York City, creating no small buzz back in Mayville. It was during this time that Jayne became best friends with pioneering war reporter, Gloria Emerson.

A small town girl in the Big Apple, Jayne had quite the time fending off several would-be suitors, including a young congressman by the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who she would date for over a year. JFK invited Jayne to his wedding and inauguration, and he would later receive Jayne and her husband into the oval office for a visit.

The ultimate winner of Jayne's affections and her hand in marriage was handsome insurance broker and New York socialite James Gordon Murray. They married March 4, 1950; their four-month European honeymoon a grand adventure in itself. They settled in Bedford, NY, had three children and Jayne was very involved in their education. In this idyllic setting Jayne became involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution and politics at every level, such as campaigning for Thomas Dewey and Barry Goldwater. In 1951 Jayne was admitted into the exclusive New York Social Registry. Jayne and James would ultimately divorce in 1973.

After 40 years in New York state, during which time she was a successful real estate agent, Jayne returned to her beloved Mayville where she operated the River's Bend Inn, a beautiful bed and breakfast with a decidedly early-American motif. Never truly retired, Jayne continued to be active in local and state politics.

A lifelong reader, Jayne was strongly influenced by "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. These books helped develop her Libertarian leanings.

A powerful lyric poem titled "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay was a favorite of Jayne's. A brief excerpt:

O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e'er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

Jayne is survived by her children: Jaynie Blodgett Murray (Juneau, WI), James Gordon Murray (Asheville, NC); grandchildren Emily (Thomas) Poulton, Sarah Murray, and Abigail (Joseph) Adams; great-granddaughter Maisie Joy Poulton close friend Alan Johnson of Coer d'Alene, ID, and many other family and friends. Jayne was preceded in death by her parents, her dear brother Billy and her beloved dog Daisy.

Today the lights that shine on the cupola of the White Limestone School Museum bear witness to the generosity and love of country of Mayville's favorite daughter.

Jayne's amazing life is described in her own book, "The River's Bend; Memoirs of Mayville, Modeling and JFK's Blue Jeans."

A funeral service for Jayne will take place on Friday, January 10 at 7 p.m. at the Koepsell Funeral Home in Mayville with the Rev. David Koch officiating. A visitation will take place on Friday. January 10 from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home in Mayville. Burial will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Mayville.

In lieu of flowers Jayne has requested that everyone read the book, The Law by Frederic Bastiat and/or donate to the Dodge County, WI Humane Society.

Special thanks to Jayne's special caregivers- Trish, Leah, Mary, and Rachel and the doctors, nurses, and staff at AngelsGrace Hospice In Oconomowoc for all of their love, support, and care shown to Jayne and her family. Lastly, thank you to the many, many, friends that Jayne has made over the years in Mayville for their friendship and care.


Condolence & Memory Journal

My name is Diane Bertram Lopez. I was three years old when my family moved to Mayville. My mother and Jayne's mother were good friends. We loved the movies at the Blodgett's theater. Jayne had moved to New York before I was old enough to meet her mother. On one of her visits home a special treat for me was to baby sit her daughters. About eight years ago my sister, Gail, and I stopped in to visit Jayne in her house on German Street. We shared remanences and had a long wonderful visit. She was a wonderful hostess. So sad she won't be there on my next trip home. With fond memories

Posted by Diane Lopez - Clarksburg, MD   January 25, 2020

Beloved Jayne, our forever love and appreciation for you! We will simply close with... until we meet on the other side dear one. You are missed.

Posted by Brian and Cathy - Nashville, TN - Friend   January 17, 2020

We were one of the lucky ones and not only met with Jayne but also got to experience her hospitality. We stayed in her lovely Bed & Breakfast, and her company was beyond charming. She was a living history book, the adventures, the people, the stories all true and amazing. Everything in her lovely house held a story and she shared as much as you wanted to hear. The earth can not hold a special angel for long, but to the ones who were touched by her magical charms, and beauty will remember her forever. We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Posted by Laura & Mark Bruederle - Cedarburg, WI - Friend   January 10, 2020

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Posted by Jan Olson - Mountain, WI   January 10, 2020

I have only known Jayne for the past two years but after we met, we quickly became friends. She was inspiring to be around, so gracious, hospitable, and generous. She was a giver and loved to be around people. She lived life to the fullest plus. My prayers for God to comfort her family, caregivers, and friends who miss her gentle smile and kind heart. May you rest in peace Jayne Blodgett Murray.

Posted by Rev. David Koch - Mayville, WI - Friend   January 10, 2020

I didn't know Jayne but it was so inspiring reading her life story. She was a giver, and she was one of those special people that come around only now and then. My sympathy to the family and to all who loved her. What an inspiriation!

Posted by Julie Wesson - Wilton, WI - Acquaintance   January 09, 2020

Jayne was a cherished member of the Mohegan Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a 55-year DAR member, and past Regent of the Chappaqua Chapter which merged with Mohegan in the 1980's. Her name will be included in the roll call at the New York State DAR annual Memorial service in late September. In Sympathy, Susan Soussan, Regent, Mohegan Chapter NSDAR moheganregent@gmail.com

Posted by Susan Soussan - Ossining, NY - Acquaintance   January 09, 2020

Our most sincere condolences to Jayne's family. To those who knew her she was the truest, kindest friend one could wish for. She managed to stay young during every one of her 93 years. She exuded joy. An exemplary citizen, she fought hard for causes dear to her and protested - in person when she was against a particular issue. She is dearly missed already.

Tracy and Rachel Heron, Mayville

Posted by A friend   January 09, 2020


I read obits on a daily basis, and this one I will make a copy and read again . Can relate to many of her life experiences
Condolences to all

Posted by Joan Case - Horicon   January 09, 2020

What an amazing woman, i wish we could have met. Thank you for sharing her life adventure and will keep her in my prayers.

Pat Rogers

Posted by A friend   January 09, 2020

I was sorry to hear of Jayne's passing this week. I will always remember Jayne for her kindness, graciousness, and her love of Mayville. Her love and sense of duty to her community and country was aspiring. Even in her later years of life instead of just being comfortable on the sidelines she stayed active and engaged. Jayne will be dearly missed and may her example of being a true patriot never be forgotten.
Former Mayville Mayor
Bob Redeker

Posted by Bob Redeker - Fort Myers, FL - Friend   January 08, 2020

Jayne helped me get a job in New York when I was young. My condolences to the family.

Posted by Janice O'Brien Maum - Sauk City, WI - Neighbor   January 08, 2020

I have had the honor to know Jayne over the last 8-9 years. She will be unforgettable. She packed more into her life than a hundred people. She loved this country and her friends. She was a bright and shining example of a person living life to the fullest. The world is a little dimmer with her departure.

Posted by Mark Griffin - Andover, MN - Friend   January 08, 2020

Our deepest sympathies to the Jayne Blodgett Murray Family. We were honored to have Jayne as a longtime member of the Republican Party of Dodge County. Jayne was always willing to host an event for the RPDC and the RWDC whenever it was requested. She always went above and beyond what was needed. It was for this we are entirely grateful. She will be deeply missed!

Posted by Christine Breitkreutz - Hustisford, WI - Acquaintance   January 08, 2020

Family Album

Community Photos

We were one of the lucky ones and not only met with Jayne but also got to experience her hospitality. We stayed in her lovely Bed & Breakfast, and her company was beyond charming. She was a living history book, the adventures, the people, the stories all true and amazing. Everything in her lovely house held a story and she shared as much as you wanted to hear. The earth can not hold a special angel for long, but to the ones who were touched by her magical charms, and beauty will remember her forever. We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends.
Jayne holding the infamous JFK Jeans.