Jane E. Torr, 71, social worker, volunteer

February 10, 2003

Jane E. Torr, a retired city social worker and community volunteer, died Thursday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. She was 71 and lived in Parkville, where she was struck by a car Wednesday while crossing Harford Road.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she graduated from Reading High School in Pennsylvania in 1949, studied science for a year at the University of Rochester, and later earned a bachelor's degree in art and education at the State University of New York - Potsdam.

Ms. Torr had planned to be an art teacher, but found social work more gratifying, said her daughter, Dr. Patricia Bissell Zeffert of Pikesville. She initially worked with adults in social work, then moved into working in foster-care placements.

In 1951, she married Donald Bissell, and the couple lived for 25 years in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., on a working dairy farm. The marriage ended in divorce.

She moved to Baltimore about 1979 and was by then legally blind from a genetic disorder, said Dr. Zeffert. Her vision was restored by an operation that repositioned her cornea.

After her successful eye surgery, Ms. Torr worked for about 10 years as a social worker, primarily in the long-term foster-care division of the Baltimore Department of Social Services. While there, she wrote a foster-care training manual.

After her retirement, Ms. Torr became a volunteer in 1991 at the Parkville Senior Center, where she also participated in many activities.

Services were held yesterday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by three other daughters, Angela Bissell Rutherford of Baldwinsville, N.Y., and Joanie M. Bissell and Cynthia Bissell Green, both of Madrid, N.Y.; a son, Douglas R. Bissell of Rochester, N.Y.; two sisters, Margaret M. Giovanniello of Cedarhurst, N.Y., and Hobe Sound, Fla., and Helen Torr Exton of Washington, D.C.; 14 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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