Jane B. Sothoron, 88, teacher

July 22, 2006

Jane B. Sothoron, a homemaker and former elementary school teacher who was a plane spotter during World War II, died in her sleep July 15 at the Hermitage, an assisted-living facility in Solomons. She was 88.

The former Jane Bennett was born and raised in Wellsboro, Pa. She earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1938 from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Before World War II, she was a copywriter for Gray and Rogers, a Philadelphia advertising agency.

After the war began, she became a member of the "Dawn Patrol," a group of volunteer aircraft observers with the Aircraft Warning Service in Philadelphia, working the 4 a.m.-to-8 a.m. shift, family members said.

In 1942, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps - which later became the Women's Army Corps - and was commissioned a lieutenant. She was assigned to the First Interceptor Command, which was responsible for spotting and charting the courses of all aircraft in the skies over the United States.

She resigned her commission a year later when she married Norwood S. Sothoron, who later became commander of Charlotte Hall Military Academy in St. Mary's County. He died last year.

During the early 1950s, Mrs. Sothoron taught at Mechanicsville Elementary School.

A writer, she helped her husband with publicity for volunteer activities in support of St. Mary's Hospital, the Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

The longtime Lexington resident volunteered with Meals on Wheels.

"Her hobby was writing, and she was known for her Christmas cards that she wrote each year," said a son, Norwood S. "Cokie" Sothoron of Lexington Park.

Mrs. Sothoron was an active communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Lexington Park, where services were held Thursday.

Also surviving are two other sons, John B. Sothoron of Lexington Park and Kenny V.B. Sothoron of Mechanicsville; a daughter, Peggy Wormwood of Davidsonville; a sister, Barbara Bradford of Charleston, S.C.; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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