Jeanette Maas left the world as she lived her life, gracefully.
She died on Saturday morning, August 29, 2020. She was 92.
Jeanette lives on in the hearts of her children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews; and her wide circle of friends, some whom she has know since high school and many whom she met at Ingleside King Farm, where she lived the past decade. She lost her husband, Ernst, in 2007, after 53 years of marriage. From her early 30's until just months before her death, she painted acrylic and watercolors. Her art is subtle, elegant, and at times whimsical – just as she was. And like her, the more you got to know her work, the better you appreciated it. She painted hundreds of abstract and impressionistic works. She won ribbons at local art shows and, through an agent, sold scores of works for display in businesses and offices. Her love of color and design was reflected in how she furnished and decorated her home. Jeanette was born January 12, 1928, in Washington, D.C., the youngest of five children. Her parents, Meyer and Anna Herson, had both immigrated from Russia. Anna died when Jeanette was just 5. Left with five children, his auto business crushed by the Depression, and his body weakened by asthma, Meyer died in 1949. Jeanette, though, basked in the attention of her loving siblings, Lenny, Bette, Shirley, and the oldest, Jack. At her death, Jeanette was the matriarch of the family. She graduated Coolidge High School in Washington in 1946 and studied for several years at George Washington University, leaving after her father’s death. In 1952, she met a young German immigrant at synagogue service. Ernst Maas, whose family had fled from the Nazis in 1939, was starting his career as an economist for the federal government. Jeanette, who previously had many suitors, was won over by Ernie’s continental charm and manners and by his warm heart and boundless intellect. Among their favorite dating spots was the Library of Congress, where they attended concerts and Jeanette acquired her lifelong love of classical music. On Sept. 19, 1954, the girl from Washington and the boy from Mannheim were married in the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. The following year, they had a son, Michael Steven, and in 1958 a daughter, Ann Carolyn. In 1960, the young family moved to Rockville, where they lived until 1973. While Steve went off to college, the family transferred to Bonn, Germany, where Ernie worked at the embassy. After a two year-tour, they moved to Potomac, Maryland. In 1994, they became grandparents with the birth of Ann’s daughter, Emma Cecile Wagner, who was followed five years later by Nina Bridget Wagner. In 2009, two years after Ernie’s death, Jeanette was among the first residents of Ingleside King Farm. There, she nurtured and enjoyed a community that shared her interests in art, music, and books. She honed her skills in watercolors, became an avid ballroom dancer, gained a reputation as a sharp bridge player, and launched monthly musical evenings, a classical feast that moved from apartment to apartment. Jeanette was a fixture at the annual charity bizarre, manning the art booth. She also displayed her paintings at exhibits. Residents would stop her in the hall and say, “Oh, you are Jeanette, the artist. I love your work.” In summers, she would spend a week with a group of friends on Cape Cod, where one of them had a sprawling summer home. Steve and his wife, Judith, would come down from their home in Brookline, Massachusetts, and take her for day trips. Jeanette’s granddaughters spent much time with their Grandee at Ingleside, frequently joining her for meals in the dining room. Besides serving as a role model to her granddaughters, she helped send them to college. She took pride in her family: Steve’s accomplishments in journalism, Ann’s as a photographer and portrait artist, Emma’s in fashion merchandising, and Nina’s in interior design. Besides her children and grandchildren, Jeanette leaves many nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, and scores of dear friends. Jeanette showed us how to enjoy life to its fullest, no matter what our age.
Services will be held privately. The family asks that instead of flowers, family and friends post kind words and memories on the tribute wall. Thank you.
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