I’m closing out Women’s History month with a post about someone I actually knew, my grandmother’s best friend, Jean Moore Fasse.
Mrs. Fasse was born in Lillington, North Carolina, in 1908 and was raised on a Harnett County farm. She worked as a nanny while attending high school and enrolled at Fayetteville State Teachers College (now Fayetteville State University). That’s where she and my grandmother met. They both earned teaching degrees. My grandmother accepted a position at a one-room school in rural Harnett County. Mrs. Fasse’s first teaching job was in a one-room school in Goldsboro, NC. My grandmother spent her career in education, but her friend decided teaching was not her calling.
In 1944, Mrs. Fasse joined the American Red Cross and was sent to Washington, D.C., for training. After training, she was stationed along the Ledo Road, a supply lifeline from India to China, built by the U.S. Army in World War II. She spent time in Calcutta, India and Burma. After the war, Mrs. Fasse returned to the States, but traveling was in her blood by then.
She signed up for the U.S. Special Services and was trained to run recreation clubs in Europe. She spent many years working in Germany, until she married in 1963. She remained in Europe until 1990.
Mrs. Fasse’s visits were always exciting. She was vivacious, quick-witted and sophisticated. And she always had lots of stories to tell. As a child who was curious by nature, she made me want to see the world myself.
The last time I saw Mrs. Fasse was after my grandmother’s funeral in 2002. She spent some time with our family, talking about the friendship she shared with my grandmother. They had a lot in common. They were both adventurous, independent, strong-willed women who thrived on breaking barriers.
Jean Fasse died on June 21, 2008.
Source: Jean Moore Fasse Papers, Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Photo: Jean Fasse in Indian dress, circa 1946