WAKE FOREST - Jean Otilia Casanova Sewall, 90, of Wake Forest, NC, formerly of Palm Harbor, Florida, departed her earthly life on Monday, January 23, 2017 at her home at Brookdale of Wake Forest. She was born August, 17, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY, but grew up in the Washington, DC area. She graduated from Roosevelt High School with honors in 1944 and won a full scholastic scholarship to George Washington University. She graduated in 1948 from GWU with an AA and BA degrees from the College of Liberal Arts.
After a brief career in advertising, she joined the Navy in 1952. She graduated from Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI and proceeded to have a distinguished naval career for over 20 years. She retired as a full Commander and served at many locations including the Pentagon and NATO headquarters in Naples, Italy. She received many medals and commendations including the National Defense Service Medal (Korean War), Bronze Star (Vietnam War), Cold War Medal plus the NATO shield.
She met and married the love of her life, Captain Charles H. Sewall, while serving in the Navy. After retirement, they spent many years traveling the world and she continued traveling even after Charles passed away in 1993. Her travels included over 40,000 miles on cruise ships, salmon fishing in Maine and Alaska, white water rafting through the 280 miles of the Grand Canyon, hot air ballooning over the Serengeti Plain in Africa, finding the headwaters of the Amazon River in Peru, riding the Orient Express and spending a week above the Arctic Circle on a former Russian Spy ship... to name a few.
"Aunt Jean," as she was affectionately known to so many, was a talented artist, lover of books, dachshunds, adventure, and especially her family. She was fiercely patriotic and loved her country. She was a truly unique individual and will be missed by many.
Jean was predeceased by her husband, Captain Charles H. Sewall; parents, Arturo Y. Jr. and Angela Brockaway Casanova; and brother, Arturo Y. Casanova III and his wife, Mary.
She is survived by her best friend and niece, Lynda Lumpkin and her husband, Parker; great-nephews, Tripp Lumpkin and his wife, Jennifer, and Arturo Lumpkin and his wife, Rebecca; plus 5 great-great-nieces and nephews, Henry, Evelyn, Genevieve, Margaret Jean and Parker.
The family will receive friends Saturday morning, January 28th, from 10:00 to 11:00 am at Lancaster Funeral and Cremation Services, 804 N. Bickett Boulevard, Louisburg. There will be a full military funeral with honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Jean to Louisburg Baptist Church (Neighbors Fund), P.O. Box 730, Louisburg, NC 27549, Heartland Hospice Care, 4505 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, NC 27609, or Louisburg College, 501 North Main Street, Louisburg, NC 27549. Online condolences may be made to www.lancasterfcs.com.