Jeanette R. Feo liked to keep busy. When she got restless, she found jobs that interested her. In her later years, she loved selling real estate, and she was always a "wonderful" mom, said her daughter, Janet Messina.

"She wasn't someone who could just sit still," Messina said, describing her mother as a kind, warm, and loving person with dazzling blue eyes.

Mrs. Feo, 90, known as "Jean," died Saturday, April 29, from failing health due to her age, her daughter said.

She most recently lived in United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, having lived previously in Cinnaminson, Mount Laurel, and Pennsauken. Mrs. Feo was a 1944 graduate of Merchantville High School.

As a teenager, she worked in the Glenn & Jean Sweet Shop that her mother opened next to the old Walt Whitman Theatre on Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken. They sold sandwiches and made ice cream with fresh ingredients.

There, Jean Seelhorst met a family friend, Ralph Feo, who visited for ice cream and sandwiches. He was six years older than her. When he joined the Air Force during World War II, she wrote him letters. They started dating when he returned, and they married in 1947.

Family photo
Ralph and Jeanette Feo in 1947.

"My dad adored my mom, and her him. They were a very devoted couple," Messina said of their 54-year marriage. Ralph Feo died in 2002.

The couple enjoyed spending time in Avalon, N.J., going to their favorite Shore restaurant, the now-closed Busch's Seafood in Sea Isle City.

Out of high school, Mrs. Feo worked for New Jersey Bell.

In addition to Messina, they had an older daughter, Donna Holmes, and a son, Ralph, who died in 1992 from health problems caused by diabetes - a loss Messina said devastated the couple.

As her children got older, Mrs. Feo returned to work. She worked as a senior accounting clerk for the Camden County freeholders, and was trained as an ophthalmological assistant for a local eye doctor. In later years, she took an interest in real estate, obtaining her license. She worked as an agent for Wilson Realty Group for about a decade.

Ralph Feo was concerned about his wife's showing houses alone or in the evening, and would escort her to make sure she stayed safe, Messina said. She also loved performing, singing soprano  in the St. Cecelia and St. Charles Borromeo choirs before the Garden State Chorale.

"She loved it," Messina said. "She didn't want to be a star, she just wanted to sing."

She also was known as a competitive pinochle player in local circles, loved going to antique shows, and enjoyed ice cream. Often she left a trail of coffee cups that she sipped from throughout the day, her daughter said.

In addition to her daughters, Mrs. Feo is survived by two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A private Funeral Mass was held at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Cinnaminson. Entombment, by her husband's side, followed at Lakeview Mausoleum, Cinnaminson.

Donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association at

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