Dr Jane Karla Lecklider, who lived in Saffron Walden for nearly half her life, has died of cancer age 78.

Saffron Walden was Jane's home for 35 years and she lived life enthusiastically, finding something of value in each day.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Jane (nee Williston) met future husband Tom in high school. After undergraduate college, they both earned master's degrees during the five years they lived on Long Island. Jane's was in Old and Middle English, and Tom's was in engineering.

They returned to Cleveland to work and raise a family.

Having visited England shortly after they married, they decided to relocate here with son Charles.

After a few years, Jane was accepted for her PhD in Medieval English Literature at King's College, London University, and she graduated in 1995.

Jane had turned her PhD thesis into the academic book Cleanness: Structure and Meaning and she stayed in Saffron Walden, planning to write another book, while Tom returned to Florida for work.

Jane spent the autumn and winter months in Florida, returning to Saffron Walden and research at Cambridge University Library during the warmer months.

Tom said Jane loved to read and learn. She was as comfortable deep in the Cambridge University Library stacks as when crawling through overgrowth to photograph an interesting grave in the town cemetery.

Jane permanently relocated to join Tom in Florida about six years ago.

After Medieval Literature and photography, Jane's passion became American History and she joined The Mount Vernon Ladies Association, a group dedicated to the preservation of George Washington's legacy.

She also joined the Audubon Society to provide support for birds, from tiny Blue Tits clinging onto the walls outside her Walden flat to large white Egrets in Florida.

Her last great passion was for World War II airplanes and their pilots, leading to membership in the Spitfire Wing of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

Jane is survived by husband Tom and son Charles, and by her brother Dan Williston.

Contributions in Jane's memory can be made to the Tidewell Foundation, supporters of the Tidewell Hospice House programme that provided compassionate care in Jane's final days.