Jane Martha Puetthoff died Nov. 30 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after a brief illness, with her three children by her side. She was 74.

She was born in Oak Bluffs on Jan. 11, 1947, the youngest of three children to Richard F. Cunningham and Margaret E. Cunningham.

Although she grew up in Westfield, N.J., she was proud to be Island-born.

After graduating from Wells College in 1969, Jane pursued her master’s degree in education at Boston University. After graduating, she began teaching at the Falmouth Elementary School.

A trip to Europe would change her life. While crossing the Atlantic on the return home, she met her future husband, Heinz-Helmer Puetthoff. They married in August 1974 in a small hometown church in Vineyard Haven. The couple relocated together to Germany, where Jane first taught elementary school children as a civilian for the Department of Defense in Spangdahlem. In later years, she taught post-secondary business English at a chemical plant in North-Rhine Westphalia while raising their three children, Jan, Niels and Carolin.

In 1994, to Jane’s delight, her life would change again, with the announcement that the family was moving back to the United States when Helmer’s job transferred him to New York city.

In 2000, Heinz-Helmer retired and Jane and Helmer were able to move to Martha’s Vineyard year-round. Jane had many passions and was active on the Island, teaching at the high school, sailing on their boat Frisia, reading with her book group ladies, volunteering at the library, driving for Vineyard Village and planning activities as a member of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club.

Her other passion was following the annual arrival of two ospreys that had taken up residence in the Lagoon in front of the family home. She proudly named them Peggy and Dick, after her parents. Jane protected any and all animals that visited her property.

She was known not just for her beautiful smile, wit and sense of humor, but most of all for her love and kindness toward others and having a heart of gold.

She was predeceased by her husband in 2019. She is survived by her children Jan, Niels and Carolin; her nieces and nephews, sisters in law, and an extended network of friends.

Her children would like to thank the doctors and staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for their care and kindness during her brief stay there.

A funeral service will take place at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m., followed by a private interment.

Donations can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1447, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or Hospice & Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.