Jean Smolak Northam, 85, passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 9, 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA. She was born December 15, 1925 in Schenectady, New York, the daughter of George Smolak and Frances Harris Smolak.

Her family moved to Plainfield, NJ in 1930 where they resided for a year, and in 1931 the family purchased a home in Somerville, NJ where Jean attended public school. Jean graduated from high school in June, 1943 and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI where, after initially studying for a medical degree, she turned her attention to mathematics and while studying there met her future husband, Edward Northam. Jean earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Michigan and after graduating she first worked for American Can Company in Chicago. She later worked as a statistician for Squibb Co. in New Jersey where she cared for her mother and father in Somerville.

She married Edward Northam in June, 1961 after which they moved to Grosse Point Woods, Michigan where Edward taught mathematics at Wayne State University. In 1964, Jean, Edward and their children moved to Orono, Maine where Edward taught mathematics and computer science at the Univeristy of Maine until his retirement in 1991.

Jean deeply cared for her husband and family. Despite her challenges for many years with multiple sclerosis, she was known as a kind, generous and cheerful person who loved to talk and share stories about her family and her two favorite interests, cooking and gardening. She loved to bake all types of pies, cookies and brownies to the delight of her family and friends, and she was featured in a 1985 Bangor Daily News article on how her custom remodeled kitchen helped her cook despite her physical challenges. For many years she maintained extensive gardens at her home in Orono where she took great pride in growing organic fruit and vegetables, especially tomatos, which were enjoyed by family and friends. In later years, she expanded her gardens to include herbs and spices. In recent years she took great joy in spending time with her three grandchildren and watching them grow.

Her husband Edward who passed away in 2010 predeceased her. She is survived by her two children, son Mark Northam, wife Rebecca Lee and grandchild Lynelle Northam of Sydney, Australia; daughter Diane Northam, husband Thomas Pope and grandchildren Anne Kailin Northam and Adric Northam of Braddock Hills, Pennsylvania; her brother George Smolak and wife Frances, sister Anna Eldridge, sister-in-law Nancy Northam, and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jean's honor may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society