BEDFORD, N.Y. — Jayne Aquilino Wilkinson, a longtime employee of the Bedford Central School District, died Wednesday at the age of 62 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In the spring, students dedicated the 2011-2012 yearbook to the Fox Lane High School librarian, and the senior class voted her the year's most inspirational teacher.
Board of Education President Susan Elion Wollin of Bedford Village said she had known Wilkinson, also a Bedford resident, for 40 years.
“This is a tough announcement to make because she was just a very special person,” Wollin said at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.
Fox Lane High School Principal Joel Adelberg said Wilkinson was an incredibly warm and welcoming person, and all types of students gravitated to her. Wilkinson was the first person many of the students and faculty saw each morning when she opened the library, he said.
Adelberg said Wilkinson told the Fox Lane staff about her disease more than a year ago, and up until the end, she wanted to be at work as much as possible.
“So even when it was a struggle, she really tried to come into the school,” he said. “This place, I think, gave her some strength and she felt support from the community.”
“When we walk into the library in the fall, we’re going to feel the difference,” Adelberg said. “She was that kind of a presence.”
Wilkinson, who was born in Mount Kisco, had also served as fire commissioner for the Bedford Village Fire District since 2009 and was the daughter of the late Pat Aquilino and Nick Aquilino, a longtime Fire Department member and past commissioner.
Visiting hours for the public are 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday at the Oelker-Cox & Sinatra Funeral Home in Mount Kisco. A memorial service is at 3 p.m. Monday at the Bedford Presbyterian Church.