Jean Rayner, a longtime former Ridgefielder, died at the University of Vermont Hospital in Burlington, on June 4 “as the sun was setting outside her window,” the family said.

She was 78.

Born in London, England, she grew up with her father, Victor Allchurch, a long-standing, second violinist for the London Symphony Orchestra, and her mother, Olive Allchurch, a piano and music instructor.

She trained as a ballerina and dancer. In her mid teens she acted and sang in theaters in London and at 19, left England by ship, traveling to New York City with the London Players Theatre. She performed in several Off Broadway shows and married architect and World War II veteran Jack Schneider. They had three children, Susan, Wendy and David and raised them in Teaneck, N.J.

The family moved back to Manhattan in the mid-90s for a few years but soon chose to settle in Ridgefield, where she purchased her first home.

Her family wrote: “We said our final goodbye to our mother, Nanna and friend. One of the most beautiful and unique spirits most of us will ever know. Generous, full of life, talented beyond measure — a truly amazing person who will be missed by so many whose lives she was a part of. Her love of her family, and all living creatures was a guiding force in her daily life.

“Over the years. Jean’s love and spirit touched many through volunteer work at local non profits. Rescue organization, H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut and The Bridge to Independence & Career Opportunities were very special outlets for her and in New York City, she worked with In God’s Love We Deliver.”

She was also a sales associate at Parker East Dry Goods for many years.

In later years she moved to Stowe, Vt. to be close to her son David and his family.

Memorial contributions be made to the Faith Funeral Home, Morrisville, Vt. A memorial service in the Ridgefield area will be planned by her daughter, Wendy. Contact: wendyannschneider@gmail.com for information.