On Sunday, the 23rd of May, my dear sister Jane passed away due to medical complications.
As I look back on her life, Jane was a woman before her time and was a very independent, adventurous individual, who after graduating from Cornell University in 1961; decided along with a friend from the Pi Beta Phi sorority, to embark on “bus-man’s holiday tour” of Europe.
Their journey began on a merchant vessel sailing out of New York City-bound for Liverpool, England. Journals from their adventure indicate their logic for using a merchant's vessel were – economical, read cheap when compared to the cruise line or airline fares to Europe in 1961. It had guaranteed three meal settings per day that totaled 2,000 calories, enough to singularly sustain both Jane and her friend. Plus, a bonus perk when they got to dine with the captain of the vessel at his table, with a special menu reserved for him and his guests. Lastly, it took several days to make it to Europe, allowing plenty of time to take in the ocean and sky vistas while pursuing Jane’s favorite pastime… reading.
Arriving in England, they travelled the continent with what could be best described as a lean budget, while searching for an abundance of lifelong memories. This mentality served them well as they worked their way across Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, and Belgium. With money running low, Jane and her friend realized that it was time to make it back to Liverpool for their return to the U.S.; having achieved their goal of gaining an abundance of lifelong memories and now ready for the next phase of their lives.
In 1963 Jane joined ABC News in New York City as an assistant to the renowned TV and documentary writer and producer Helen Jean Rogers, quickly becoming a trusted member of her staff. This was during the filming of the first installment of “A Saga of Western Man” documentary that won a Peabody Award. With filming of this first episode complete in 1964, Jane then moved to Washington, DC to support ABC reporters in the field during special events. In 1966 Jane returned to Europe for a vacation touring England, Ireland, and Scotland. Before returning to the U.S. Jane was given a temporary assignment in London, supporting her former New York City ABC team as they filmed several documentaries. With filming complete, Jane returned to the U.S. looking for bigger challenges.
This pursuit was quickly rewarded in 1967 with Jane’s “posting”, as she would call it (British influence highlighted), to the U.S. Senate’s, “Radio & TV Correspondent’s Gallery” where all outbound communication, relating to the U.S. Senate took place. This was in the age when TV was steadily replacing radio as the prime communication medium; while the printed press was still the political “king maker” in Washington, DC.
Jane was a stalwart in the “Gallery” where she applied and honed many of her skills and talents including “short-hand” transcription to a superior level (a lost art like cursive writing), capturing in real-time (this was well before personal computers, C-Span and the internet) Senate floor debates. These short-hand transcriptions became the Senate’s - “Congressional Record” for that day. Additionally, during her 40 + yrs. of service Jane would meet and work with many renowned Senators, journalists, producers, and photographers of the day. Each of these entities quickly learned that if they wanted to get their “message out” – they had better work with Jane. Jane retired as the Assistant Superintendent of “The Gallery” in 2010.
While Jane was passionate regarding her service to the U.S. Senate, she also had a deep passion for fine arts, humanities, and classical literature; that made Washington, DC a wonderful place to live and to pursue these passions. Beyond work, Jane was most proud of her work as a teacher in youth ministries at the “Foundry Church” in Washington, DC. This became most clear as I began sorting through her personal things, where I have found many thank-you notes from the parents of the children that Jane taught. These notes have brought much solace to me in this difficult time. All this considered, one of my most lasting memories of my sister Jane was her spontaneous and incisive dry wit that she skillfully applied during her daily activities and especially during her Congressionally renowned… best darn historical tour of the U.S. Capitol… barring none.
So… to close my memorial to you, my dear sister… I love you and miss you dearly. You have made a positive and profound difference in my and many a person’s life and I know the angels that you revered and God who you loved, are embracing you as I write this. Love, Susan
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