Jane Braucher Volckhausen died peacefully at home in Boulder, CO, surrounded by her family, at the age of 100 years, on January 26, 2019. Jane lived her long life with compassion, joy, and commitment to helping to create a better world for all of us.
Jane was born July 9, 1918 in Massapequa, Long Island. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College. Her father was director of the National Recreation Association and her early jobs involved creative family recreation programs. At age 20, she lived in Geneva working for the International Labor Organization, until the escalation of World War II forced her to take one of the last passenger ships still sailing to the USA. While working in public housing in Washington, D.C., she met a young man involved in organizing healthcare and food cooperatives - Bob Volckhausen. They married in 1947 and lived in Greenbelt, Maryland, a town built as a model of cooperative housing during the New Deal.
Moving to Hampton, Virginia, Jane and Bob joined the Virginia Beach Friends Meeting, where Quaker values of simplicity, justice, and caring for all people shaped their lives. Working for peace and civil rights, they took their four children to demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. Jane agreed to speak to a small rally against segregation, but then found herself in front of television cameras and a huge crowd which broke into applause at her words. Later the family attended Highlander Folk School, where Martin Luther King spoke with great inspiration. A photo of Jane with an inter-racial group of children went out on the AP wire across the country, and Jane and Bob were labeled 'Communists.' They continued undaunted. Jane was a leader in the League of Women Voters and the United Nations Association in Virginia, recipient of a Humanitarian award, and Hampton Woman of the Year.
Jane and Bob never forgot how to play. The family enjoyed summers swimming and sailing at their cottage in Monterey, Massachusetts. Jane and Bob danced together every evening until shortly before Bob's death. Jane loved theatre, books, music, dance, and song. Her family feels that in the world of spirit, she is dancing now in the light with Bob.
After Bob's death in 2003, Jane moved to Boulder, Colorado, to live near her son Tom, daughter-in-law Françoise, and grandchildren Taran and Tasia, who embraced Jane into their family and community of friends for many wonderful years. Jane blossomed in her new life at the age of 85, finding close friends and immersing herself in the community of Boulder. In 2005 she transferred her membership from Virginia Beach Meeting to Boulder Meeting, which she called her 'spiritual family.' Jane was a faithful presence at Meeting for Worship and meeting fellowship. In her late nineties, Jane coordinated the Meeting’s letter writing campaigns in response to FCNL action alerts as an active member of the Peace and Social Justice Committee.
While planning one of her three 100th birthday parties, she said, 'If it's going to be a party, there better be dancing.' And dancing there was, led by her son Jim and friend Tamara. Jane remained vigorous, doing errands by foot in her neighborhood, touching people she met. Jane loved singing with her daughter Janet Rose, playing Scrabble with her friend Wendy, and meeting with her women's coffee group at Vic's. Visits to the Monterey cottage and to Paul and Karen's farm in Maine provided cherished reunions with her family.
Jane is survived by four children and their spouses: Janet Rose, Paul (Karen), Tom (Françoise Poinsatte), and Jim (Gabrielle) Volckhausen; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Jane was held at Boulder Friends Meeting on February 16, 2019. We miss Jane and treasure our memories of her.