Jane Maher

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MIDDLETON–Elizabeth Jane Crawford Maher died peacefully on Oct. 18, 2022. She was born in Iowa City, IA, on June 19, 1935, to Phyllis Martin Crawford and Bartholow Vincent Crawford.Her sister Rachel Ann was born in 1938. Jane attended Lincoln and University Elementary Schools and graduated from University High School. She was active in writing, music, forensics and drama. The privilege of traveling in Europe soon after the end of WWII was generously extended by Stuart Cullen MD and his family.

Jane attended MacMurray College and graduated in 1957 with Highest Honors and Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Iowa with a major in history. Her high school sweetheart, Louis James Maher, Jr., graduated in geology with the same honors. 

Jane and Lou were married on June 7, 1956, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Iowa City. Following Lou’s geology field work near Buffalo, WY, he was drafted into the United States Army and received Counter-Intelligence Corps training at Fort Holabird, MD, where Jane joined him. Then came a remarkable year overseas, living off-post in La Rochelle and spending many weekends discovering small-town and rural France.

Jane and Lou set up housekeeping and attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where Jane received her MS degree in modern European history aided by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and Lou his PhD degree in geology with longtime support from a Danforth Fellowship. They welcomed their first child, Louis James Maher III, in 1960. 

A NATO postdoctoral award allowed the couple to spend the following year in Cambridge UK, where son Robert Crawford Maher was born in 1962. English friendships lasted throughout life.

Madison became the family's treasured home. They were deeply attached to Saint Dunstan's Episcopal Church, the Heim’s Woods neighborhood and Middleton public schools. Jane was a member of the League of Women Voters for many years, while reporting on City Hall activities for the Middleton Times Tribune. Daughter Barbara Ruth was born in 1966.

Lou pursued his teaching career, collecting deposits to analyze fossil pollen, teaching generations of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and flying a light plane to photograph the geology below. Lou was an early adopter of computers. Jane urged the family into a tradition of camping as a way of getting Lou away from the keyboard!

In middle years, Jane worked seasonal jobs at Moseley's Books, Gimbel’s, and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Jane and Lou were blessed with opportunities to return to France. A conference in Aix en Provence in 1992 was followed by several annual visits, stays in rental cottages and rediscovery of the country that Jane and Lou loved.

Lou retired in 2003 and sadly experienced dementia in his later years. He died in 2018.

Jane enjoyed a quiet life during the years of the COVID-19 Pandemic. She partook of Dane County grocery delivery, Zoom worship, and the support of the SAIL organization. She appreciated her doctors and their staff, and the gifted medical personnel who help her family members. 

Jane took great care to encourage a love of learning, reading, and music in her children, setting high expectations for their personal integrity, reliability and independence. She showed steadfast delight in their chosen pursuits–from school age through adulthood–and that devotion continued through her keen interest in the activities of her grandchildren.

Jane is predeceased by her husband, parents and parents-in-law (Edith and Louis J. Maher). She is survived by her children: Jim Maher and wife Laura (Moseng), Rochester MN; Rob Maher and wife Lynn Peterson-Maher, Bozeman MT; and Barbara Maher-Flatt and husband Roger (Flatt), Fond du Lac, WI; grandchildren Elizabeth Maher, Christina (Maher) Murray and husband John, Maxwell Maher, Henry Larkey-Maher and wife Mikayla, The Rev Andrew Flatt-Kuntze and husband Justin, and Katie Flatt. She is also survived by her sister Rachel Mills, and Rachel’s children and grandchildren.

Arrangements for a Celebration of Life are pending. Jane’s ashes will be blended with Lou’s and scattered in special places.

Those wishing to make donations in Jane’s memory are urged to support wild creatures and wild spaces.

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