Jane Spence was born Carole Jane Smith on Dec. 27, 1949 in Lockport, NY. She died in the early morning of Oct. 11, 2016 from breast cancer that had metastasized to the brain. At her side were her husband, stepdaughter, son and daughter-in-law, and with her little dog Ernie scrunched in on her bed.
Jane was active in high school as a cheerleader, member of the drama club and Y-teens. Her family were members of the United Methodist Church. It is likely that her future in health care was sparked by her mother’s work as the office administrator for a local doctor, and an early after-school job in a nursing home. We are told she sang as she delivered the evening meal to the residents.
Jane received a BS in Nursing (psych) at State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburg, and MSW at Lewis and Clark College, and engaged in many years of ongoing training. She began her career at the Portland VA mental health unit, then soon after moving to the Multnomah County Health Dept., began her career-long focus on health care administration. Jane’s motivator was her pride in her ability to improve and organize systems so that delivery of care and service was more effective. Jane also maintained a private counseling practice for many years.
Jane and Chris built a home in Cape Meares in the 1980s. Upon retirement to Cape Meares, Jane maintained her professional nursing and Licensed Professional Councilor licenses. This was key to her second (third?) career in volunteerism. Jane continued for many years the regular weekly training with Tillamook Fire and Rescue. She added the American Red Cross, focusing on nation-wide disaster response as a mental health responder. She was active in emergency preparedness work in Cape Meares and the county, on the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Medical Reserve Corp, and the Cape Meares Community Association, both as a member and board member.
As a member of First Christian Church she was active with AWANAS and weekly Sunday child care. Jane was a Tillamook Schools science coach under Clair Thomas. She was a member of AAUW, the County Library Board, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, (CASA), on the Citizens Review Board, and was a Court Appointed Mediator. She forged strong friendships through her several book clubs and especially at her exercise group, the Strong Women, sponsored by OSU extension service.
Jane is survived by her husband of 34 years, Chris Spence, son Michael Spence (DeAnna, grandchildren Hailey, Norah and Griffin), Ridgefield, Wash., stepdaughter Anja Spence (Bill Jones, stepdaughter Lily) Portland, brother-in-law Mike Spence Vancouver, (Becky, nieces Anna Marie, Portland and Molly, Seattle), Sister-in-law Annie Anderson (nieces Shaun and Toni) of Colorado, her brother Delmar Joseph Smith, (Diane Smith) Napa, Calif., nieces and nephew Lara Young (Mike Nelson, daughter Kayla), Seattle, Wash., Andrew Smith (Karin Nelson, children Malea & Davis) San Francisco, Calif., Hillary Moreno (Felix Moreno) San Diego, Calif., Alyson Erickson (Andrew Erickson) San Diego, Calif. In addition, Jane has many cousins in California and Indiana, and throughout the northwest.
Jane’s love, infectious laugh, and sheer willingness to show up and do what needed to be done, will be missed by all. In lieu of flowers, Jane would have asked you to donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), The Susan B. Koman research fund, or one of the local groups above that she supported in her life.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Waud’s Funeral Home in Tillamook, Ore.