Jane Marie Calef
April 27, 1921 – January 30, 2023
Jane, 101 years young, a beloved resident of Immanuel Courtyard Assisted Living, died peacefully on January 30th, uttering her last words, “I’m home,” to the caregiver who held her hand.
Preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Ann Pilarski, her brothers Harry “Bud” (Carol), Donald (Stella), Edward Jr. (Teresa), sister Virginia Campbell (John), and her husband Richard.
Jane is survived by daughters: Jane McGinty, Susan, Nancy Clark (David); granddaughters: Anne Marie Friedrichsen (Jason), Gail Lipari (Daniel), Mary McGinty (Michelle Rogers); great-granddaughters: Keary, Ellie, Lucy, Millie, Shea; great-grandson Julien; nieces: Diane (Edward), Karen (Michael), Kim; and nephews: Edward (Gina), Jon (Diane), David; their children; and granddogs Thea, Woody, and Corky.
A memorial prayer service is scheduled for Friday, February 17, 11:00 a.m. in the Fogelstrom Chapel at Immanuel Courtyard, 6757 Newport Ave; the chapel faces Sorensen Parkway.
The family will welcome those who want to join them to celebrate Jane’s life at the service (parking is available in front of the chapel). PLEASE NOTE: in order to protect medically vulnerable members of the family and the Immanuel community, those who have symptoms of a respiratory illness are asked to wear a mask to the service or instead join the family via the Live-Stream of the service at the mortuary website (click on LiveCast at the website: https://heafeyheafey.com).
Interment at Resurrection Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Immanuel Foundation (1044 N. 115th St, Suite 500, Omaha, NE 68154) are welcome. Please include a note specifying: In Memory of Jane Calef, in support of the Immanuel Courtyard Activities program. (Jane loved the many activities offered at the Courtyard.)
Jane, the oldest child of five, was blessed with a century-long life in which she witnessed the momentous events of recent history, about which she often shared stories and from which she drew lessons about service, sacrifice, and commitment to the common good: the hardships of the Great Depression, seeing her brothers off to the European fronts in World War II and “praying them home,” the changes wrought by Vatican Council II, the tumult of the 1960s, including the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy, and the trauma of 9/11.
Growing up in a home full of faith, fun, and beloved animals, Jane loved playing with her brothers and sisters and their many pooches, ice skating, horseback riding, and as the eldest, taking care of her brothers and sisters and developing her “mother-heart.” Her Catholic schooling as a child and teen inspired her lifelong love of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who had founded her beloved St. Mary’s College, from which two of her daughters graduated. She visited her sister-friends for many years until each passed away.
As a young woman, Jane worked at the University of Notre Dame, where she met, then wed, her husband Dick at Sacred Heart Church, and shortly thereafter began welcoming children into their lives, “my girls,” as she called her three daughters. From the birth of the first daughter until the day she died, Jane’s true joy was motherhood and home-making, which over the years, extended far beyond her beloved daughters, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Due to her life-long proximity to Notre Dame – “Our Lady’s school” in her words – praying the rosary and visits to the Notre Dame Grotto to light candles and pray were Jane’s most cherished faith practices. During Notre Dame football games over the decades, she gave her rosary beads a strenuous workout on behalf of the Fighting Irish, and as many can attest, when Jane promised to pray for you, she did. A night owl from childhood to her dying day, much of her prayer (and conversations with fellow night-owl friends) occurred in the dark wee hours of the night, unseen and unbeknownst to others.
Until Jane lost her vision a few years ago, she spent a great deal of her time sewing: dresses for her girls when they were wee, baby bibs and blankets for expectant or new mothers, toddler outfits for children in Haiti, Christmas stockings, table runners and placemats, dog bandanas; and even though not the kind of creative project that delighted her, Jane patiently accepted mending or alteration projects from those who needed them. A life-long reader, among Jane’s favorite reads, were the New York Times columns and novels of Anna Quindlen, the novels of St. Mary’s College graduate Adriana Trigiani, and her most re-read book Having Our Say by the Delaney Sisters. Hoping and praying that she would join Bessie and Sadie Delaney in the “centenarian club,” Jane looked forward to meeting them in heaven – to thank them for sharing the secrets of living a long life.
Beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Auntie, people-lover, a woman of faith and constant prayer, and cheerful presence – Jane will be missed by her family, friends, and the Immanuel Courtyard staff whose care for her she treasured in the last years of her life. Many near and far regret that they will never again hear in her own voice Jane’s signature sign-off, “Angels on your pillow, dear!” but take comfort in knowing that Jane is now one of those “angels on our pillows.”