Jane Murray, 86, died in Lawrence, KS on March 4, 2016. Two weeks ago, she was returning from her KU class she was taking…this one was, “The Revolutionary War”. She stumbled over her feet and fell, fracturing her jaw. Although she was beginning to recover, a sprained ankle, small stroke and inability to eat, all ended up being … “just a bridge too far!” A party will be held in her honor at Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro at Bradley Fair, 8115 E. 21st St. N., Wichita, KS 67206 on Saturday, March 26th, come and go, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Jane was born in Wichita, KS and graduated from East High School at age 16 in 1946. She was married to Harry Webster and had two children, Richard and Christine. After divorcing, she attended Wichita State University, with the help of financial aid. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. In spite of being a single woman with two children, she applied and was accepted to law school at the University of Kansas, but according to Jane, there were not enough jobs available for women in Lawrence at that time, which was a necessity to help pay her tuition. A good person came along who knew of her plight and helped her apply and receive a scholarship to attend Law school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, graduating in 1958, a year early as she was out of money and the school allowed her to double up on her classes. She completed her course work, all while working part time doing medical transcription, answering calls at a switch board, and even cocktail waitressing…which Jane was not ashamed of commenting that it was by far, the best paying of her part time jobs!
After graduation from law school, Jane was accepted to the LLM program, a Masters of Law degree program at NYU in New York City. She considered this opportunity, but again, finances played a role and decided she could not accept and instead, needed to find a job to support her family as a single mother.
Jane remained in St. Louis, where her daughter, Rosa was born. Jane was in private law practice with her lifelong friend, Fred Reichmann. Later, Jane accepted a job at the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis, MO, clerking for Justice Harry Blackmun, where she was particularly proud of her work associated with the long fought, Little Rock, AR public school integration cases.
In 1968, Jane returned to Wichita, KS to accept a Senior Law Clerk position with Federal Judge Wesley Brown. She clerked for Judge Brown for 35 years, retiring in 2003, when she was almost 75 years old. Jane then moved to Honolulu, HI, fondly telling friends she “ran away from home!” Almost immediately, she enrolled at the University of Hawaii and took a course on Hawaiian language. She must have made an impression, as soon afterwards, she and her classmates took off on a tour of all the islands with their young, shirtless instructor! While in Hawaii, Jane volunteered at the U.S. Army Museum, where she shared military history with visitors from around the world…..All of those “thick” books she read over the years came in handy! Mom returned to the mainland in 2010 and spent two years living near her daughter, Rosa in Elkhart, KS, before moving to Lawrence in 2011. Jane belonged to MENSA and was a 60-year member of the Missouri Bar.
Jane was the daughter of Ray and Madge (Beals) Meredith. Survivors include her daughter, Rosa Mitchell and her husband, Brian, Elkhart, KS; daughter, Christine Cook and husband, Larry, Wichita and daughters-in-law, Shelly Webster, Brooksville, FL and Ann Murray, Wichita. Grandchildren include Jordan Mitchell, Philadelphia, PA, Audrey Mitchell, Lawrence, KS, Michelle Wallace of Corpus Christi, TX, Eric Burns of Sedgwick, KS and Jesse Burns of Coolidge, AZ, Ian and Joe Webster of Brooksville, FL, Tara Cunningham, Wichita and Aaron Murray, Thornton, CO and niece, Pam Lappin, Atlanta, GA. Jane has 9 great grandchildren. Jane was proceeded in death by her son, Richard Webster, sister, Meredith Hill, step-son, Terry Murray and husband, Kenneth Murray.
Jane lived life to the fullest by being brave, not only to learn and try new things, but by service and advocating for those who lacked opportunities and resources to remedy injustices and achieve their full potential. As such, she supported the important legal work done by The Southern Poverty Law Center, located in Montgomery, AL. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to The Southern Poverty Law Center and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.