Jane Wofford Malin
Jane Malin, who was born on January 30, 1926, died in Lawrence on August 4, 2016. She spent her childhood here, the only and beloved child of Betty and James Malin, attending both Liberty Memorial High School and the University of Kansas. At KU, as an undergraduate, she majored in Zoology, but soon after her graduation in 1945, she turned to the field which she loved profoundly, French, for her MA. From KU, she went on the the University of Texas-Austin in French literature, completing her Ph.D in 1961 with a dissertation on “Surrealism in the French Theatre between the Wars.”
Jane also studied French literature at McGill University in Montreal and, with a Fulbright grant, at the Sorbonne for two years in Paris. Returning from Paris in 1955, she joined the Department of French at the University of Houston, where she taught until her retirement in 1982 as associate professor. During her tenure at the University of Houston, Jane taught a diversity of subjects in the French Department as well as interdisciplinary courses in the Open University. Not only did she serve as department chair during her years at the University of Houston, but she also directed plays in both French and Spanish and wrote frequently about theater and the opera. Jane was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was decorated by the French government with the Chevalier des Palmes Academiques.
Returning to Lawrence in 1983, where she continued to live in the home designed and built by her father, Jane became fully engaged in theater work. Between 1986 and 2005, she acted in twenty plays presented by the Lawrence Community Theater, specializing in comedy. Most notably, she starred in Grace and Glory, a two-woman play, which traveled to acclaim throughout the country. She also worked in the LCT’s office, ushered at the theater, assisted with costumes, served on the board, and baked cookies and other sweets to be served at intermission for every production. In 2006, Jane was given a Phoenix Award for her work as a Volunteer in the Arts. In 2010, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the LCT Board.
Jane loved flowers, loved delicious and interesting foods, and, above all, loved her friends. She was always eager to hear their stories, to know their thoughts, and to care for them in any way she could. Her sense of humor was sharp and her generosity capacious. She lives on in our hearts and memories. A gathering celebrating Jane’s life will be held at Theatre Lawrence, September 18 at 5:30.
Donations, in memory of Jane, should be made to the Theatre Lawrence Endowment Fund.