Jane not only made the library a welcome place for students but also for colleagues from any discipline. I loved to visit with her there and learn from her suggestions for naturalist readings (as well as for help on knitting projects!). Her long-term commitment to the noon-time lap swims kept me inspired on days I wanted to skip. Above all, I will miss running into her on campus, walking with the dog, and having the chance to share the short but lively conversations that always made my day. She was a very special person.
As University Librarian for 17 yrs. when Jane worked in the Launders Science Library I would just like to say what a pleasure it was to have Jane on the library staff. She always had real engagement with the students and faculty and was intellectually curious about all things liberal arts. I never had to worry about her relations with other staff and she was a model in terms of her love of the library and what it stood for. We all had a lot to learn from Jane and we all will miss her deeply.
I spent hours and hours with Jane and her mom, Molly. We talked about everything, usually with a cup of tea in hand. To get her going, it was best to discuss politics. Both Jane and Molly had a New England independent free thinking spirit. Jane was like family, a true friend, always welcoming and positive. I saw her last November and she was in great spirits, excited to hear about everything I
could tell her about my life and my family. My condolences to Clark and the boys.
Rip Westmoreland '79
Some people “want to be” Laurentians whereas others just are Laurentians without giving it a second thought. Jane Eaton was of the later variety and in the place where she found her call – whether Valentine Reading Room, ODY or Launders Library – she was so very much at home. She thusly made those places feel like home for generations of science students and new faculty, myself included, for all the years I can remember at St. Lawrence. She intended the best for the institution and she understood that that would come to the institution through its students, faculty and alumni. To that end, she fiercely defended the ideas of librarianship that she believed would best serve St. Lawrence, especially its students, including the need for a science library. She did everyone a great service, making both ODY and Launders better servants of our needs in the long run. She was visionary.
At the very same time, she was “parental” to all who reached her desk with an issue or a problem, some of which were not of a library nature. She listened and advised on them anyway. Students learned their way around the literature and more; they learned concern for the environment, proper behavior, ethics and honesty and citizenship – quite a lot to gain from a librarian! Valentine was a good place to go and Launders is today as well, in part because it has inherited and maintained some of the atmosphere and user-centered attitudes that Jane Eaton engendered in its initial concept.
Many times during and after my years as university Library Committee Chair I sought her wise counsel on important issues facing the program. She calmly and thoughtfully shared her understandings in the gentle way that was her style. Because of her influence on the quality of its educational program, St. Lawrence owes her more of a debt than it comprehends. Lest we forget too quickly, as we are want to do these days, I say, “Thanks ever so much, Jane, for making this such a great place to learn, especially to learn science. Laurentians fondly count you among them.”
J. Mark Erickson, Chapin Professor of Geology Emeritus
The problem with writing about Jane is that it's hard to be brief. Jane was an amazing and inspiring woman whom I greatly admired. She had strong opinions and spoke her mind, but she was kind to her audience. She lived her conscience, and that sometimes meant breaking the rules. She was knowledgeable and curious about so many things. She made me laugh. I want to be like Jane when I grow up.
When I arrived at St. Lawrence as a young faculty member,over 20 years ago, and met Jane Eaton in the old science library in Valentine, I remember thinking that she seemed venerable even then and slightly intimidating with her face full of the character of time and penetrating, bright eyes. Of course, one conversation made it clear that Jane was anything but intimidating, in fact, she was among the best listeners and most supportive people I've known. Innumerable faculty and students shared their hopes, fears and dreams with Jane and she gave us all her undivided attention and kindness in addition to meeting our library needs and questions with admirable speed and efficiency. For years, preceding the beginning of the North Country Zen meditation sangha that continues to meet weekly in Herring-Cole,Jane hosted a weekly morning meditation and breakfast at her apartment on Main St. attended by a small group of faculty and community members. Jane's ginger bread was to die for and the after-meditation conversation over breakfast was all the more stimulating and sometimes humorous because of Jane.
All of my interactions with Jane over the years demonstrated the intentional, conscious way she lived, her life. Even the way she walked was distinctive: though of small stature, Jane had the slow, majestic, deliberate gait of an elephant.
Jane's unassuming intelligence, curiosity, unconditional acceptance of individuals and compassion for them and her quiet courage during her life and the end of it are the things that I will always remember and appreciate about Jane. I, and so many of us, are better people for having known her.
I met Jane Eaton Gage in the Fall of 1961, the beginning of my freshman year at St. Lawrence. She and Clarke basically adopted me for the next four years
wondrous act as they already had three young children of their own and certainly did not need to add a seventeen year old college kid to their family.
Jane was a wonderful friend. Her generosity, her warmth and understanding are memories that I cherish to this day. I still bake her cookies from the same
3x5 recipe card she gave me in 1965.
When our son was born in 1970, Jane made him a Teddy Bear and sent a note saying that if he felt he was too old for a Teddy Bear, his father wasnâ€™t
- she knew me well.
We have visited Jane and Clarke nearly each summer since graduation. A visit that has become a summer tradition.
I will miss Jane but she fills a special place in my heart.