In Memory: Jane Eaton

To:                The St. Lawrence Community

From:           William L. Fox, President

Date:             January 2, 2013

Subject:        In Memory: Jane Eaton

Read Memories of Jane Eaton from Others

We have learned of the December 24 death of Jane Eaton, who retired from St. Lawrence’s Launders Science Library in 2004 after a career of 45 years and immeasurable influence on generations of students.  Even after retirement, Jane served St. Lawrence in a part-time position, extending her contributions through five decades.  Jane’s colleagues shared some reflections with us that honor her memory with affection and admiration.

Karen Johnson, associate professor of physics, honored Jane for her creation in the early 1970s of the original Valentine Reading Room as a space where science faculty and students could check the latest science periodicals, scan New Scientist, consult the references, or simply come together outside of the classroom.  (I found a welcoming atmosphere in the Valentine Reading Room, even as a history major, and I visited to browse and study.)  Over the next 40 years the Reading Room evolved into Launders Science Library, and throughout those years, Jane presided with grace and good humor.  She was particularly attached to the generations of St. Lawrence students who worked for her in the library, many of them from Kenya, and they responded by developing equally strong attachments to her.

Eric Williams-Bergen, science librarian, said that Jane was tremendously insightful and brought out the best in the students who worked and studied in the Science Library and Valentine Reading Room, someone who always took time to ask students about their home towns, their course of study and plans for the future.   Eric also said that his memories of Jane focus on their innumerable conversations about politics, philosophy, and the environment.  

Jane is survived by Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Clarke Gage; their sons, Michael (Sandra Cherin) Gage, Timothy (Lynne Shultis) Gage, and Barnard Gage; their grandchildren Lauren, David, and Emily; and many dear friends.   We send our sincere sympathies to all who loved and cared for Jane.  The Gage family asks that for those wishing to do so, expressions of condolence may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley. 

When Jane’s family confirms plans for a celebration of her life, we will share those plans with you.