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KANE, Jane F. McDonald

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KANE, Jane F. McDonald, (Dubuque, IA, Mar. 14, 1936--Missoula, MT, May 15, 2023) Noted eccentric, road warrior, artist, collector of many books if not always a reader of them, Sun Dancer, Catholic, hoarder of odd and beautiful things, well-known sweet tooth, and beloved, if often nettlesome, mother, Jane Frances McDonald Kane was a great outliner of very specific memorial requests. Her headstone was be surrounded by a “white picket fence” and, further, that a “bench with rotating reading materials” be part of her resting ground.

All who knew Jane-those who loved her as well as those who ducked into a doorway when they saw her-are welcomed by her seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to attend any of these events and to bear witness to her passing and to her unique life. We children and grandchildren of Jane thought she would live forever, and it seemed for a while as though she would.

A golfer, tennis player, ace jack-knife diver, field hockey sweeper, yoga student, and funky dancer, Jane was uncommonly physical and powered through many ailments and obstacles. One of four siblings, Jane was the daughter of Andrew Young McDonald IV and Frances Marshall McDonald. Her beloved sister, Ann Louise McDonald, was born in 1937 and was Jane’s occasional traveling companion and partner in overly lengthy discussions about social and culinary minutiae such as relish trays. (It should be noted that if Ann chose a color or a team, Jane, ever refractory, inevitably chose the opposite-purple instead of pink, sled dogs instead of poodles, the White Sox instead of the Cubs, etc.) Another sister, Susan Jean McDonald, was born in 1943 and died shortly after her birth. Jane’s brother, Andrew Young “Drew” McDonald V, whom she pined for during the later years of her life, was born in 1947 and preceded Jane in death in 2021. Also preceding her in death in 1990 was her adored Aunt Abby McDonald Dancer, with whom Jane could and did converse for staggering amounts of time on the telephone and with whom she went on many a station wagon trip (“those g.d. buggy rides” as Jane’s father referred to them). Aunt Abby is greatly missed by the whole family but was especially mourned by her niece.

Jane attended the ACADEMY OF THE VISITATION (THE) in Dubuque for primary school where she was taught by Sullivan great-aunts. She fondly remembered “The Vis,” but was less sentimental regarding her time at Saint Clara’s Female Academy, a boarding school located at The Mound complex in Sinsinawa, WI. After her primary and secondary education, Jane attended Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia from September 1954-August 1956. Later she attended LORAS COLLEGE, majoring in Fine Arts. Never in it for the degree, Jane was an inveterate student, enrolling in many schools and colleges without completing coursework: Mary College in Bismarck, North Dakota; Salish Kootenai Community College in Pablo, Montana; and The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, among others.

A true bohemian-often, but not always, bordering on the lunatic-Jane fiercely loved but could not always care for her family. She taught her seven children fearlessness and a wide-ranging cultural competency making sure that any book a child wanted was purchased, any lessons in tennis or French, for instance, would be secured, and powwows or museum exhibits would be attended. She was not always equally careful in providing meals, on-time attendance, personal discipline, or recognition of the individuality of each of her children. Raised in the shadow of the 1950s, Jane was in near constant rebellion against the norms of that era for women. A great and unconscious beauty, Jane initially attempted to navigate those rules by conforming. She married Bartholomew John Kane II in 1958, noting after his death in 1969, “Well, there goes my dream of having thirteen children.” Jane quickly moved from her Jackie O period (during which time she was a founder of the first Montessori school in Minneapolis, MN, and her children were dressed in the fashion of the Kennedys) into her “Whole Earth Catalog” era- it should be noted that neither of these phases was particularly popular in Bismarck, North Dakota where she lived for some 14 years. During this time, she married Arlin Arthur Fraederichs who provided her and their children with great stability and cornbread for breakfast.

She and Arlin raised chickens, communed with the Missouri River, and went to innumerable Threshing Bees and rural antique shows. (Both husbands proceeded her in death.) Her back-to-the-land epoch gave way to something more hippie and more New Age in which astrology, yoga, alternative spirituality, candles, the no-bra look, and a standard 1970s recklessness characterized both her days and nights, most of the latter spent at the GP Warehouse Bar and Disco or the Pepper Mill. During this interval Jane worked for The United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, primarily in the North Dakota State Prison, helping to implement the reforms of The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. It was at this time that Jane began her slightly problematic but always sincere and often contributory participation in Lakota, Salish, and Blackfeet religious practices culminating in her work in ceremony, including the Sun Dance, with Buster Yellow Kidney, the great Blackfeet spiritual leader. It is worth noting the generosity and patience with which Jane was received by Yellow Kidney, and by Courtney Red Horse, Katherine “Cat” Face, Agnes Vanderberg, Mary Rose Morigeau, the Matts, the Big Sams and many other family and friends in Indian Country in both North Dakota and Montana. Though she never did find her true and lasting home, Jane was greatly attached to Arlee, Montana, the town she called her residence from 1981 to 2001.

In her last act, Jane moved to Missoula, Montana where she continued to practice her unconventional and singular ways, taking seriously her calling as Yiyi and Grandmother to her many grandchildren-well, as seriously as she could. (There was that one incident in Ellensburg, WA in 1999 . . . and other defugalties and minor apocalypses.)



Obituaries, Dubuque Today, Online: https://dubuquetoday.com/obituaries/#Jane%20F.%20McDonald%20Kane