Jane (Erickson) Whitmer, 69, died at her home in Salida, Colo. on May 30, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. Born and raised in Lincoln, Jane fell in love with Colorado on camping trips with her family, and later in college at the University of Northern Colorado. She returned to Lincoln after college where she raised her two daughters, Ellie and AnnieLaurie Erickson.
She was dedicated to working with young children, particularly those marginalized by society, and she taught Head Start, kindergarten, and first grade. She co-created the SRI/St. Elizabeth Child Development Center, which became Gallup Child Development Center. She was later appointed the Early Childhood Consultant for Lincoln Public Schools. She holds two master's degrees from University of Nebraska–Lincoln in Child Development and Educational Administration.
She is the co-author with Helen Raikes of Beautiful Beginnings, a curriculum for infants and toddlers, and she continued her work with child and parent organizations and their myriad issues in Salida.
Jane valued connection with people above all else. This manifested in service, boundless energy, enthusiasm, and a sincere dedication to finding the joy in every occasion of living, however hidden, including her battle with cancer. Those who knew Jane understand she is irreplaceable. They also know they must continue her work of spreading love at every opportunity and shining light in every direction, in service to the humanity Jane fervently believed in.
Jane is survived by her husband, Ron Ferris, her daughters and their partners, Ellie Erickson and Lindsay Smith of Austin, Texas, AnnieLaurie Erickson, Patch Somerville, and grandson Sonny May Somerville of New Orleans, La., her siblings Annie Laurie (Jerry) Schapmann, Amy Whitmer, Mae Whitmer, Dougal (Cindy) Whitmer, many nieces and nephews, and her chosen grandson Cooper Hodge of Salida, Colo. Preceded in death by her parents Art and Annie Laurie Whitmer, brother Bill Whitmer.
Jane requested that anyone wishing to make a donation in her name please do so to one of the programs that she co-founded in Salida: Nurturing Parenting Program, 448 E. 1st Street, Room 166, Salida, CO 81201; or Mindfulness in the Jail Program, 211 F Street, Salida, CO 81201. The celebration of Jane Whitmer's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 27, at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1144 M Street, Lincoln.