Jane Elizabeth Smith
Jane (Mom) was born in Garden City, Kansas on November 17, 1939, to John Victor Venard and Mary Catherine Walker. Mom primarily grew up in Olathe, Kansas and attended and graduated from Olathe High School in 1957. She graduated from Kansas State College (now Kansas State University) in 1961. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and the Sigma Alpha Eta honorary fraternity, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961. After graduation, she began teaching in Wichita, Kansas.
She married Gerald Kendall Smith (Jerry) on August 4, 1962, and the same day they quickly drove to Phoenix, Arizona in mom’s MG two-seat convertible. Her new husband was only allowed a three-day pass from the Arizona Air National Guard to get married. Almost immediately after arriving, they welcomed a good friend, Al Dingle, who was the first of many close friends Jane and Jerry were lucky enough to have as guests. One of their favorite activities was cooking for friends, tasting fine wine, playing games, telling stories and debating topics, emphasizing proper grammar. Like her mother, Jane was a card thief. Bridge was one of his favorite hobbies.
Jane lived a wonderful life in Phoenix, Arizona raising three children: Gerald Francis (Jerry), Kendall and John. Mom lived her life to the fullest, always enjoying her favorite passions to the end: wine, food, reading and cards. Jane and Jerry loved to travel. They were lucky enough to take their three children on a few six-week sabbaticals to Africa and Israel, always welcomed and shared with friends they had met throughout their lives. Jerry’s work brought them into academic and intellectual circles filled with fascinating people, including the late John Frank, host of a Vespers Club that met Thursdays at Lewis and Roca in Phoenix, and the former Secretary of Security interior Janet Napolitano, with whom they traveled to Italy for the Secretary’s 50th birthday, which was a very special memory. Mom just had fun wherever she was, including playing cards with her grandkids in Park City, Utah, cooking with her stepdaughter, Jan, fishing with her husband and kids. children in the Sea of Cortez and hosting friends. One of her favorite memories over the years was hosting Christmas parties at her house – playing the piano for all, singing Christmas carols, and celebrating life with close friends and family. Jerry and Jane were also adventurers and unique in their chosen adventures. When their children were nearly out of the house and into college, they began building a farmhouse in southeastern Arizona near Bonita from adobe bricks and parts acquired during demolitions in Phoenix where Jane would find such gems as cast iron tubs and sinks. They recruited friends to help out on the weekends in exchange for good food, wine, games and many memorable evenings. They also managed to infuriate their children and their children’s partners at various times, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this special place. Jerry Francis, the eldest, and his wife, Dale, lived nearby at first, when Jerry’s construction background came in particularly handy. The farm now has 30 acres of vineyards cultivated by their son, John and his wife Jan, with consultation from their daughter, Kendall, and her husband, Michael, who are both well-known winemakers in Napa Valley.
Mom is survived by her husband, Jerry, her three children, her eight grandchildren and her brother and friend, Bob Venard. She will be greatly missed and truly remembered as one of the sweetest people many of us have had the joy of knowing.
His celebration of life will be held at the Tucson Country Club in the Mesquite Grove on April 30, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please let John Smith know if you will be attending [email protected] on or before April 25, 2022. Jane truly loved giving to charities and if you are so inclined to give a gift in Jane’s honor, Jane supported the following charities:
Posted on April 05, 2022
Posted in The Arizona Republic