Goodbye To A Friend Jane Moe, Whose Gift Of Gab Endeared Her To Many, Dies At 66

Jane Moe was never mayor, wasn’t president of a big company or a movie star.

But when the North Side woman died last month, the crowd that filled the seats and leaned against the walls of Hazen and Jaeger Funeral Home paid tribute to a woman who touched hearts, treasured friends and never forgot a kindness.

She would have loved it.

“People were important to Jane. She kept track of them. She sent cards, she called them,” said her sister, Helen Duchow.

“From the time she was little, she never had any trouble talking,” said Duchow. “She’d strike up a conversation with anyone.”

Talk she did.

She rallied neighbors for picnics, chatted with singer John Denver, scolded bad-boy Cip Paulsen and sweet-talked baseball’s Ryne Sandberg into turning custody of his sports memorabilia over to her for safe-keeping.

Neighbors a block away could hear when Jane Moe was cheering for “her boys”- Sandberg, basketball’s John Stockton and football’s Mark Rypien. She was a loyal fan, keeping a schedule so she could watch the games.

She chatted as warmly with former mayors Sheri Barnard and the late Vicki McNeill as she did with 101-year-old Edna across the street.

If something was going on, Jane Moe was there.

“She liked to be in the middle of the action,” said her daughter, Kathy Moe.

She was born Jane Hubbell, grew up, raised a family and died at age 66, all in the same house on York Avenue in the Emerson-Garfield neighborhood.

She went to Audubon Elementary, Havermale Junior High and North Central High School where she was president of the girls’ Annamega (sorority) Club.

She worked at the milk bottle-shaped Benewah Dairy on Northwest Boulevard, sometimes slipping her sister and best friends a cookie from the case when they came in.

After graduation, she was hired for the accounting department at Pacific Northwest Bell.

“There was a group of us, we did a lot together,” said Donna Taylor, one of the life-long friends Moe made at the phone company.

Moe married the boy down the street. Her husband, Jene Moe, remembers his first time out with the lively co-ed.

“Jane and her friends were all going with Gonzaga basketball players,” he said.

“My friends and I gave them a ride home after the game, and decided to show them the Whitworth College campus.

“The girls rolled down the windows and started singing really loud, some really nasty songs,” said Jene Moe.

“Well, that broke the ice, of course,” he said, with a laugh.

The couple dated regularly. He went to mortuary school and into the service. When he came home at Christmas, Jene and Jane went out for coffee at a little brick cafe. Her mom was critically ill and she wanted to see the two married.

Jene and Jane decided to tie the knot the next Saturday. Nevermind it was the holiday season and no church was available. They married in the chapel of Riplinger Funeral Home.

“Jene and Jane spent so much of their courtship at the funeral home, I think it was appropriate,” said Taylor.

In a matter of days, Jane organized a group of friends to help her pull together her dress, a cake, decorations, flowers, even a photographer.

“She was great at organizing people,” said her son, Jim Moe. “If you weren’t organized, she’d get you organized. No one just stood around.”

Jane wanted four children before she was 30. Three sons and a daughter were born between 1955 and 1959 - just as she wanted.

“She always knew what was going to happen, and you didn’t argue with her,” said her sister.

After her children were born, she returned to work at the phone company. When the office closed and moved to Seattle, the women continued meeting in a sewing club.

The Moes were involved in a range of community activities. Jane was PTA president and chairman of Spokane School District 81 levies. They were members of Optimist Club, Moose Lodge and neighborhood associations.

In 1973, Jane Moe went to work for M&M; Ticket Agency, eventually becoming manager. She sold tickets for various events during Expo ‘74. She met Denver, who was checking on ticket sales for his concert.

“Boy, she made a lot of friends there,” said her son, Jim Moe. “She had all of us working there one time or another, helping sell tickets.

She was loyal, her family said. Loyal to her family, roots, community and friends.

Even to her grocery brands - Bold laundry detergent, Avon’s Moonwind perfume, and Watkins vanilla. She had the same Watkins salesman - Tom Brown - for 40 years.

“The Watkins man was at her funeral,” said Jim Moe.

It was her allegiance to Winston cigarettes that cut her life short, said her son. “She was a chain smoker.”

But even while emphysema was stealing her life, Jane Moe continued calling and writing to friends.

Niece Carolyn Gardella remembered her Aunt Jane in a note to the family.

“It wasn’t the gifts she gave, as much as the gift she was,” said Gardella.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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