Jane VanderWeyden died peacefully at home in Bellingham, WA, on Monday, February 10th, 2020, surrounded by her loving family and friends. She left this world the same way she lived: courageously and on her own terms. Jane was born in Syracuse, New York, on July 22, 1944. Her family moved from upstate New York to Chattanooga, Tennessee, when she was 12. In 1962, Jane graduated from Red Bank High School and began college at Middle Tennessee State University, where she met her future husband, Richard VanderWeyden. Dick and Jane (and yes, they did eventually have a dog named Spot) transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for their senior year of college. In the mid-1960s, they joined the Peace Corps and were headed to India when health issues changed their plans. Dick ended up in the Army, which took them to Alaska, where they began their lifelong love affair with snow-capped mountains and vast stretches of wilderness. Their daughter Lisa was born in Anchorage shortly before Dick was sent to Vietnam. When Dick came home in 1970, the young family returned to Kalamazoo where Dick finished his undergraduate degree in teaching and Jane gave birth to their second child, Jenny. For the next few years, Jane stayed home with the girls before going back to school at WMU to earn a Master's degree in communications. While completing her degree, she began working at Western's Center for Women's Services (CWS), where her passion for activism first ignited. One of Jane's favorite sayings was, "You don't get what you don't ask for," and she applied this philosophy to working for women's equality both at the local and national levels. In the late 1970s, the family marched on Washington, D.C., for the Equal Rights Amendment-twice. Jane championed feminist causes throughout her career at the CWS and, later, as director of Evening and Weekend Programs for WMU's Extended Education department. Political marches weren't the only motivation for Jane and Dick to travel. Their daughters' soccer games took them all over the state, and they also enjoyed camping and fishing in Michigan's state and county parks. In the summer of 1981, Jane and Dick packed up the station wagon and headed west for a month to explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. That summer, Jane and Dick began to dream of someday returning to Wyoming as residents rather than visitors. In the following years, they continued to travel, including a five-week road trip in 1985 from Kalamazoo to Alaska and back again in a Ford Escort Wagon, with two teenagers in the backseat and a Coleman pop-up camper in tow. The entire family somehow survived the close quarters, and Jane and Dick's dream of a future in the mountains took even deeper hold. After their daughters finished high school, Jane and Dick bought a log cabin on Crooked Lake Delton, 20 miles outside of Kalamazoo. Jane left WMU and turned to writing, penning numerous articles over the next decade for two regional magazines, Encore and Welcome Home. In 1991, she helped found the Women's Education Coalition, a Michigan scholarship fund that helps nontraditional women students continue their education. The fund was fully endowed in 1997, and has now helped 260 women make better lives for their families and communities. Jane's passion for the outdoors never lessened. In the mid-90s, a neighbor's son invited Jane and Dick to visit Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp in Dubois, Wyoming, where he worked for the Audubon Society. That first summer, Jane and Dick spent two weeks at historic Trail Lake Ranch, owned by Wyoming Game and Fish and located only an hour and a half from Yellowstone; the next summer, they spent a month in Wyoming; and soon they were spending entire summers in Dubois. Jane taught nature writing for Audubon while Dick helped keep the 1920s-era ranch running. The Lucius Birch Center took over Audubon's lease in 2002, and a year later invited Jane and Dick to live at the ranch year-round as caretakers and program managers. Dick retired from teaching, and they rented out their house on Crooked Lake. At last, their dream of living in Wyoming became a reality. Jane and Dick called Trail Lake Ranch home from 2003 to 2011. While there, they delighted in watching moose and bighorn sheep from their living room windows; hiking among wildflowers and rushing cascades only steps from their front door; welcoming family and friends to their wilderness home at the edge of the Million Acre Wilderness; kayaking in the creek at the end of their driveway; watching the sun set over the rim and the moon rise over the glacier; and witnessing the Milky Way turning silently overhead night after night, year after year. Jane's younger sister Charlotte and her children were frequent visitors to Trail Lake Ranch, just as they had been to Crooked Lake. Jane and Charlotte hiked and backpacked as often as they could, including a memorable adventure in the Grand Tetons. But eventually, the time came to retire from the ranch. In 2015, Jane and Dick moved to Bellingham, WA, to be near their daughter Jenny, her wife Kris, and their three young daughters. In Western Washington, Jane and Dick enjoyed cheering on their granddaughters' school concerts and soccer games, hiking local trails, going sledding at Mt. Baker, roasting marshmallows with their grandchildren, enjoying Friday Night Movie Nights and Sunday brunch with their family, and visiting local restaurants and ice cream shops. They also continued to travel-around Western Washington, back to Wyoming, and even back to Alaska in the summer of 2017-until Jane's dementia diagnosis began to keep her closer to home. In the latter half of 2019, Jane's dementia worsened, and it became clear that she could no longer live the quality of life she had previously enjoyed. And so she made the decision to die a natural death on her own terms with the family and friends she loved and who loved her at her side. Things Jane loved: her family, far and near; her dogs-Torrey and Kodiak, especially; direct communication; birds; Wyoming and Alaska; wildflowers; activism; camping and backpacking; mountains; snow; hyperbole; ice cream; and, of course, chocolate. Organizations she would like you to contribute to if you can: Women's Education Coalition via the Kalamazoo Community Foundation; The Nature Conservancy; and Audubon Society. A celebration of Jane's life is planned for this summer in Bellingham, and the family will also purchase a commemorative plaque for her in the People's Church Memorial Garden in Kalamazoo. Jane is survived by Dick, her husband of nearly 55 years; sisters Margaret and Charlotte; daughters Lee (Shane) and Jenny (Kris); nieces and nephew Lauren, Christopher, Holly, and Elizabeth; grandchildren Alex, Ellie, and Sydney; and dear friends Barbara Kreuzer and Betty Bailey. She was preceded in death by her parents, James Wallace Christie and Jennie Lou Gothard Christie; brother James Oscar Christie; and dear friend Phyllis Rappeport. Jane will be missed by all who loved her, but her spirit, they are certain, continues on, flying free through her beloved Wind River Wilderness, her dog Torrey by her side.