Elizabeth Jane Sheldrake

Tmp00002Elizabeth JANE Sheldrake, 94, resident of Bellevue, WA for 50 years, well loved by family and friends died May 15th, 2014 of congestive heart failure while residing at a Phantom Lake Neighborhood home care residence.
Jane was born June 3rd, 1919 in Portland, Oregon,the only child to Fay D. Howe and Bernice F. Howe.  Jane attended312 Fulton Park, a three room school and went on to Lincoln High School.  She sang in the school choir, and received a medal for excellence in Spanish.  She also co-edited Lincoln High’s Spanish newspaper.
During Jane’s first year at the University of Washington ( at age 17), she lived with her uncle and family to  babysit her younger cousin, then moved to a boarding house in the University District. Jane’s plans were to graduate in Foreign Trade and go to South America.  However, Tom Sheldrake, UW student from Hood River, Oregon, altered those intentions. ( A Husky football player, Tom was a member of the 1937 Rose Bowl Team.)  They met at a Westminster House evening fireside.
After graduating from the University of Washington in 1940 with a B.A. in Economics and Business, Jane313 took a civil service job at the Puget Sound Naval Yard, and Tom taught and coached at Bremerton High School. They were married at Westminster House in 1941.
In 1942, Tom was drafted, went into the Army Air Corps, and was sent to OCS at Miami, FL, where Jane joined him.  Their son, Michael was born at the Breakers Hotel in West Palm Beach, an Army regional hospital.  Later they were stationed in California, and son Stephen was born at The Oakland Hotel, also a regional hospital.  Other assignments followed until Tom joined the staff at the Pentagon to plan the Air Force Academy.  Daughter, Susan was born in DC.
Jane enjoyed the next few years in Europe as Tom served his overseas duty. Jane tended family in London, England, and Wiesbaden, Germany, was happy to exercise her Spanish ability in Spain and see the sights in Italy, France and Scandinavia
Often on the move, Jane, Tom and family returned to the US, were stationed at Montgomery, AL then Vandenberg AFB, Ca.  With Tom’s retirement from the Air Force in 1963, Jane, Tom  and family  moved to Bellevue, WA.  Jane worked for Boeing Co., then Washington Natural Gas for several years before retiring.  They attended Overlake Park Presbyterian Church, joining in 1977.  Jane became a Deacon, and was active in the church Emergency Feeding Program.  She helped coordinate Silver Circle senior group, organized the annual Memorial Day American flag displays, always a valued volunteer. Jane’s beloved “Col.Tom” passed away in 1983. 
Jane was proud to be a Husky and attended UW Husky games with husband Tom for years, then with son, Michael.  She was quite proud that all her children and grandson, Travis had graduated from the UW.
One of Jane’s greatest joys was serving as a volunteer docent for the Cougar Mt. Zoo in Issaquah, where for 20 years, most Friday afternoons would find her helping the public to understand the American Cougar.  She would show children and adults her albums of cougar photos, broadening their experience. She continued sharing her enthusiasm in this way while dependent on a walker, and even in a wheelchair in her last years as “The Cougar Lady”.
Jane is survived by her Children:  Michael, Stephen + Julianna, and Susan. Grandchildren:  Marcus + Elise, Jennifer + Spencer, and Brent + Jessica, Kristopher, Travis, and Melissa.  Great-grandchildren:  Madison, Emma, and Nicole.  
There will be a private family memorial, and internment at Tahoma Nat’l Cemetery (with Tom) at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to
Cougar Mountain Zoo, 19525 SE 54th Street, Issaquah, Washington 98027
Overlake Park Presbyterian Church 1836 156th Ave Ne, Bellevue, WA, US, 98007 


6 Responses to “Elizabeth Jane Sheldrake”

  • Kathie Kachel says:

    Dear Susan. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mother. My cell phone number is 425 308 8782. Please call anytime. I know your heart is aching. I still miss my Mom everyday. I’m so happy our Mom’s were good friends in their younger years.
    Bless you… Kathie

  • Inez Allan says:

    There are so many wonderful memories of Jane and you sharing in activities at the church as well as the delightful Christmas parties it fills my heart.
    We will all missed looking forward to visiting with her on these occasions. Please, know you in my prayers as you adjust to this loss. Jane was a most gracious lady.
    I wish you PEACE,
    Hugs, Inez

  • Carol Kinsman says:

    Your mother was such a cheery, friendly lady, always ready to chat and find out what was new. I will never forget her entering into the social hall,walking,or with a walker or a wheelchair. She was glad to be with people. Take care of yourself as I know you were a very close mother and daughter. Peace and hugs, Carol

  • Ann Steele says:

    Oh Susan, I’m so sorry! I have such wonderful memories of your Mom at the zoo over my last 8 years there. I’m so glad she found so much joy with us. She will be missed tremendously. Please know my love & thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Your zoo family sends our sypathy and support. Big hugs, Ann

  • Sandy Nelson says:

    Susan, My heart goes out to you. I still miss my mom so much and she has been gone over 10 years now. You were so lucky to be able to be so close to your mom for so many years and to share so many experiences together. She was a very special lady. My thoughts are with you. Love, Sandy

  • Ann Booth says:

    Susan, we are so sorry to hear of your loss. Mothers are very special and we know you will miss her a lot.
    Take care and know we will keep you in our prayers.
    Ann and Dwayne

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