Jane Robinson Gillespie, 90, died at Glendora Healthcare Center, Wooster, Ohio, on August 15, 2011, on the 69th anniversary of her marriage to the late David Grier Gillespie.
She was born Martha Jane Robinson, in Shadyside, Ohio, on August 28, 1920 to Martha McDonald and Elmer Charles Robinson. She attended Shadyside and Bellaire high schools (1st year and 2nd-4th). As a sophomore, she sang the lead in the school operetta, and graduated in 1938 with the highest grades in her class.
In 1942, she graduated from the College of Wooster, Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in German and voice, and was also recognized as Top German Scholar.
She married David G. Gillespie, M.D., in 1942. After raising four children, Jane earned a master?s in Special Education from Case Western Reserve University in 1970. Instead of teaching, she embraced community service, guided by her unwavering commitment to peacemaking and social justice.
From 1948 until the mid-1970?s, Jane attended Trinity Presbyterian Church in Beachwood, Ohio, where she and her husband were founding members, and sang with its choir from 1948. Starting in 1975, she and her husband attended Calvary Presbyterian Church, a progressive, racially integrated, urban congregation. She was a delegate to the 1985 General Assembly Meeting of the Presbyterian Church, USA, from the Presbytery of the Western Reserve. After her husband retired from Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, they moved to Wooster in 1985 and attended Westminster Presbyterian Church.
From the late 1950?s until 1985, she served in many different capacities at Garden Valley Neighborhood House, one of Cleveland?s original settlement houses in a chronically blighted section known as ?The Forgotten Triangle.? She served as president of its board of directors and initiated a very successful fundraising effort with area businesses called the Garden Valley Friends and Neighbors Campaign. She also started a neighborhood newspaper, ?Garden Valley Friends and Neighbors.?
In 1975, with United Church of Christ minister Dewey Fagerburg and other activist clergy in the Cleveland area, she served as the only lay person on the founding board of
The Gillespie Memorial Scholarship, c/o Tri-C Foundation, 700 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115-9981 or Community Re-Enbtry, c/o Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, 1468 West 25th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113
Memorial service on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Westminister Presbyterian Church