In Memoriam: Jane Fraser

In: KronoScope
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Jane and Julius Fraser at their home in Westport, Connecticut

Citation: KronoScope 23, 1 (2023) ; 10.1163/15685241-20231526

As I was working on this special issue commemorating Julius Fraser’s centenary year, I received the news that my dear friend Jane Fraser, Julius’s wife, passed away. Jane was Julius’s “beloved companion,” as he wrote in the dedication to his final book, Time and Time Again; she was the person who “has been willing to live with the clatter of a typewriter and bear with love the elsewhere-directed habits of an idea processor,” as he wrote in the acknowledgements to Time: The Familiar Stranger. Jane was herself an “idea processor,” whether discussing cultural affairs, the current political situation, or the joys of gardening. She drew on her many years of teaching experience when writing Teacher to Teacher: A Guidebook for Effective Mentoring (Heinemann, 1998) and On Their Way: Celebrating Second Graders as They Read and Write (with Donna Skolnick; Heinemann, 1994).

Members of the International Society for the Study of Time will recall that Jane was a vital part of the triennial conferences, where she would renew friendships with long-time attendees and welcome new attendees into the society. After Julius’s death, she continued to help keep the Fraser spirit alive by attending the conferences at the Orthodox Academy of Crete and the University of Edinburgh, and it was only her declining health that kept her from attending the Loyola Marymount University conference. I include below a sampling of some of the many tributes to Jane that appeared on the ISST list-serv after the news of her death. We will deeply miss her.

Jo Alyson Parker

From Claudia Clausius: Jane’s passing rather marks the final end of an era. Both the Frasers are now gone. They were the original power couple before the term was even coined but in the best possible sense: a couple devoted to each other, to knowledge, to innovation, to the sharing of ideas among intelligent, cultivated, engaging people. It was an honor to have known both of them, and Jane in particular was such an energetic, authentic person.

From Dennis Costa: I remember Jane, first of all, as one half of a very strong team – Julius and Jane, Jane and Julius. I recall her welcoming Brown and me, on several occasions, to her lovely home in Connecticut. And I recall her teaching me exactly how to negotiate heavy traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike!

From Robert Daniel: Jane was a delight to be with. I will treasure my memories of her and of J. T. They embodied warmth, grace, generosity and good cheer, with a healthy dose of intelligence, kindness and good conversation along the way.

From Paul Harris: I … love to think of what a wonderful life Jane and Julius fashioned together, and how much it has touched all of us.

From Rémy Lestienne: Jane … was obviously the first and most constant supporter of Julius’ endeavors, in the area of his ideas and in cementing ISST, our association. In addition, she was very agreeable company. Bernadette and I particularly remember the afternoon we spent together, about ten years ago, in an apartment on the Quai de Bourbon, on the banks of the Seine, talking with her and one of her friends about cultural topics. A touch of her universal spirit. She will remain associated with Julius in our mind.

From Steven Ostovich: The news about Jane is sad, but memories of her bring nothing but joy. She was a beautiful person.

From Raji Steineck: When I started on council, Julius and Jane kindly invited me to visit them at their home on Winding Lane West and to travel to Strathmere with them. Jane and I retained that “custom,” as she liked to call it, after Julius’ demise. We had a great time cooking together or doing errands in the house while talking about ISST business, reminiscing about Julius, or discussing what went on in the world. Besides her warmth and intellect, she was also an astute observer and continued to care deeply about present events and what they meant for the future.

From Mary Schmelzer: Jane was my friend and sometimes partner in crime. Mostly kitchen crime. My thoughts are full of her today. A lovely lady could be a great gal. I hold her close today and smile.

From Walter Schweidler: Jane Fraser was a generous, strong, ingenious and witty person. She was the soul of our society in long years.

From Nicholas Tresilian: I have the most wonderful memory of Jane in the West of England. She and Julius had come to stay in our Georgian rectory. The next morning Julius slept on a bit, but Jane and I had both risen early and so we went for a walk together across the rainy Cotswolds hills. I can still remember the exhilaration of our walk and the global stretch of our conversation. She was veritably a citizen of the world of many-levelled-time that Julius had conjured up for them both to live in.

From Frederick Turner: There’s a great gentle spirit gone. Or maybe not gone, but given.

The following obituary was written by Jane’s daughters, Ann and Carol Hunsicker

We are sad to announce the death of our mother, Jane Fraser. Mom lived in Westport for many years and taught in the Westport school system beginning in 1967. She passed away peacefully in her home on March 1, with family at her side, having just celebrated her 95th birthday.

She was born in Illinois to Robert and Alice Felsenthal. Mom lost her beloved husband Julius in 2010. She is survived by her daughters, Carol and Ann, her stepson Tom, her brother Peter, and their spouses. She will also be sorely missed by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom she adored and was very proud of.

Mom’s favorite things were her family, chocolate, and being at the beach (in that order). She had an adventurous spirit, both intellectually and physically. Mom was not afraid to travel a unique path. Her interests were wide, but family was always her priority. Mom was always good company with interests that stretched from classical music to books to teaching to hiking and gardening. She will be missed by many.

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