Jane Crofoot - age: 96
(December 09, 1919 to July 05, 2016
Jane Crofoot, matriarch of a legendary timber and mining family, has died at age 96 at her ranch along Highway 101 at Largo south of Ukiah. A visitation will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2016 from 3 8 PM at the Eversole Mortuary. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Eversole Mortuary in Ukiah. She will be buried beside her late husband Henry Bud Crofoot at Russian River Cemetery. Following the burial, a celebration of Jane Crofoots life will be held beginning at 3 p.m. at Jeriko Winery north of Hopland.
Jane, true to her spirit, planned her own service. She requested or planned details that were unique and untraditional, just like her, said granddaughters Cassandra Crofoot Mortier and Jessica Jane Crofoot.
Jane Crofoot was born Iola Jane Yeakey in 1919 in Susanville. Her rural roots fostered a life of hard work, a streak of independence and a hankering for adventure.
In 1940 Jane was working at a Woolworths store in Reno, Nev. when a mutual friend introduced her to Bud, son of a timber and mining entrepreneur. Together Bud and Jane formed an enduring marriage and partnership that drew the admiration of family, friends and their community.
Just a few years into her marriage Jane stepped up and managed a family-owned sawmill in the Butte County town of Magalia after husband Bud was called up for service in the waning years of World War II. She learned to work alongside sawmill workers, timber fallers and truck drivers, in order to keep the mill operation running smoothly and successfully.
Jane Crofoot could work as long and hard as any man.
My grandmother was a feminist before her time. She was capable of anything and everything because of her innate self- sufficiency, while simultaneously honoring her role as wife and mother with unparalleled devotion, said Cassandra.
In her early years in Ukiah Jane had the choice of learning how to play golf or take flying lessons.
As Granny shared with me, why would I want to hit a ball with a stick when I could learn to fly, said Jessica.
By 1950, Jane had her pilots license. She logged more than 4,000 hours of piloting over a 32-year period. Her flying skills became a big plus for the family business. Jane Crofoot flew replacement parts to remote logging operations, evaluated timber stands from the air, and ferried family members to business meetings and social gatherings. She also participated in several search and rescue operations. She piloted her Cessna 182 Skylane until 1982.
Jane Crofoots skills were many, but she is probably best remembered as an individual of immense grace.
She was warm and welcoming during her long life without regard to the social status or business stature of family, friends or guests.
A lot of who I am today, my viewpoints on life and how you treat others, I learned from my Granny said Jessica.
Family member Jennifer Fetzer Saylor said she always marveled
at how Jane respected and treated a maid or a gardener the same as she did a CEO.
Vintner John Fetzer was a boyhood friend of Dan Crofoot, youngest son of Jane and Bud, when he was first welcomed into the family home. You could be one of a hundred people in the room but when Jane was talking to you, you were the only one who mattered, said Fetzer.
During an era when timber deals or mining contracts were negotiated over drinks and dinner, and then sealed with a handshake, the Crofoots were among the best known hosts.
It took immense work, but Jane Crofoot somehow made it seem effortless, said John Fetzer.
Jane Crofoot in her final years enjoyed a quiet life at the family ranch at Largo, one of the areas last remaining cattle operations standing out in a sea of surrounding vineyards.
Granddaughter Cassandra said she could never list
all that I have learned from Granny Jane.
My grandmother was the perfect balance between grace and spunk, between tradition and pioneering. She was fiercely loyal and independent. And she was kind, loving and supportive beyond measure, Cassandra said.
Granny Jane has given me more strength than I ever thought I had and this is especially true as I was honored with the ability and courage to carry out her wishes for her last solo flight, Jessica said.
Jane Crofoot is survived by her son, James Henry Crofoot, his wife Cheryl Crofoot and Daniel Martyn Crofoot, his partner Chao Pullapat, grandchildren Jessica Crofoot, Cassandra Crofoot Mortier , Rick Rinaldo, Barry Rinaldo, Dennis Crofoot Prahm and Richard Crofoot Prahm Great grandchildren Ava Mortier, Ruby Mortier, Paul Morris, Maddy Rinaldo, Bella Rinaldo, Julia Rinaldo, Tyler Crofoot-Prahm, Lindsey Crofoot-Prahm, Evan Prahm, Marina Prahm.
Jane enjoyed flowers but if preferred memorial donations in Janes name may be made to Hospice of Ukiah or the Hopland Fire Dept.