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Jane D. Schaeffer (1922 - 2015), R.I.P.

Posted: January 27, 2015

After a long illness, Jane Dempsey Schaeffer died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Santa Paula, California, on Sunday, January 25, 2015. Jane and her husband, John, were among the College's earliest benefactors, and their five daughters are all graduates of the College: Martha Long (’76), Anne Forsyth (’81), Mary Richard (’82), Joan Waxtein (’85), and Laura Langley (’89). In addition, seven of their grandchildren are either alumni or current students: Jane (’11) and Michael (’13) Forsyth; John (’12), Carmel (’15), and Jeannette (’17) Richard; and David (’15) and Aaron (’16) Langley.

“I have fond memories of time spent with the College’s founding president, Dr. Ron McArthur, at John and Jane's lovely home in San Francisco,” says President Michael F. McLean. “We will be honored to have the Rosary and Funeral Mass for Jane on campus.”

Funeral Information

A Rosary will be said in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College at 7:00 pm on Friday, January 30. A Requiem Mass will be offered at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 31, also at the College. Interment will follow at Pierce Brothers Santa Paula Cemetery in Santa Paula.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Reardon Funeral Home in Oxnard, California. Masses for the repose of Mrs. Schaeffer’s soul are preferred. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John and Jane Schaeffer Scholarship Fund at Thomas Aquinas College, 10,000 Ojai Road, Santa Paula, CA 93060.

In Memoriam

Born to Martha McAuliffe and Denis J. Dempsey on June 9, 1922, Jane grew up as a fourth generation San Franciscan. After completing eighth grade at Star of the Sea parish school, she went on to graduate from St. Rose Academy. She received her BA from Dominican College of San Rafael in 1943. Jane taught English at the Katherine Delmar Burke School (Miss Burke’s) in San Francisco and later worked for Time magazine in the City.

On December 27, 1952, she married the late John Edward Schaeffer, moved to Westlake, and began raising their family of five daughters. Jane and John were among the founding members of Our Lady of Mercy Parish. After returning to the City, they were daily communicants and active members of St. Cecilia Parish for over 40 years. Jane worked for many years with various charitable groups in San Francisco — the Little Children’s Aid Society, St. Elizabeth’s Home, and the Little Sisters of the Poor. She was also an active member of the Women’s Auxiliary for the Society of California Pioneers.

Together Jane and John were instrumental in the beginnings of Thomas Aquinas College, where John became a founding member of the Board of Governors. They wholeheartedly supported the College and were proud that all five of their daughters and three of their grandchildren (with two more this May) graduated from the school. “John and Jane Schaeffer were among those very few who first helped us,” Dr. McArthur once remarked. “They were, for months, the main financial support of our earliest efforts: were it not for them, the College would never have come to be. And it was all done with lively affection and touching charity.”

Adds Vice President for Finance and Administration Peter L. DeLuca, “The Schaeffers’ home and John’s office became a kind of base for the College in Northern California after we had opened our doors in the southern part of the state. Jane and John welcomed us when we were weary travelers, they hosted events on behalf of the College, and they gave us encouragement in our efforts. They believed strongly in the mission of the College and supported it vigorously.”

In 2004 the Schaeffers left their beloved San Francisco and relocated to Ojai, where John died in 2005. Jane then moved to Santa Paula. She is survived by her devoted daughters and sons-in-law, Martha Long, Anne Forsyth, Mary and Fred Richard, Joan Waxtein, and Laura and Michael Langley. Jane’s legacy also includes her 22 loving grandchildren, Jane and Michael Forsyth; John (Hannah), Carmel, Jeannette, Robert, Thomas, Dominic, and Paul Richard; Bernardo, Gabrielle, and Joseph Waxtein; and David, Aaron, Clare, Margaret, Kathleen, Gianna, Emma, Laura, Marie and Celine Langley.

Jane was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John, her parents, Denis Dempsey and Martha McAuliffe Dempsey, her brother, John P. Dempsey, her sons-in-law, George Forsyth and Kevin Long, as well as many aunts, uncles, and cousins.