Jane Mather's obituary

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Jane's obituary

Jane M. Mather died peacefully at home in Hyde Park, Chicago, on Thursday August 15, with her three children in attendance. She was 85 years old.

A key staff person in the early years of the Chicago Children’s Choir, to 15 years of choiristers, Mrs Mather was a familiar figure dressed in red, as she shepherded them to performances.  She  organized a fundraising campaign through the Chicago Tribune that raised enough money to finance the CCC’s first international tour,  in 1970. 

Mrs Mather learned to use computers in her next job, in the 1980s,  as an editor with the American Journal of Sociology. As a result, she joined Facebook early, at the behest of former choir members.

Mrs Mather arrived in Chicago from Pennsylvania after World War II, as Jane McCahan, with a scholarship to attend the University of Chicago.  There, she met and married Hal Kome, who later achieved some fame in advertising. They had two children, Penney and Dylan, before their divorce in 1955.  In 1961, she married George Victor Mather, a direct descendant of the Salem (Massachusetts) Mathers, and they had a daughter, Christine.   

Before and during her years as a single parent, Jane Kome’s social circle included members of Compass Theatre, such as David Shepherd, David Sills, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, who went on to form Second City. Compass Theatre produced a short play she co-authored, called Under Deadwood. Author Janet Coleman acknowledged Mrs Mather’s assistance in her book, The Compass.

Mrs Mather also socialized with some famous authors, such as Shel Silverstein, and was recently interviewed by Phillip Roth’s official biographer.  Another circle of friends included the early atomic scientists and their families, such as Enrico and Laura Fermi, Donald and Sarah Flanders, and Murph Goldberger and his wife Mildred. 

Mrs Mather made many friends during her long walks around Hyde Park or the family cottage in Pentwater, MI. She contributed generously to charities and social justice causes, championed the civil rights movement, and was an early supporter of Barack Obama, whom she met through her friend Elizabeth Hollander, then City Planning Commissioner under Mayor Harold Washington. 

Predeceased by her husband George Mather in 2006, Mrs Mather leaves her children, Penney Kome, Dylan Kome, and Christine Mather.  A memorial service took place on September 7, 2013, at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.

Jane's second birthday made news and so did her death, in both the Sun-Times and the Tribune.