Jane Weitkemper helped expand outreach of library
COLUMBIA — A Missouri resident her whole life, Jane Ann Schindler Weitkemper was known for her generosity, kindness and ability to make anyone feel welcome. She was also known as a wonderful cook of baked beans and peach cobbler, and a collector of cut crystal, paperweights and frogs.
Jane Ann Schindler Weitkemper of Columbia died Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. She was 84.
She was born May 17, 1927, in Sturgeon to Albert and Manerva Schindler. She married Harry Weitkemper on May 25, 1947.
Her family later moved to a farm north of Centralia. She was an only child who was considered the apple of her father's eye and something of a daredevil. As a child, her father paid an older boy to help her mount and dismount her horse, Ribbon, when she rode to and from school.
Mrs. Weitkemper graduated from Centralia High School before attending Central Methodist College in Fayette and MU as a music major. After college, she was a teacher at Grasslands School, a one-room country school south of Centralia.
While living in Centralia, Mrs. Weitkemper played the pipe organ for Sunday morning church services at the Allen Street Methodist Church. One morning, a handsome young Navy Seabee, a member of the Navy's construction battalions, walked through the door and swept her off her feet.
Her daughter-in-law, Judy Weitkemper, said Mrs. Weitkemper often talked about this moment.
Mrs. Weitkemper and her husband were married at the same church 15 months later on May 25, 1947.
"She was supportive of everything I did," Harry Weitkemper said. "She kept me out of trouble all the time."
Mrs. Weitkemper and her husband lived in Centralia until 1965 when they moved to Columbia so their four sons could attend MU.
Harry Weitkemper described having and raising their boys as their "happiest moments together."
While in Columbia, Mrs. Weitkemper worked at the Columbia Public Library and helped develop the Outreach Department to take library books and materials to residents of nursing homes and those who were unable to leave their homes. She retired in 1982 when her husband, who was employed at MU, also retired.
She and her husband were both active in donating to charities and to those less fortunate.
"We went to auctions together twice a week to buy items and then give to charities," Harry Weitkemper said. "People would call us and tell us what they needed. We never sold anything; we donated all items."
"She was the greatest grandmother ever," Judy Weitkemper said.
Mrs. Weitkemper is survived by her husband, Harry, of Columbia; four sons, William Weitkemper and his wife, Judy, and Michael Weitkemper and his wife, Lily Ann, all of Columbia, and twins Harry Weitkemper and his partner, Scott Cooper, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Larry Weitkemper and his spouse, Bruce Schrier, of St. Louis; 14 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.
Her son, Richard Weitkemper; and aunt, Clele Schindler, died earlier.
The family has requested no visitation or services. A private interment will be later in Hufft Cemetery in Eldridge.
Tributes can be posted at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.