Jane Zajaczkowski

Obituary of Jane Ellen Zajaczkowski

Jane Ellen Zajaczkowski, 66, of Benner Township, PA, left this world on Sunday, February 18, 2024, after a several months-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer. She departed with grace, surrounded by her husband and life partner of more than 32 years, Mike, and twin daughters, Amanda and Amelia.

Jane had a peaceful and empathetic heart. Her concern for the most vulnerable in our world overflowed, spilling into each of her relationships, as mother, spouse, aunt, grandmother, friend, and colleague. Compassion was her superpower and it fueled her curiosity to understand and explained her fondness for and connection to all of God's creations. Her soft-spoken and calm demeanor conveyed an easiness and signaled comfort. When you were with Jane, you knew that that you were enough.

If Jane were to have a second superpower, it would be her ability to repurpose every-day items to fix, mend, or otherwise improve just about anything. For Jane, few things were ever broken, useless, or impossible; they were simply problems waiting for their solutions to be revealed. Her blend of creativity, analytical thinking, and pragmatism was a novelty among friends and family – she was a real-life MacGyver! Whether reconstituting discontinued soft drinks using only items from her pantry or fashioning a tool out of rubber bands, coffee stirrers, and a clothespin spring to retrieve jewelry from a car dashboard, Jane was fun to watch when she homed in on a solution. She was a cool nana and a helpful lifeline when textbook solutions just wouldn't do. Above all, it was part of the magic of Jane.

Jane was born on August 20, 1957, in York, PA, the only child of Nelson "Jake" and Romaine Ellis Gibbs. She was academically and creatively gifted, excelling equally in the bench sciences and the arts. Jane was a beautiful vocalist with a passion for music that she passed on to her daughters. She attended York County Area Vocational Technical School, where she cultivated a talent in portraiture and the graphic arts, across several mediums. Jane graduated at the top of her class in 1975 and was awarded a full scholarship to attend York College, where she earned a degree in science with an emphasis in biology. After graduation, Jane took on what she would consider her most important role – mother to her twin girls. She often remarked about the joy she felt as a new mother, and how strong a bond she formed with her daughters during those early years.

In 1985 Jane entered the workforce as an analytical scientist at Adhesives Research in Glen Rock, PA. She rose quickly through the ranks to manage the quality control and research and development laboratory teams. It was at Adhesive Research where Jane and Mike first met, starting a lifelong celebration of their passions for science, music, and Schipperkes – a compact and cobby breed of Belgian dog. When Jane retired in 2006, she and Mike relocated to Centre County, PA, where she focused on training her dogs for competition and took on a new role as a grandmother. Dog training and grandmothering suited her quite well.

Soon after relocating, Jane found a home among kindred spirits at the Nita-Nee Kennel Club. She and Mike trained six of their Schipperkes in agility and scent work, competing in trials throughout Pennsylvania. Jane was very proud of her work with Jera, who earned certification as a therapy dog. In recent years Jane and Jerra participated regularly in Tail Waggin' Tutors, a reading program for struggling and reluctant readers offered by Centre County Libraries and the Bellefonte Area School District. Witnessing the positive impact Jerra had on youth brought Jane much joy.

Jane is survived by her husband Michael Zajaczkowski, children Amanda Jane Clements (Edward) of Alexandria, VA, Amelia Jane McGinnis (Eric) of Lemont, PA, grandchildren Henry and Cora Clements and Connor and Declan McGinnis, brother-in-law Frank Zajaczkowski (Jennifer), and niece and nephew, Abby and Brandon Zajaczkowski of Centre Hall, PA. She is also survived by her dogs Jerra, Loki, and Torbin. In addition to her parents, Jane was preceded in death by her mother-in-law Josephine Zajaczkowski and dogs Rennsen, Kali, Colby, Liam, and Scooter.

Family and friends will be received from 6 until 8 p.m., Thursday, February 22, 2024 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton St., State College, PA.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 23, 2024, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 867 Grays Woods Blvd, Port Matilda, with Father Jozef Kovacik officiating. A private burial will take place in Graysville Cemetery following the funeral service.

It was Jane's wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to Centre County PAWS (https://www.centrecountypaws.org/donate) or to the American Cancer Society (https://donate.cancer.org).

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com or visit us on Facebook.

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Visitation at Funeral Home

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Koch Funeral Home
2401 S. Atherton St.
State College, Pennsylvania, United States

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 am
Friday, February 23, 2024
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
867 Grays Woods Blvd,
State College, Pennsylvania, United States
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