Died January 29, 2023
Jane T. Lord, 80, of Mio, MI, passed away peacefully on January 29, 2023, at The Brook of Grayling.
Jane Totman was born in Sheridan, Wyoming to Robert E. Lee Totman and Donna Irene Tabor. Her father owned Sheridan’s iconic Totman’s Frontier Shop, remarkable for its array of western and Native American goods and for the larger-than-life personality of its owner.
After high school, Jane attended Michigan State University, later transferring to the University of Montana in Missoula, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. A summer internship led to a job at The Missoulian, where she reported on weddings and social events. Her sense of adventure led her to a solo trip around Mexico, sparking a lifelong enthusiasm for travel.
Jane met Richard “Dick” Lord on New Year’s Eve 1965, on a blind date arranged by friends. Though they had planned to attend a dance, much to her dismay, Dick arrived with an injured leg from a skiing accident. They talked more than danced, and the rest was history. Dick and Jane married on May 1, 1967. As a wedding gift, they were given a dog named “Spot.”
Dick’s work for the US Forest Service moved Jane from Missoula to the Big Hole and Bitterroot Valleys in southern Montana, and Jane excelled at making a home in new places. She had a talent for building connections, maintaining friendships, and helping people feel at home in new communities. She was often the first to welcome Forest Service newcomers and enjoyed hosting holiday parties and other gatherings for Dick’s colleagues and their families. Jane took a job teaching elementary school at a small-town schoolhouse and discovered a talent for teaching, sparking a lifelong interest in early childhood education. After adding Audra and Erica to the family, Dick and Jane moved to Michigan in 1977, ultimately settling in the town of Mio in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
Jane was an active and well-known member of the community, especially the Mio United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School for many years. She was an enthusiastic member of Study Club, a local women’s social and educational group, and she enjoyed building connections with friends and families in the community. She volunteered at the school, library, and church, led girl scout troops for many years, and enjoyed baking, reading, sewing and gardening in her spare time.
Before life could become routine, Dick and Jane had a surprise set of twins in their forties, a challenge Jane met with excitement and resourcefulness. While juggling twins in elementary school and two teenagers, Jane accepted a teaching position with the Mio Co-op Nursery School. Jane’s creativity, imagination, and interest in child development made her an instinctive and popular teacher. Her career spanned 20 years and touched the lives of many throughout the community.
Jane always enjoyed meeting new people and exploring the world through travel. She took pleasure in planning family vacations across the country, always incorporating learning, history and culture. After retirement, she and Dick traveled overseas, visiting France, Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and the Netherlands.
She also loved planning birthday parties, holidays, game nights, Halloween parties, and church events – always with imagination, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail, and always pairing classic traditions with new and fun ideas. A costume enthusiast, Jane loved Halloween and took great delight in plotting costumes for the annual Grand Hotel Murder Mystery Weekend on Mackinac Island, which she and Dick attended for almost 20 years.
Jane is survived by her husband Richard “Dick” Lord, brother Robert “Bobby” Totman, step-sister Barbara Baxter, children Audra Lord (Kirsten Thompson), Erica Lord (Andrew Deines), Elizabeth (Kevin) Garry, and Stephen (Katie) Lord, and grandchildren Nolan, Lauren, Makenna, Kate, Brooke, Breslin and Sophie.
Visitation to honor Jane took place at Lashley Funeral Home on Thursday, February 2 from 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. The funeral was held at the Mio United Methodist Church on Friday, February 3, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Paula Timm-Potrykus officiating, followed by interment at Kittle Cemetery and a luncheon at the Methodist Church.
Donations in Jane’s memory may be made to the Iveline E. Richardson Scholarship Fund c/o Mio AuSable Schools, the Oscoda County Library (430 8th Street, Mio, MI), and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Arrangements by Lashley Funeral Home, Mio