Jane Baird Weeden, 96, of Topeka, died Tuesday, August 27, 2013.
Mrs. Weeden was born on August 20, 1917, in Newton, Kansas, the daughter of Wm. Walter and Ruth (Gilmore) Baird. She graduated from Washburn University with honors with a Bachelor of Music and obtained a Master’s degree in Piano Performance and Applied Music from the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City, MO, now part of UMKC, and a Master’s in Music Education from Washburn. She trained under concert artist and director of the Conservatory, Dr. Wictor Labunski.
Apart from music, Mrs. Weeden researched and developed civil service exams for the State of Kansas. During and after WWII, she worked for the American Red Cross. After therapy training at American University, she was in charge of recreational and music therapy for injured soldiers and prisoners of war at McClosky General Hospital with over 5700 beds, 2000 military personnel, and almost 2000 POWs in Temple, TX. She went on to direct the position classification and salary program for the regional Red Cross office in St. Louis before promotion to the national Red Cross headquarters staff in Washington, DC.
After marriage in Washington, Mrs. Weeden lived in Miami Beach, Florida, and Providence, Rhode Island prior to moving to Kansas City to raise a family. While in Fairway and then Mission Hills, she was a member of the first debutante Jewel Ball committee to benefit the then KC Philharmonic Symphony orchestra, the initial planning committee to form the Lyric Opera, the board of the Chamber Music Society, the Kansas City Art Institute Sketchbox Committee and Fireside Group, the Friends of Art, and the Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) alumnae. She once chaired the Northeast Johnson County Cancer Society drive.
After a tragic family loss, Mrs. Weeden moved back to Topeka. She was on the board and a team leader of the Community Concert Assn. for over 25 years; on the board of the Topeka Symphony League; a member for over 50 years of the National, State, Northeast Kansas and Topeka Music Teachers Associations, and past president of the latter two; a past president and member of Music Study Club of Topeka since 1939; a long-time past member of SAI; an Alpha Phi Alumnae member, and a past member of the National Classification and Compensation Society.
In Topeka, Mrs. Weeden developed position classification and salary plans for city and county governments as a consultant for Campbell-Bossler Personnel. She then completed her graduate study and began a long career in which she rose to prominence as a well-respected teacher of piano and theory to students at all levels and ages. After many years, she temporarily reduced her student numbers to be the Director of Public Information for what is now the Kansas Lung Assn. The “Kick the Habit” campaign she developed won the award as best in the nation.
She returned to work for the State of Kansas where she was promoted to Director of Classification and Pay, which then structured all classified positions throughout the state and reported to the office of the Governor. She was among the highest ranking female administrators in the state civil service system. After her retirement in 1982, she taught piano full time for more than 25 consecutive years.
Mrs. Weeden’s greatest achievements exist not in these facts but in the hearts and minds of those she touched throughout her life. Her remarkable intelligence, discipline, natural leadership, and standards of excellence are only surpassed by her courage in the face of adversity, loyalty to friends, compassion and respect for colleagues and students, and her selfless dedication to her family. Her wit and wisdom, generosity of spirit, infectious love of music and life, and her boundless capacity to love will be missed by those privileged to know her.
Mrs. Weeden was preceded in death by her parents, younger daughter, Jane Mason Weeden, and her former husband, C. Mason Weeden. She is survived by daughter Nancy Weeden McKimmy of Grand Blanc, Michigan; grandson Jason Christopher-Mason McClasky and great-granddaughter, Charlotte Jane McClasky, both of Prairie Village, Kansas.
A funeral ceremony/celebration of life will be at noon on Saturday, September 7, 2012, at the Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka. Interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Mrs. Weeden will lie in state at the funeral home, and the family will receive friends from 11:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday, September 7.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Topeka Music Teachers Association College Scholarship Fund.
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