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Jane's Story

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Jane Armour Foster, who died in Minneapolis on February 14 at the age of 102, was born March 27, 1914, in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb. She was the eldest daughter of George Lester Armour and Grace Loring Woodcock, and had two younger siblings. Jane graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1936. After graduation she made trips to Japan and China and to Europe.
Jane earned a master's degree in Japanese history from the University of Chicago and in 1938-39 returned to Japan on a Kobe College fellowship. She met her husband, John Burt Foster, at a Harvard summer institute on East Asia. They expected to marry in December 1941 but had to wait until 1945. Meanwhile Jane worked for Intelligence in the War Department.
The couple had four children, beginning with John, Jr. in 1945. By then John Sr. had returned to China, and for nine months Jane and their son joined him in Beijing, until civil war sent them home. Three more children arrived with David in 1948 and Mary and Leighton in 1951.
The family moved to Mankato in 1952, where Jane made her home until 2007. She was a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and worked as a claims representative for the Social Security Administration. From 1980-1986, she and her husband taught English in Shanghai as volunteers.
In retirement, Jane renewed her travel adventures of the 1930s. She also sponsored family reunions every summer in northern Minnesota. In 1997 she and her husband received the Adult Mental Health Advocates of the Year Award from the Minnesota Dept. of Human Services. Along with her children, Jane is survived by David's spouse Sarah Stoesz, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Minnesota.
Published on February 16, 2017
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