Jane Widman Leader Cooper, 77, died on February 14th, 2022 in Lake Forest, Illinois after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Janie and her husband, Tom, were married for 51 years. They always celebrated the anniversary of their first date, which occurred during their high school years at the Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where Janie was an All-Detroit field hockey player.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1966, where she was a Kappa Alpha Theta and a participant in the Experiment in International Living program, Janie worked in Washington DC. She and Tom married in 1970 and lived in Maine while Tom served his final tour as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. Soon, they moved to Chicago and later to Lake Forest, where they raised their four children.
Janie had an indefatigable spirit! She traveled the world throughout her life and encouraged her children to do so as well. She was an accomplished skier and loved to walk, usually with the family dogs, in Open Lands and on the beaches of Bayfield, Ontario and Ocean Ridge, Florida. She loved a full house and enjoyed being a mother to not only her own children, but to all of their friends as well. Janie never said no to an invitation and never limited the amount of kids/young adults in her home or the hours they kept.
Always passionate about helping others, Janie served as president of the Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago and she was also a board member of Lake Forest Hospital and various other local organizations. She participated in numerous breast cancer awareness walks and Habitat for Humanity home builds-the latter of which included rehabbing homes in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina.
Janie put all her love and time into raising her children and remained actively involved in their lives for years and years.
In addition to her husband, Tom, Janie is survived by son Charles (Nicole), triplet daughters-Victoria, Katherine Van Ness (Chapin), and Gretchen Athas (James)-and grandchildren Lucy (11), Talbot (11), Elizabeth (9), Thomas (9), Lauren (8), Michael (6) and Ted (5).
Preceding her in death were her parents, Dr. Luther and Marian Leader of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, her sister Susan Wilson and her brother A. C. (Gus) Leader.
A service will be held at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest (400 E Westminster) on Thursday, February 24th at 3pm, with a reception immediately following. The service will be livestreamed with details soon appearing on the Church of the Holy Spirit website.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.