Obituary: Jane Thomson MacColl, 87

The Rev. Jane Thomson MacColl died July 1, 2016, after a brief illness and a life of championing family, communities and those in need.

Born in New York, N.Y., on Oct. 10, 1928, to Dorothy and Joe Thomson, Jane graduated from Hunter College High School (1946) and Smith College (1950). Shortly after, she met a seminary student, W. Stewart MacColl. In 1952 they were married and lived at Union Seminary while he completed his education. She was always an essential partner in the mission and faith of the Presbyterian congregations she and Stewart served in Highland, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Wilton, Conn.; and Spring, Texas.

While in Connecticut, Jane earned her Master of Arts degree at Fairfield University in clinical social work. She then worked for Family and Children’s Aid in Norwalk as a trusted and insightful counselor to families and individuals. When the family moved to Spring, Texas, Jane continued her counseling at a family service agency. Later she accepted a staff position at Northwoods Presbyterian Church as the director of membership care. While working full time she earned a Master of Divinity and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1988. She served as Associate Pastor until she and her husband retired in 1993.

While in retirement, she was selected as the interim pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tomball. She served that congregation with joy and effectiveness until it called a permanent pastor.

Jane was an insightful, curious, thoughtful and singularly caring person, deeply dedicated to causes she held dear, including peace, civil rights and women’s rights. She attended protests and rallies, including the 1963 March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream. But she was no mere witness. In the 1950s Jane was a strong and effective advocate for the rights and needs of migrant workers in New York State and in the 1960s, she helped to found a multi-racial day camp in Wilton, Conn., sharing that town’s beauty and resources with children from less affluent communities. As chair of Wilton’s Democratic Town Committee, she attended the 1966 state convention, where she was the only delegate to voice concern about the Vietnam War. As an insatiably curious student of life, Jane read widely on topics from theology to the natural sciences, psychology and the human condition, and always delighted in striking up a conversation that might lead to new learning or deeper understanding.

In addition to good works and noble causes, Jane enjoyed gardening, backyard bird watching, hiking, time with friends, and most of all, her family. She was an exceptional and loving wife, mother, grandmother and aunt.

Jane was predeceased by her parents and her sister Joan Balkenburg of Katy, Texas. She is survived by her husband Stewart, her children Barbara (and husband Paul) Eymard of Katy, Texas; Ed MacColl of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Janet (and husband Jim) MacColl Nicholson of Hershey, Pa., Macdara MacColl (and husband Mike Maloney) of Madison, Conn., her brother Ed Thomson of New York, N.Y., and 10 grandchildren. Jane loved all of her wonderful nieces and nephews, but was especially close to Dr. Patricia Lyn Richards of Kenyon College.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, July 9, at 10:30 a.m. at Northwoods Presbyterian Church, 3320 Cypress Creek Parkway, Houston, Texas. Another will be held at the Wilton Presbyterian Church in Connecticut on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Northwoods Presbyterian Church, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Wilton Presbyterian Church, National Wildlife Federation, The Union of Concerned Scientists, or the charity of your choice.