When you wish to know or understand someone, it is helpful to consider what they think is important. When my Aunt Jane passed to a better place on 5 February 2002, I was called upon to clean out her apartment. There were other things I did, but cleaning out the apartment was the most difficult. We had visited her there for nearly twelve years, holiday after holiday, so the place was familiar. I had also stayed in the apartment for a couple of nights when Aunt Jane was in the nursing portion of the facility.
Margaret Jane Yearnd was born on 29 January 1910 in Cadillac, Michigan. Her parents were William H. Yearnd, Sr., and Winnie Alice Kaiser. Aunt Jane graduated from Cadillac High School, and received a AB degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 1931. She married Leo Edward Joseph Devereaux on 25 December 1931. Concern for others was the hallmark of Aunt Jane’s life.
When Jane was eventually forced to relocate to a small retirement apartment, she did not save too much. What I did find tells a lot about the who Jane was.
Hidden away in the place I keep all my most important things, a top bureau drawer was Jane’s master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She earned the degree in 1943, I can only imagine the difficulty of study and full time work, while worrying about her soldier husband.
Next, I found some remnants of Aunt Jane’s volunteer efforts at a sheltered workshop in Paris, Michigan. I know she drove there from her Evart, Michigan retirement home each week, but had not been aware how important that activity was to her. As soon as I saw it, it remembered; one of Aunt Jane’s jobs was slaving over a hot grill on cook-out days. She had saved a remodeled fast food crown to remember her time there.
Old habits live on, and Aunt Jane was a person who lived a life of service to others. Even with her sight problems, she found ways to help during her time at the retirement home. We usually visited Jane on Sunday, but if we made a Saturday trip, we were cautioned to arrive after 11:30. During the morning, Aunt Jane was busy helping with bingo and other games in the facilities health center.
Friendship Village Heath Center