Jane was born on February 4, 1935, and passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 24, 2022, at age 87.
She was predeceased by her parents, Hugh Bethel and Leona (Crumpler) Peeples. Jane is survived by her husband of 62 years, Thomas Zurflieh, her daughter Patricia Zurflieh, daughter-in-law Susan Glenn, daughter Sharon Zurflieh, son-in-law Jerry Holzer, and grandchildren, Karl, Elizabeth, Katharine and Alma Holzer.
Jane moved to St. Petersburg at an early age. She attended local schools and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1953. Many classmates there knew Jane because she won many essay contests. These were sponsored by civic groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions Club, and Elks. She later said that her prize money put her through college.
She matriculated at Florida State University and obtained BA and MA degrees. She taught English at St. Petersburg Junior College and at Auburn University. She later earned a master’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida. She was a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Florida for about 18 years.
Jane had a marvelous coloratura soprano voice, sang in college music productions, joined choirs and sang many solos at churches she attended. Her solos would bring goosebumps and tears to an audience. She sang opera and was Violetta in a St. Petersburg Junior College production of La Traviata. Her knowledge of classical music was almost encyclopedic. She could name almost any composition she listened to and could sing along with vocal parts. A few days before Jane died she was almost incoherent, but when a music therapist played “Amazing Grace,” Jane perked up and sang right along.
Jane was a superb writer. Among other things, she made up clever stories and wrote children’s stories for the Southern Baptist Convention. She was a tremendous editor for Tom’s publications. She tutored illiterate adults using the Laubach method. Jane loved writing emails and filled them with wit and cheer.
She went everywhere with Tom in his small, noisy, rough, too-fast sports cars. Every time they returned home, she would say “Whew, we survived again.”
She was a devoted mom, ferrying her two daughters to innumerable music lessons and band and orchestra practices. She instilled a sense of justice and equality in us. She promoted eclectic and esoteric interests, including our love of word puzzles, chief of which is the NYT crossword. She was also a devoted grandmother, and went with the Holzer family when they moved to Wisconsin. She spent months there on and off, for years helping to raise the four grandchildren.
And, oh, what a wonderful gourmet chef she was! “Cook” wouldn’t do her justice. Jane had a creative sense of how foods would blend. “Jane’s spaghetti,” as we called it, would put local Italian restaurants to shame. Later in life, Jane prepared food every Friday for the homeless at the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg. They called her “the dessert lady.”
Jane was always sensitive to others’ feelings, and never promoted herself. She wanted to outlive Tom so he would not have to deal with her death. She could be obstinate, but she had not a single mean bone in her body. We all miss her dearly.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg, 100 Mirror Lake Dr N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
There will be a private celebration of Jane’s life at a later date.