Jane Colleen Colby was born July 22, 1928, in Smith Center, Kansas. Her parents were Velma (Helfinstine) and Noel Barclay Colby. After graduating from Smith Center High School in 1946, she went to Fort Hays State University for one summer to get an emergency teaching certificate and taught at Rising Sun rural school for one year. Jane enrolled at Kansas State University in Manhattan, receiving her bachelors degree in 1951. She also did graduate work at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.
Jane was married to William K. Clark in 1951 in Manhattan. During the next several years, due to his work in geology, they spent varying periods of time living in Eldorado, Kansas; Boulder, Colorado; Ft. Collins, Colorado, and Goose Egg, Wyoming. Manhattan, Kansas became their permanent home in 1956, and their daughters, Courtney and Hilary, were born in Manhattan. Bill and Jane were later divorced.
Jane taught second grade in the Manhattan elementary schools for three years. She later taught in the English Department at Kansas State University for twenty-five years until her retirement in 1993. Jane was a member of several professional and educational organizations and honoraries but felt her most worthwhile work was with the Riley County Humane Society. She was a long-time advocate of animal rights and environmental concerns and causes.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents and sister Judith Ann (Judy) Johnson. Surviving are her daughter and son-in-law Courtney and Kirby Wilkerson of Mannford, Oklahoma; her daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons Hilary, Eric, Sean, and Seth Gillock of Hays, Kansas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Humane Society of the High Plains, in care of Hays Memorial Chapel.