The Heroines

Jane Irby

is honored with a Brick from Curtis M. Irby.

 Jane  Irby Jane was born on August 27, 1918 in Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa at her Grandmother McCormick's home. She was the eldest daughter of Guy and Lisle Luella (McCormick) Melton. Jane had one sibling, a younger sister named Marjorie Irene.

Jane and her family moved to Wichita Kansas in 1924. She was an active member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church throughout her life. Jane attended Park Elementary School, Horace Mann Intermediate School and Wichita North High School, graduating in 1936. Jane attended the Business Preparatory School before being employed by the Massachusetts Protective Association.

At eight o'clock in the evening, on December 5, 1941, she married Otto Curtis Irby at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Two days later while on their honeymoon, they walked out of a theater and heard the news of Pearl Harbor. Despite that abrupt beginning of married life, Jane and Otto had a wonderful marriage that spanned 43 years. Otto sadly and unexpectedly died on May 10, 1984.

Jane and Otto had one son, Curtis Melton Irby. While he was growing up, Jane was an active volunteer in each school he attended. Her role as President of the PTA at OK Elementary, Hadley Junior High and North High School showed a commitment to her son and Wichita public education. She was always there to support him at all of his church, school and Boy Scout events, plus the countless baseball, football and basketball games. Her son's growth into a fine human being is in no small measure due to her love and commitment to him.

Jane had a way of turning tragedy and adversity into triumph. The best example of this is when she lost a breast to cancer in 1974. She gave strength to those around her, when it should have been the other way around. She got up and back into the swing of life as soon as she physically could, setting a high standard of courage and grace for those who would be like her. Then she spent the next 22 years giving counsel and support to women who found themselves facing the same battle.

Along with her family, the other great love of Jane's life were her friends. She was always a socially active person who enjoyed being with people. Besides the friends she made through her church and school groups, she was a member of the Zeta Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Psi Sorority, the Sunshine Home Extension Group, Wesley Medical Children's Board, and the Silver Melodears to name a few. She was willing and able to do whatever needed to get done. She also loved the Wichita State basketball teams and fans, having had season tickets since the 1950s, and never missed a game if it could be helped.

Jane passed away on February 8, 1996 at her home in her beloved Wichita. One friend wrote to her family, "I will always remember Jane as a beautiful, kind, ambitious, courageous and lovely lady and will miss her so very much." We, her family, think that says it all.

Submitted by Curtis and Sue Irby, son and daughter-in-law

September 14, 1998