22 June 2022

Jane Ann Simmons Edginton (1936–2022)

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

We were saddened to hear of the passing, on 1 May 2022, of long-time BAHA board member and past president Jane Edginton.

Jane spent almost her entire life in Berkeley. Both her parents were born in Fresno and studied at U.C. Berkeley. Jane, however, was born in Bishop, Inyo County, where her father, Albert Edward Simmons, a civil engineer working for the California Division of Highways, was stationed at the time. The young family soon returned to the East Bay, residing first in Albany and then on Berkeley’s Northside, where Jane grew up.

Jane’s mother, Dorothy Delaware Peters, was a librarian, and Jane developed literary habits from a young age. At Berkeley High School, she contributed articles to the Daily Jacket. Beginning with her freshman year at U.C., she served on the editorial staff of the Blue and Gold and joined the Pelly Girls, a squad of coeds who sold the fabled college humor magazine California Pelican on campus. She also joined the Mu chapter of Chi Omega and was a member of the U.C. Rally Committee.

After graduating in June 1958 with a Bachelor’s degree in History, Jane found work in the medical division of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games Committee. In June 1960, she married John Arthur Edginton (1935–2008), a U.C. graduate who had just completed three years of service in the U.S. Navy and was about to enter Boalt Hall School of Law.

Both John and Jane Edginton developed a deep interest in architecture, and especially in the buildings of Bernard Maybeck. In 1975, they fulfilled their dream of owning a Maybeck-designed residence when they acquired the J.B. Tufts House (1931) in La Loma Park, at the heart of Maybeck Country. In 2002, the house was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on their initiative.

Jane joined the BAHA board of directors in 1986 and served as BAHA’s president in 1992–1994. For many years, she chaired the Events Committee and the Preservation Awards Committee. She was the go-to person when out-of-town groups approached BAHA with requests for guided tours of Maybeck Country.

An enthusiastic outdoorswoman, Jane was an excellent skier, hiker, and mountain climber. In 1992, the Sierra Club awarded her a Senior Emblem for having climbed 106 peaks on the club’s Peaks List. She and John led many Sierra Club excursions, both here and abroad.

Intrepid in every other way, Jane never took to computers and the Internet. To the last, she typed her Preservation Awards lists and House Tour guidebook articles the old-fashioned way, just as she had done at Berkeley High, and so we shall fondly remember her.

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