A Baptist-saint-if-ever-there-was-one leaped from earth to heaven when Jeane Law passed away April 3.
Most Texas Baptists knew Jeane as a former president of Texas Woman’s Missionary Union. Others of us also revered her as a member of the Baptist Standard Publishing board of directors until late January, when she resigned due to declining health.
Sensitivity, grace, compassion
Practically everyone who met her knew Jeane as a faithful Christian woman who loved Jesus and wanted everyone to experience his love. So, she loved them as Jesus does—with sensitivity, grace and compassion.
And anyone who ever heard Jeane say a single word immediately recognized her as a daughter of the South. Born and bred in Alabama, Jeane graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Auburn University. She and the love of her life, Dan, moved to Lubbock in 1955 so he could play football and complete his education at Texas Tech. They raised a family, built a business and stood as pillars of First Baptist Church of Lubbock. They owned a lake house in Alabama, but they made their permanent home in West Texas, which embraced them as their own.
Her pastor, Bobby Dagnel, noted Jeane’s homegoing marked another milestone in the passage of Texas Baptists’ “greatest generation.” He recalled how Jeane taught her Sunday school class right up to the end. “One of her goals was to finish teaching through the Gospel of John, which she did a couple of Sundays ago,” he told me the morning after she died. We rejoiced in how much joy she brought to our lives and how she encouraged us and strengthened our faith by her example.
Without question, Jeane reigned as the most beloved member of the Baptist Standard/FaithVillage/CommonCall community. When fellow board members and staff learned of Jeane’s death, many responded immediately. Here are some of their reflections:
• ‘There’s bound to be more laughter in heaven today. Jeane was a sweet lady.”
• “Jeane brought a genteel spirit and vivacious energy to obviously everything she did. She lived as an example to others, and I am grateful to have had the privilege to have known and worked with her. It’s hard to be sad, knowing she is pain-free and experiencing God, but she will be missed.”
• “The world has lost a unique source of laughter and joy. … No doubt, she is now enjoying the full, uninterrupted presence of the Lord.”
• “Jeane exhibited that unique ability to uplift. Her winsome way made all of us feel at ease. I will miss her terribly.”
• “I am so grateful to have known her. She was the whole package and then some.”
• “Heaven is richer for her presence, and we are poorer.”
• “I am incredibly blessed I had the chance to know Jeane. Her love, encouragement and faith are an inspiration.”
Jeane and I traded emails exactly two weeks before her death. True to form, I couldn’t gauge how ill she was, because her spirit and optimism prevailed. And, of course, her faith did too. She told me: “We are all trusting God to give all of us peace, and really, our lives are very pleasant these days.” She bragged on Dan and commented on how much she enjoyed their precious time together.
As often as I remember Jeane, I will think about laughter and faith, qualities that blended beautifully in that sweet, strong Christian woman.
Meeting challenges with a ‘leap of faith’
A few years ago, Jeane presented the opening devotional at one of our Baptist Standard Publishing board meetings. We faced significant challenges, which demanded both faith and courage.
Jeane told us about a flying squirrel she observed one day. No doubt it lived in her beloved Alabama. She described how it scampered high, high up in the trees. She made us laugh as she described its antics. And she talked about how it traveled from tree to tree—leaping far, grasping desperately and firmly onto another branch and arriving safely, if frantically, at the new destination.
Then, of course, she told us life requires all of us to make leaps of faith. It’s full of challenges, such as branches that seem impossibly far away. But to go where God leads us, we must run, leap, soar and grasp. Living the Christian life requires faith and courage.
Jeane possessed both abundantly, and she shared them generously. Thank God for her life and memory.