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Jane A. Piehl

1932 ~ 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Jane Piehl Obituary

Jane Allen was born 1932, and spent her childhood in Swarthmore, PA. She died peacefully in Seattle, WA in August 2023, a resident of Horizon House for her final 15 years.

She had an active childhood, lettering in three high school sports while editing the school newspaper. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1954 with a chemistry degree, and started her career working for IBM in Cambridge, MA. She married DeWayne Piehl in 1957 and they moved to Cleveland, OH, where they developed their careers and started their family. After time there and in Ann Arbor, MI, they set off for Seattle in 1969, which they wholeheartedly adopted as home.

The environmental activism slogan “Think Globally, Act Locally” could have been written to describe Jane’s ethos over her 91 years. Wherever she found herself, she dove right in. In the 1970s, this meant school levy campaigns, leadership in the Seattle League of Women Voters, support for multicultural programing and desegregation efforts in the Seattle Public Schools and, either as a volunteer or for minimal wages, helping a wide range of fledgling nonprofits – including Citizens for Fair School Funding and co-founding its successor organization Citizen’s Education Center Northwest; the Refugee Resettlement and Job Program of the Washington Association of Churches; the Seattle branch of the Federal Feminist Credit Union the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students at the University of Washington; Waterfront Awareness; and a group home for girls in trouble. She also worked closely with campaigns for several female candidates for city, regional and state offices, and participated in conventional volunteer activities supporting the PTA, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, recreational sports, etc.

Jane broke barriers and solved bureaucratic hurdles with preparation, persistence and what one collaborator called, “informed compassion.” For many of these organizations, she developed budgetary strategies and systems that lasted beyond her tenure. Throughout this period, she raised four children while caring for her husband, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis early in the 1970s and whose health rapidly declined to quadriplegia. She capably and uncomplainingly acted as his primary (and frequently, sole) caregiver for over 25 years.

In the 1980’s, Jane volunteered for important environmental committees supporting local government, including the Seattle Water Department, and was appointed by the mayor to chair the Citizens Solid Waste Advisory Committee, which she did for several years as recycling and garbage fees were developed and implemented. Throughout these years she worked filing tax returns for individuals, mostly women, and as controller for Triangle Associates. She managed this series of part-time gigs to supplement family income without infringing too much on her caregiving.

The 1990s, soon after Jane’s children launched, brought declining health for her husband, and his increasing dependence put much pressure on Jane. After he died, she traveled and explored various regions of the U.S., adventures that had been shelved for many years.

When she retired to Horizon House in 2008, Jane quickly got involved, serving as auditor, treasurer and president of the Residents’ Council and member of the Horizon House Board of Trustees. In these roles, she modernized financial systems and built support for more exacting fiduciary expectations. She was also active in the sewing room and co-founded the now popular Low Vision group.

Jane spent several decades as a member of the No Guilt Book Club, the Sew What’s New quilters group, and the Western Washington Wellesley Club, until blindness from age-related macular degeneration made participation difficult. Throughout her life, Jane was a lover and supporter of theater, museums, symphonies, and the opera. She sewed and knit most of her children’s clothes, made sleeping bags and rain gear from kits (!), baked and cooked every meal. She hosted family and neighborhood gatherings and delivered homemade coffee cakes Christmas morning to nearby friends who came to rely on them.  A rich, full life, lived in three dimensions.

Jane leaves four grateful children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren, a younger brother, many nieces and nephews, and countless friends and admirers.


The family requests that any donations go to Partners in Caring at Horizon House (, the League of Women Voters of Washington (, or another “good government” group of your choice.


Share your condolences and memories on her Tribute Wall, located above. 


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