Obituary — Jane Gillies Wilson Coon

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Jane Gillies Wilson Coon, assistant professor emerita of nursing, died Aug. 25 at her home in Ann Arbor surrounded by members of her family.

Jane was born in Portland, Oregon, on June 1, 1942, the daughter of James E. Wilson Jr. and Helen Gillies Wilson. She was preceded in death by her parents and first husband, William W. Coon.

She is survived by her husband, A. Rees Midgley; her brothers James M. Wilson (Janet) and John S. Wilson Sr. (Karol); stepchildren Kathryn Coon, Christopher Coon (Christina Snyder), Tom Midgley (Amber, son Nick), Debra Lawrence (David, children Emma, Hannah and Jack), and Chris Midgley (Beth, children Clayton and Calvin).

Jane was raised in Clarksburg, West Virginia, near her paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She spent many summers in Canada with her maternal side of the family, lifeguarding at the pool in her mother’s hometown of Teeswater, Ontario. As an adult, Jane cherished summer visits with family at the Wilson cottage on Tygart Lake in Grafton, West Virginia.

Jane graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1960 as a National Merit Scholar. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Michigan in 1964, a Master of Science in nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1983.

Jane devoted the early years of her career to teaching and conducting research on “factors influencing patient recovery after pacemaker implantation” at the University of Toronto before and after earning her Ph.D. In 1986, she returned to U-M as an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, until her retirement in 2000.

The Department of Nursing’s establishment of the Jane Wilson Coon Undergraduate Student Award speaks to the significant impact Jane had on training multiple generations of nursing professionals. As a faculty member at U-M, Jane represented the School of Nursing on multiple committees, including the Institutional Review Board, and was a member of the Faculty Women’s Club. 

While maintaining dual citizenship in Canada and the United States for many years, Jane served her communities as a member of the Junior League in Toronto, San Francisco and Ann Arbor, where she was an active participant in fundraising and outreach programs, as well as serving in leadership roles.

Though for many years you would find Jane hard at work in a university classroom, she also enjoyed a broad range of social activities. Jane was an enthusiastic U-M sports fan and had season football tickets until recent years. She was an active member of the Ann Arbor Women’s Farm and Garden Club and maintained a beautiful garden at her home.

Following retirement, Jane traded in her sewing and knitting needles for wire and bead jewelry making, which she gifted to many friends and family. Jane enjoyed traveling, especially with her husband, Rees, with whom she shared a second home in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. She regularly attended the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and was a longtime supporter of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

Jane attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor where a private interment took place with family on Sept. 25. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

— Submitted by the Wilson and Coon families

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