Laff was born with the name Jane Elizabeth Lafferty, but never wanted to be a "Plain Jane" so she took her father's nickname, "Laff," for her own. Thus began her life of individualism on April 23, 1922.
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She grew up in Haverford, Pa. with her parents, John and Bertha Lafferty and brother, Jack. She joined the Waves during World War II to "help the boys" and soldered plugs for the cryptology machines used to break codes. With the help of the GI Bill she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland where she studied child psychology, in French, with Jean Piaget because she liked his, "shock of white hair." She went on to be a receptionist for the League of Nations. Returning to the states, she led a Bohemian lifestyle in Greenwich Village, working as a receptionist for The Ladies Home Journal where she met Eleanor Roosevelt.
Laff thought she'd retire from skiing in Aspen, Colo. when she met her husband, Colonel Hazel Edward Link, who was one of the founding members of the 10th Mountain Division; she continued to ski the rest of her life. They soon married and were stationed in Yokohama, Japan where she had the first, second, and created the third of their four children, Jaki, Sharon and soon to be Tina. Laff loved the Japanese culture and adventure of becoming a mother in an exotic place. The family returned to the states to be stationed in Lexington, Mo. where she gave birth to their son, Robert. Her husband had a tour of duty in Vietnam and settled the family in Steamboat Springs, Colo. where Laff taught all her children to ski. The next move was to Naches, Wash. when her husband was stationed at the Yakima Firing Center. Laff and her family took up horsemanship and she taught swimming in the summer and skiing in the winter at White Pass Ski Resort.
The next move was to Olympia, then Enumclaw, Wash. Her sense of adventure took her to Jackson Hole, Wyo. then Talkeetna, Alaska to help her daughter, Tina, upon the birth of her first grandson, Chandler. She had a tiny cabin with the deluxe addition of indoor plumbing. She signed up for a railroad-kill moose, and one was delivered to the nearby railroad crossing when her turn came up. She called many places home, including Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Wash., but Talkeetna was a highlight.
She died May 7, 2012 at Spring Meadows Assisted Living in Bozeman at the age of 90. She and her family benefited from the generous care of the staff at Spring Meadows and Rocky Mountain Hospice.
She is survived by her brother, John 'Jack' Lafferty; her children, Jaki Link, Sharon Link, Jim and Tina Ortman and Robert Link, as well as her grandchildren, Chandler and Loretta 'Lottie' Ortman and Dalton Link.
Services will be held at noon Saturday, May 12 at The Pilgrim Congregational Church.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 9, 2012