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Jane MacGregor Hussong Southwell Lang Davis

1920 - 2017
Jane MacGregor Hussong Southwell Lang Davis Obituary
Jane MacGregor Davis

"When great souls die

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile...."

~ Maya Angelou

And so we are left in the dust by Jane MacGregor Hussong Southwell Lang Davis, who is now without a doubt the life of the party in some fortunate new place.

Jane was born in Philadelphia, PA, on February 22, 1920, to Donald Ross MacGregor and Mae Widmer MacGregor. She had one brother, Donald Ross MacGregor Jr., who predeceased her in 1925.

Jane attended the Lankenau School for Girls, where by all accounts she challenged the stern Lutheran deaconesses daily with her high spirits, and spent summers at the family home in Margate, New Jersey, a denizen of the beautiful Jersey beach and the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City. She later studied design at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1940 she married a handsome young US Army officer, Jacques Hussong, and had two children, Don and Lyn. Her natural talent for design led the young mother to assist the war effort by painting graphic designations on tanker trucks and airplanes, doing her part to help fill the famous vacuum created by troop deployment.

After the war, when Jacques completed his engineering degree, the young family, led by the intrepid Jane, took off for overseas duty, starting in Batangas, in the Philippine Islands, where there was little but farming and jungle -- and the site for a Caltex petroleum refinery beginning construction. From there it was a decade of foreign service -- next stop, Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf, from 1955-1960.

With her second husband, Jim Southwell, Jane moved to Frankfurt, Germany, then La Coruna, Spain. In 1964, after the death of her second husband, she moved to Honolulu, where her son, Don, was a graduate student, and where she expected to live for the rest of her life.

But... not so fast! The following year she was introduced by a friend to a dashing gentleman from Seattle, Washington. They were married in 1966, and the next chapter began. Jane, finally in a permanent home, was able at last to indulge her lifelong interest in design and art, and thus began what was probably the greatest adventure of her life: she and Richard, encouraged by their great pal Virginia Wright, dove headlong into the New York art world, and subsequently assembled one of the most focused and sublime private collections of abstract expressionist and post war art in the world. The New York scene of the late '60's and '70's was intense, and Jane thrived on the insider world of parties and openings, galleries, artists, museum professionals and other committed collectors, always in hot pursuit of the most moving and beautiful work.

At the same time, back in her new city of Seattle, Jane embraced both the performing and visual arts. As a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, she instilled in others her passion for dance, and convinced choreographers and artistic directors Kent Stowell and Francis Russell to come to Seattle and create a world-renowned ballet company, which in turn developed the talent and love of the arts that she believed lay untapped in the region. Together, she and Richard Lang enriched immensely the reach, stability, and creative quality of ballet, opera, symphony, and both the Henry Gallery (University of Washington) and particularly the Seattle Art Museum. They were proponents of, and generously supported the expansion of SAM to its current downtown location. Sadly, Richard died in 1982, and never saw that 1991 opening.

In 1985, Jane was blessed yet again when she married Dr. David R. Davis of Bellevue. David had for many years been a staunch supporter of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and lover of the ballet and visual arts, and together they continued to be generous and passionate supporters of all things cultural. For the next 30 years, Jane and David traveled the world with the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in NY, always bringing home to their beloved Seattle their new perspectives and acquisitions. Jane continued to devote her prodigious energy to the Seattle Art Museum, helping to recruit museum world star Mimi Gardner (soon to be Mimi Gardner Gates) to lead the institution. The Davis parties were greatly anticipated by their wide circle of friends, even one well-recalled winter evening when the power went out in the afternoon. Instead of cancelling the party, Jane lit roaring fires in her fireplaces and lit hundreds of candles -- it was the most beautiful party ever.

Somehow Jane also found time for her beloved fly-fishing. Yes -- fly-fishing. This world-class art collector/culture maven was a passionate fisherman, exploring waters from the Seychelles to Montana -- and not always catch-and-release -- often catch-and-eat! Trips with Jane were not always by the book. She once famously goaded a group of women anglers into skinny-dipping in an ice cold river on the desolate plains of Mongolia.

She adored her family, hosting countless family weddings, Christmas dinners (complete with son-in-law Jerry as Santa Claus), and Maui holidays. Happily, she lived to see all her grandchildren and her oldest great-grandson off to college, remarking every time she saw him, "Wow! You're tall!"

Jane is survived by her beloved husband and partner in adventure of 32 years, Dr. David R. Davis, and her children, Don Hussong (Senia), and Lyn Grinstein (Jerry). She is also survived by grandchildren Kirsten Sharp (John), Carissa Hussong (David Lusk), Jennifer Hussong, and Marni Wright (Charles), and step-grandchildren Charles Grinstein (Krista), and Alexa Blanusa, and eight great grandchildren. She is also survived by step-children Robin Corrigan (Charles), David Huw Davis (Mary Ellen) and their four children, and Alexa Davis, and Pat Billhardt (Jack) and their three children and many grandchildren. She was predeceased in 2016 by her grandson, Donald Tuttle.

Yes -- there are a lot of us -- and we will all miss her terribly.
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 17, 2017
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