Jane Ann McKellips was born on March 2, 1953 to Dale Eugene Hassinger and Bernice Jane (Dreyer) Hassinger in Alva, Oklahoma. Jane was raised in Weatherford, Oklahoma and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a minor in English. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Jane was an educational writer and editor for over thirty-five years, writing mainly elementary and middle-school grade educational publications in the subjects of reading, language arts, spelling and social studies. Recently, her focus turned to writing children’s books. Jane was an only child and attributes her love of books to reading alone as a child. “I developed a love of reading that lasted throughout my life” said Jane. She was proud of her large collection of mystery books.
Jane was the author of a biography series book titled “Bill Wallace: Author of Adventure and Animal Stories”, published in 2015. Her next book “Dust Storm,” published in 2016, was a historical fiction tribute to her Great Aunt Clara Dreyer who had polio as a child. “Dust Storm” won first place in many book contests, most prominently the 2017 Oklahoma Book Award for the best Children’s Book. Jane was also awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma Creative Women of Oklahoma Children’s Author Award in 2018.
Music filled the Hassinger house when Jane was a child, and Jane loved playing the piano. She began piano lessons when she was six and continued for 13 years before becoming a piano teacher herself. Jane continued her piano teaching career that included both adults and children for 50 years. Her students considered her a role model and a teacher of life lessons, as well as the piano. She loved teaching, and loved her students.
Jane was preceded in death by her beloved grandparents, William and Opal Dreyer, her father Dale Hassinger in 1970, and her mother Bernice Hassinger in 2012. Surviving relatives include her first cousins: Dr. Luanne Thorndyke of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; Dr. Julie Thorndyke of Atlanta, Georgia, and Dr. Perry Thorndyke of Atherton, California. Jane’s closest friends, considered to be part of her extended family, include Pati Hailey, who provided loving care day and night for the last 5 months; and Kyle Sparkes who provided valuable assistance at her farmhouse. One of Jane’s favorite sayings was: “Friends are the family you choose”.
Memorials in honor of Jane may be made to Keith Cemetery, Burlington, Oklahoma (c/o Floyd Knopf). A memorial service will be held at the Resthaven Chapel in Oklahoma City, on Monday June 10, 2019 at 2:00pm.