In 1941, Jane Blaffer Owen married Kenneth Dale Owen (1902 2002), a geologist and descendant of Robert Owen, the founder of New Harmony, Indiana. Early in their marriage, Kenneth Owen introduced his bride to the town of his birth. Falling in love, again, Jane Owen adopted this little town on the Wabash as her home, and thus was born a palette for her intelligence and unfettered generosity.
In the mid-1950s, to channel her philanthropic efforts and to honor her late father, she established the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation. Grants from the Foundation were to be used to preserve and promote the towns historical and educational attributes. Among numerous other New Harmony initiatives, she commissioned Philip Johnson to design the Roofless Church; she orchestrated the building of the visitors center, architect Richard Meiers Athenaeum; she envisioned a spiritual retreat center and created the Macleod Barn Abbey; she inspired and supported the restoration of the Rapp-Owen Granary; and she encouraged spiritual awakening through a cathedral labyrinth, built for meditation and prayer.
During her life, Jane Owen was the recipient of numerous awards and recognition. Most notably, she was named Commander of the British Empire, an honor bestowed by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. She received the prestigious Louise DuPont Crowninshield Award, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Sachem Award, presented by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to recognize a lifetime of excellence and virtue that brought credit and honor to the state. None of this acclaim, however, brought more pride to her than being the mother of three daughters: Jane Dale Owen, Caroline Campbell Owen Coleman, and Anne Dale Owen-Pontez.
Aside from all she accomplished in life, Jane Owens true legacy may be found in the faith she demonstrated, the friendships she forged, the beauty she created, the enthusiasm she espoused, and the simple way in which she lived. The Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation continues to support the causes she loved.
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