On April 18, 2020, Nancy Jane Vadnal died unexpectedly of natural causes at her home on Bullcreek Road in Jefferson Township. Jane was 72 years of age. She was born in New York State on May 28, 1947. She spent the early years of her life in Irwin, Pennsylvania.
Her life really began in 1955 when her family moved to a 150 acre farm near Saxonburg. She loved farming and farm life. It was a love affair which continued throughout her life. Jane enjoyed walking through the fields and forests with her dogs finding wonder in every season. Feeding and caring for farm animals were not "chores" for her. Some of them became her pets and she was sad when they were sold at livestock auctions.
Jane was an excellent student. She was the Valedictorian of the Knoch High School Class of 1965. She was one of three students in the class chosen to make a commencement address. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, Jane pursued graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh where she served as a Teaching Assistant in the History Department. She went on to earn Masters Degrees in Fine Arts and History from Pitt.
A major achievement in Jane’s university career was the creation of Images of Medieval Art and Architecture, www.medart.pitt.edu/index <http://www.medart.pitt.edu/index>, a publicly accessible database of European art work and architecture from the Middle Ages. She and a university professor at Pitt co-founded the website. An academic review called it, "a pioneering example of online humanities scholarship." To complete the project, Jane traveled to France to photograph the 800 year-old stained glass in the windows of the Chartres Cathedral. Her pictures are still posted on the website. Jane was also a technical advisor on other web-based digital humanities projects including Virtual Pompeii at Carnegie Mellon University.
Jane pursued diverse interests. The vegetables for her salads came directly from the garden that she planted every year. During summer vacations, she enjoyed baking cookies, pies and breads for her family. Her peanut butter bread is still remembered.
Jane was also a voracious reader. Her homes were stacked with books on art, architecture, cooking, history, and non-fiction. However, her favorite books were murder mysteries.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley and Rose (Canetto) Vadnal. Jane is survived by her brothers, Matt (Karen) Vadnal of Seattle, Washington, and Jim (Linda) Vadnal of Jefferson Township and her sister, Connie (LV) Turner of Columbia, Kentucky. She is also survived by two nieces and four nephews.
No funeral will be scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. A celebration of Jane Vadnal’s life will be held at a later time.
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