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Jane Karotkin

Obituary for Jane Karotkin

July 26, 1950 - November 13, 2016
Austin, Texas | Age 66


Jane Karotkin died early in the morning of Sunday, November 13, 2016, in ICU at Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas. She fought a short battle against cancer with dignity and courage. Very few people knew she was so sick. She approached her illness like she did every task she took on – with focus and control, making sure all who were around her were taken care of first.

Jane was born in Houston on July 26, 1950 to Lester and Elizabeth Karotkin.

Jane was a graduate of St. John's School in Houston and treasured friendships from her time there. She went on to receive her B.A. in history from the University of Texas at Austin and later earned an MBA from St. Edward's University. She had a lifelong interest in historic preservation and the decorative arts, especially Nineteenth Century American furniture and silver. This interest led her to the perfect job as the Administrator of the Friends of the Governor's Mansion. Jane served in that capacity for more than twenty-five years, serving under five Texas governors and their first ladies, Governors Clements, Richards, Bush, Perry and Abbott.

Jane was a nationally recognized decorative arts curator and brought beauty wherever she served. She edited the guidebook for the Governor's Mansion, co-curated an exhibition on the Texas governors and their official residence and co–produced a documentary on the mansion for public television.

During the White House tenure of President George W. and Laura Bush, Jane was invited to serve on the White House Christmas Decorating Committee. She came home to Texas and regaled her friends with fascinating stories and shared the keepsake White House Christmas ornaments that now hang on the Christmas trees of many of her friends.

Jane was active in numerous organizations related to the arts and to historic preservation. Locally, she had served on the boards of the Austin Women's Symphony League, the Heritage Society of Austin and the Austin Lyric Opera Guild, where she served as president. Among the national and international organizations for which she served on the board of directors were the American Friends of Attingham, the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the Victorian Society in America and the Advisory Council of Villa Finale in San Antonio. She was elected to the Philosophical Society of Texas.

Jane treasured her almost thirty years of being a docent at the Governor's Mansion. She made many lasting friendships with other docents who shared her love of history and beauty as embodied in the Governor's Mansion. As a fourth-generation Texan, she took great pride in being involved in keeping the mansion beautiful and open to the public regardless of the political ebbs and flows of the Lone Star State.

Jane loved to travel and spend time with her many friends, old and new, friends from her school days, from her historic society circles and from her work in decorative arts. She loved opera and the symphony. She regularly supported the arts with her friends and cousin, Carol Karotkin, seldom missing performances in Austin and San Antonio.

Jane was smart and well-read. She had a razor-sharp sense of humor, but quietly showed compassion for family and friends, always there when needed and on special occasions, without fanfare. Jane was a very good friend to many.

Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Lester and Betty Karotkin. She is survived by her son, Kirk Campbell, brother, Don Karotkin and wife Kathy, nephew, Dr. John W. Karotkin and wife Alyssa, niece, Emily A. Parsons and husband Jake Parsons, and great nephews, Luke, Maxwell and Parker Parsons.

During Jane's battle with cancer, she received compassion and care from several long-time friends, including Kathy Fannin, with whom she stayed while in Houston for treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Jane will be missed.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 19th at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home on North Lamar.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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