Jane was born on May 30, 1930, in Langdon, ND, to Edward John and Kathryn (Nugent) Donovan, and enjoyed many birthday parades due to the Memorial Day festivities surrounding her birthdate. She was an outstanding student, skipping second grade, and later became Salutatorian of her St. Alphonsus High School Class of 1947 in Langdon.
Her father was a lawyer and postmaster in Langdon. Her mother was the city librarian for more than 50 years and instilled in her children and grandchildren the importance of books and reading. Jane loved reading and always had a book at hand.
Jane graduated from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, as an English major, with minors in Speech and French in 1951. She was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority, Catholic Newman Club, Board of Student Relations and was an officer on the Student Council.
She met Jack Traynor at the coffee shop in Budge Hall while at the University of North Dakota. They married at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Langdon, ND, on June 19, 1954.
While raising her children, Jane volunteered as a Cub Scout Leader. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Devils Lake Music Club, Pioneer Daughters, and volunteered as the music teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School for several years.
In 1985 and 1986 Jack served as Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks. Jack and Jane traveled to 48 of 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal. Along the way Jane charmed everyone she met. She enjoyed many adventures and was a great and gifted Irish storyteller, whose truth was more comical than any fiction.
She enjoyed many family vacations in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; Boca Grande, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona. Jack and Jane also spent summers with family and many friends at lake homes on Wood Lake and Devils Lake.
They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with their family in Bemidji, Minnesota, with their dear friend, Monsignor Jeffrey L. Wald, officiating. They were joined by their best man, Dr. Mack V. Traynor, Jr., and maid of honor, Eileen Nelson, in the celebration.
Jane and Jack have been members of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Devils Lake for the entirety of their married lives. Jane was a member of Catholic Daughters of America, St. Joseph Altar Society and the St. Joseph Church Choir. She had a beautiful voice and spent many years as a soprano soloist for Masses, weddings and funerals.
Jane was also a treasured member of the Devils Lake Shakespeare Club for more than 60 years. The club, founded in 1895, is believed to be the oldest continuously operating women’s group in the state. In 2000, Jane researched and documented the club’s history for the turn of the century.
Always one to share valuable insights, she kept current with happenings in our community and state and spent many days following legislative matters in Bismarck during her husband’s 16-year service in the North Dakota State Senate.
Jane served on the Board of the Fort Totten Little Theater for 30 years. She was also a member of the Devils Lake Library Board. In 2005, Jane was recognized by the Devils Lake Journal as an Unsung Hero for her involvement in the community.
She lived a truly beautiful life dedicated to her family and faith. Jane especially cherished her husband Jack and the two were inseparable. Jane was a modest person, but what she considered to be her greatest pride and achievement were her five children. Four of them are lawyers and one is a surgeon.
Jane once wrote: “I am proud of the fact that [my children] are fifth generation North Dakotans.”
She is survived by her loving husband Jack and children: Tom (Julie) Traynor of Devils Lake, N.D., Mimi (Kevin) Mahoney of Anthem, Ariz., Dr. Michael (Mary Beth) Traynor, of Fargo, ND, Paul Traynor of Grand Forks, ND, and Daniel Mack (Patricia) Traynor of Bismarck, ND.
Jane is survived by her grandchildren Dr. Erin (Matthew) Follman of Fargo, ND, John Thomas Traynor III of Devils Lake, and Katie Traynor of Golden Valley, MN; Dr. Michael (Antinea Ascione) Traynor Jr. of Rochester, Minnesota, and Tim (Madison) Traynor of Fargo, ND; and Mary, Daniel Mack Jr., and Joseph Traynor of Bismarck, ND.
Also surviving her are great-grandchildren: Olivia Marie and Patrick Thomas Follman of Fargo, ND; and Michael Donovan III and Amadeus Matthew Traynor of Rochester, Minnesota.
Jane is survived by her 99-year-old sister Mary Eileen Nelson, of Fargo, ND, and sister-in-law Rita Traynor, also of Fargo, ND.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents, brother Dr. Edward J. Donovan of Denver, Colorado; brothers-in-law Dr. Mack V. Traynor, Jr., of Fargo and Harry L. Nelson of Langdon; and her beloved grandson Matthew “Matto” Thomas Traynor of Fargo.
We are so grateful for the joy and love Jane Traynor brought to our lives.
Preferred memorials to St. Joseph School Foundation, Devils Lake Public Schools Development Fund or the Matto Foundation.
Visitation will be held at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake on Friday, December 4th from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial for the family will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church with the Very Reverend C.F. Wilhelm celebrating the Mass. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be required when attending any of the services.