Born in Berkeley, California, Janice Cardwell Stafford lived a long life that can only be described as full. She loved to write and travel - even two major hip surgeries, she remained very active until she suffered a stroke in 2004, which left her unable to speak.
Jan lived all but two of her 86 years in the San Francisco Bay area when she moved to the Sacramento area to be closer to her daughter. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of California at Berkeley. Upon graduating in 1943 with a degree in journalism, Jan went to work with the San Rafael Independent newspaper. She then took a delayed entrance into the Marine Corps during World War II. Her parents did not know she had enlisted until they received a letter -- a letter she had hoped to open first.
After basic training at Camp Leguene, Jan asked for an assignment in San Francisco, but was sent to Atlanta, Georgia. After six months in Atlanta, Jan asked for a transfer to San Francisco, but was sent to Washington, D.C. Jan lived in the barracks in Arlington, VA and took a twenty-minute bus ride to the Capitol where she worked. When she was wandering about the city, she noticed the House Office Building. As she strolled down the hall, she noticed the name Harry R. Sheppard, Democrat CA. Naturally, she walked in. She asked him during lunch in the House Office Building for a transfer to San Francisco. Jan returned to San Francisco six weeks later. Congressman Sheppard took Jan out to dinner on his occasional trips to San Francisco.
Jan became actively involved in the American Association of University Women where she chaired the Scholarship Fundraising Committee that provided scholarships to needy students attending the College of San Mateo (California). When they graduated from the College of San Mateo, which was a two-year program, they were entitled to enter a four-year university. The Fellowship funds took care of this. But, Jan's greatest hobby and love is writing short stories, much like the ones written by her literary hero, O. Henry. "Jan's stories are full of intrigue and are a joy to read," said Rick Lofgren, President of COTA. "I love the way she wove Bay area topics and locations, and her love of dogs, especially Springer Spaniels, into her stories."
Jan once commented, "I am not sure how I first heard of the Children's Organ Transplant Association, but as I learned about the organization and the life-saving work they do, I knew this was a group I wanted to support." After making a large gift to benefit the organization's work on behalf of children, Jan made a number of memorial contributions to honor friends and loved ones. "I like knowing my memorial gift is benefiting someone who needs help, and not going toward flowers that will be thrown away."
"My motto has been, going back to my conversation with Rep. Shepherd, if you do not ask you will not get," Jan said. "When I realized I could help COTA by creating a bequest in my will, I thought it was a great idea. My attorney helped draft the paperwork. We were able to take care of my family and loved ones who I wanted to support, as well as support organizations that are doing great work to help children and animals."
Lofgren added, "A bequest in an individual's will, as Jan made, is a wonderful method for donors to make gifts to COTA."
If you would like additional information about how to use a bequest (or other planned gift vehicles) to benefit COTA's patients, please contact Rick Lofgren at 800-366-2682. You may also complete the "Leave a Lasting Legacy" form and mail it to: The Children's Organ Transplant Association, 2501West Cota Drive, Bloomington, Indiana 47403.
There is no obligation to request the information, and the material is personal and is not shared with anyone.
Click Here to review sample bequest language.