Obituary

Jane McCullough, bon vivant, lawyer, grandmother

Jane Anne Bankert McCullough, a beloved mother, devoted friend, treasured counselor, generous mentor, adventurous bon vivant, and avid pickleballer, passed away peacefully in Summerfield, Florida on Friday, May 6, 2022 at the age of 77 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Jane’s life was as colorful and vibrant as the needlepoint she meticulously stitched and her loving spirit lives on in her husband, Timothy, her two children, Michael (Christine Todd) and Susan (Jay Carpenter), her granddaughter Fiona, her brother Judd (Dabney) Bankert, and her dogs, Bobo and Badger.

On May 3, 1945, Jane was born to Charles (“Bank”) and Dorothy (“Dodie”) Bankert at what was then known as the Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), and raised in Lake Orion, Michigan. As the daughter of a General Motors worker and a high school English teacher, Jane not only grew up with a strong moral compass, but also with a powerful work ethic, a curiosity to explore everything life had to offer, and a generosity to all around her.

A top student, Jane was the salutatorian of her Lake Orion High School class before enrolling at the University of Michigan. It was there in January 1966 where she met the love of her life, Tim, a University of Wisconsin student in town visiting his best friend, David Agnew. When David’s first attempt to set Tim up with a blind date fell through, Jane filled in on short notice. It was love at first sight; the couple would marry seven months later and remain together for over 56 years.

Although the arrival of her children delayed her plans, they in no way robbed her of her passions or ambitions. Jane quickly tired of staying home to watch the Watergate hearings, Julia Child, and Sesame Street – as soon as Mike and Susan were old enough, she returned to her studies, enrolling at DePaul Law School and graduating in 1981.

Like the superhero she was, Jane had a double life. By day, she was a top big-firm lawyer, while away from the office she had a second identity – SuperMom. For more than 35 years at three of Chicago’s top firms, Winston & Strawn, Altheimer & Gray, and Greenberg Traurig. Jane litigated complex commercial disputes in federal and state courts all over the country, handling multi-million dollar disputes ranging from contract and fraud cases to product liability matters and class actions. Her creativity led her to find innovative tactics, while her masterful writing ability enabled her to craft shrewd arguments to bring success after success. Above all, though she persevered through a frustrating degree of sexism throughout her career with elan, Jane was especially proud she could befriend and mentor an impressive group of women walking in her stylish shoes.

In 2004, Jane and Tim moved from Chicago to Charlotte, Vermont. Being 900 miles away did not prevent (or even slow) her from working, however; it merely allowed her to work on her own terms – usually, in her pajamas up in her upstairs loft, returning to Chicago primarily to catch up with family and friends – particularly for the “lady lawyer dinners.” This lasted for several years and allowed her to keep in contact with her dear colleagues, remain intellectually stimulated, and develop a relationship with the FedEx delivery person.

As SuperMom, Jane was just as impressive. Whether cooking delicious meals for the family, entertaining friends, finding (or creating) the exact right item to decorate the house, or planning the next family vacation, Jane seemed to have boundless energy, enthusiasm, and vibrance. 

This was especially true around the holidays, for what Jane looked forward to most was the opportunity to have her kids (and especially granddaughter Fiona) and their relations together under one roof. Christmas in Vermont was like living in a postcard, with the house absolutely festooned with decorations, Christmas music filling the air, bowls of her famous caramel corn everywhere in sight, and the refrigerator stuffed with more items than could be found in a delicatessen. 

Jane extracted all the juice from the orange of life, without forgetting the zest for dessert. She had endless generosity for those close to her and was a boundless source of encouragement and optimism. She filled the rooms she entered with warmth, kindness, empathy, intelligence, and humor – everything that is good in this world.

On Sunday, July 17, 2022, Jane’s family will host a celebration of her life in Charlotte, Vermont. For information, please call Susan McCullough at (202) 441-0489. 


Family Information

Jane’s life was as colorful and vibrant as the needlepoint she meticulously stitched and her loving spirit lives on in her husband, Timothy, her two children, Michael (Christine Todd) and Susan (Jay Carpenter), her granddaughter Fiona, her brother Judd (Dabney) Bankert, and her dogs, Bobo and Badger.


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