October 30, 1928 – February 14, 2024
Jan Gauger: our mother, our mentor, our North.
Jan was born to Helen Thorne Fulton and Fred Fulton in Moscow, Idaho, and grew up in Spokane, Washington as the youngest of 7 siblings. While attending the University of Idaho, she met Wendell Gauger, who would become her husband of 38 years. She moved to Lincoln in 1957 and raised her 4 children here.
Jan was a firebrand, an organizer and a change-maker. Her legacy is written all around this community – a place she made better through long-term involvement with local organizations. She served on the Lincoln Housing Authority and as Tri-Chair of the Antelope Valley project. Among groups too numerous to mention, she was active with the Red Cross, the Lincoln/Lancaster League of Women Voters, and served four terms on the Lancaster County Board.
From her start in politics with the League of Women Voters, she fought tirelessly for women’s rights. As the first woman in Nebraska to be elected to a county-wide office, she broke down doors and opened the windows of local government, helping to usher in the end of “good ol’ boys” networks. She made some enemies along the way, but she made our local governing systems better and more efficient.
She was an incredible role model for us, her proud children, in whom she instilled a lasting interest in local, national and international affairs. She watched the news religiously, was always the best-informed person we knew, and through lively discussion helped us understand any topic and determine our own positions. Jan was also a local business owner, founding One More Time Consignments (now omt! divine resale) in 1979, which has served tens of thousands of customers and consignors.
Jan’s other interests were as broad as her accomplishments: she kept a large garden with both perennials and vegetables, which she generously shared. She loved crosswords and word puzzles and kept up a text thread with her daughters to share daily results up until her last day.
In addition to the giant-sized hole she leaves in our hearts, she leaves behind her four children: Carl Gauger (Shelly), Chris Gauger (Lee Leighton), Kate Merritt (Gary), and Sarah Gauger (Charlie Duerschner); grandchildren Bri, Jeremy, Carly and Jesse Gauger, Mel and Asher Colborn, Lilly Krause, Jon and Chris Duerschner; and great-grandchildren Asa and Loren Gauger.
The memorial service was held Monday, February 19th at 2:00pm at First Plymouth Church (20th and D Street). A recording of the service can be watched here.
In remembrance, donations may be made in her name to the Lincoln/Lancaster League of Women Voters, The Lincoln YWCA, and Voices of Hope.
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