Butch remembers teacher Jane Anderson Switzer

By Butch Dale

I have written a couple of articles about some of my favorite teachers who helped shaped my life and the lives of my fellow students. I truly believe that some people were just meant to become teachers. God has given these men and women the ability to work with and inspire our young people.

One of these persons was Jane Anderson Switzer, a fellow classmate of mine. Jane and I attended school together at Darlington the entire 12 years, both of us graduating in May of 1966. During our senior year, Jane was elected as our class president. She was certainly one of the most popular students in our class, and she had a very outgoing personality and a great sense of humor. Jane was active in many organizations, including band, Sunshine Society, 4-H, choir, booster club and the National Honor Society . . . just to name a few. Jane loved school and she loved her teachers, and when she was a freshman, she joined the Future Teachers of America organization. Everyone knew that Jane’s goal was to become an elementary school teacher, and after graduation she attended Indiana State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education.

Jane taught in the Lafayette School Corporation for two years until she landed a job back here in Montgomery County. She was so happy to be back home, and she ended up teaching a total of 31 years at Mt. Zion and Sommer Elementary schools. Just like the elementary teachers that Jane and I had at Darlington, Jane loved her students, and her students loved her. Jane was never blessed to have any children of her own, but she treated her students just like they were her own children. Jane was named as “Teacher of the Year” in 1993.

Jane was also very active in several community organizations during her time as a teacher. If something needed to be done, Jane could do it, and it was just a pleasure for others to work with her.

Sadly, in 2004, Jane . . . at the young age of 56, passed away after a three year battle with ovarian cancer. A celebration of Jane’s life was held at the First Baptist Church in Crawfordsville, and there was likely one of the largest crowds of mourners that I have ever witnessed. Jane touched hundreds and hundreds of people’s lives throughout her life, not only as a teacher, but also as a good friend and community leader.

Like all of the great teachers, Jane Anderson Switzer was endowed with a God-given talent to teach. And when I read about children who have passed away at a very early age, I know they will have a great teacher in Heaven. Jane will be there to provide guidance and love. On Jane’s grave marker, her family placed this quote: “Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often.” That certainly describes her life . . . Thanks, Jane! John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 32 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.