Mary Jane Ashby, age 77, passed away surrounded by family on July 2, 2021, in Austin. Jane was born November 29, 1943, in Poteet, daughter to Cassius and Ora Lee Norment. Jane grew up on the family farm outside the small South Texas town of Poteet. She was the second youngest and the only daughter of five children. Life on the farm consisted of daily chores including milking the cows, tending the garden and sewing clothes for the family.
An accomplished student, Jane graduated valedictorian from Poteet High School. She also served as the drum major in the high school band. Jane went on to attend and graduate from the University of Texas with a Degree in Microbiology.
While attending UT, Jane met Lea Wayne Ashby, whom she would later marry on January 25, 1964. After graduation, the couple moved to California to pursue his career in electrical engineering. After two years, they returned to Texas, with Wayne accepting a job with Applied Research Laboratories, the research arm of the University of Texas. Jane was employed as a pharmaceutical sales rep while balancing the challenges of raising their two sons. It was during this time, the couple developed their love of sailing. As members of the Austin Yacht Club, they competed in numerous sailing events on weekends, ultimately winning the coveted Turnback Canyon and Governor’s Cup regattas. Inspired by her collective passion for sailing and sewing, Jane, with the help of her business partner Pat Halter, opened a boat canvas and sailboat sail repair business in 1983. Jane remained active in the business until her retirement in 1996. After retirement, she dedicated herself to promoting higher education, playing golf, spending summers in Colorado and enjoying trips to Mexico with her close friends and family.
She is preceded in death by her husband of 41 years Lea Wayne Ashby, brothers, Robert, Wayne, Jimmy, David and her parents. She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Gary, her daughters-in-law, Danielle and Stephanie, and grandchildren, Grant, Lindsay, Ellie, Jessica, Giuliana, Connor, Michael’s former wife Lisa, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and beloved puppy Smadie. A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 19, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Westlake Presbyterian Church located at 7127 Bee Cave Rd., Austin, TX 78746. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society or the donor’s preferred charity supporting education.