Obituary: Elizabeth M. Lane
Elizabeth Madeline Kuhnt Lane, age 96, died on on Sept. 22 in Orchard Park, N.Y., where she resided in an independent living facility. She lived in Darien, for more than 72 years and was known to her community and many friends as Lee.
Mrs. Lane was born in Bad- Kösen, Germany, a small resort town near Leipzig, on May 26, 1919, and in 1928 immigrated to the United States with her parents, Kurt and Elsa Kuhnt. She lived her formative years in New York City on the Upper East Side and in Greenwich. Following her graduation from Greenwich High School in 1938, she attended Columbia Presbyterian Nursing School in New York City and graduated in 1941. Mrs. Lane met her husband, Dr. W. Zeph Lane, while attending nursing school. After marrying on Aug. 31, 1941 in Greenwich, Lee accompanied her husband, who was then a medical officer for the United States Navy, and went on to serve in WW II, on a variety of adventures that took them through Pensacola, FL, Seattle, Washington, and Colville, Washington, from which Dr. Lane hailed. The couple moved to Darien in 1948 where they raised a family of eight children while Dr. W. Zeph Lane practiced medicine and Mrs. Lane delved into community activities chairing Royle School fairs and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Christmas fairs.
Nursing, family and community were Mrs. Lane’s life-long commitments. She attended to countless patients, friends and neighbors who remember her fondly for her care and compassion, and remained a member of the Columbia-Presbyterian Nursing School Alumni Association until her death.
She willingly welcomed any neighbor, friend, stranger or stray pet into her home on 9 Apple Tree Lane, and mothered many of the children who were friends with her own brood. Mrs. Lane had a sharp wit, a sense of grace and an uncanny humor that was matched by few. She maintained these characteristics through the end of her 96 years.
Mrs. Lane is also remembered for her private nursery school in Darien, which was located on the Post Road adjacent to Dr. Lane’s medical practice. As a mother of eight, she had plenty to children to keep track of, but gladly cared for hundreds more who remain as close family friends.
As an avid athlete and active woman, she loved tennis, skiing, sailing and gardening. She could often be found out on Long Island Sound in her Sunfish sailboat, reading and soaking up the sunshine or playing tennis at Cherry Lawn Park with anyone who could deal with her lethal first serve. However, she was also very creative and knitted, needlepointed and crocheted hundreds of sweaters, scarves, foot stools, and other handmade treasures.
One of her many passions was her membership in the International Order of Characters, or IOC, a charitable organization that was started in Australia during WWII by a group of Army-Air Force aviators. The focus of the IOC included aviators from all services, both American and International, with private and military affiliations. Her call sign was appropriately “Funshine.” IOC was a large international and social organization that focused primarily on aviation issues and scholarship opportunities. It was a diverse and immensely colorful group full of real “characters,” which included Senator Barry Goldwater, among others. Mrs. Lane served as Secretary for the organization until recent years.
She is preceded in death by her husband and three of her children: Wendy, Zeph and Johnny. Wendy Lane died in infancy in 1961, her son, Dr. Zeph Lane, was killed piloting a private plane in 1985, and her son, Johnny Lane, died in 1999. Her surviving children include: Elsa Mary Lane Williams of Costa Rica, Peter Lane of Orchard Park, New York, Brian Lane of Lakewood, Colorado, Ann Lane Crittenden of Stafford, Virginia, and Joan Lane Lewis of Kaysville, Utah. She has 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held for Lee at 1:30 pm on Nov. 14, at the Noroton Presbyterian Church, 2011 Post Road, Darien. All who knew her are invited to attend. A private ashes internment will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made in the name of Elizabeth M. Lane to the Wounded Warrior Project, National Processing Center, PO Box 758540, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8540; woundedwarriorproject.org