Jane Foster Carter (1927-2018)


Jane Foster Carter died peacefully in her home on March 3, 2018 at the age of 91.   She was a fervent advocate for free enterprise, historic preservation, agriculture, ranching and water policy.  Throughout her life, Jane was a fierce supporter of her family and her causes.  She had an indomitable spirit and was driven to achieve results in all her life’s work. She will long be remembered for her strength, grace and dignity.

Jane was born in Stockton, California to Chester and Bertha Foster.  Her father founded the Sterling, a department store with branches in Stockton and Lodi.  She was orphaned at the young age of 19 and transferred from College of the Pacific to Stanford University.  In order to prepare herself to run the family business, she received a Bachelor of Arts in economics accountancy and went on to New York University for a Masters degree in retailing.

At Stanford she met the love of her life, Robert Buffington Carter, and after two years of a long distance relationship they decided to marry and settle in Colusa, CA.  Bob Carter launched his career in agriculture and ranching on a property he and his father purchased north of Colusa in 1952. Jane had sold the Sterling and in turn bought the Ag property next door to her husband in 1954.  And so they continued for 40 years working side by side, adding additional acreage and enterprises while becoming deeply engaged in the community and public service.

Her passion for historic preservation was aroused in the 1970s when she fought to save the Colusa Grammar and Union High School buildings from demolition.  Her applications resulted in their listings on the National Register of Historic Places and both buildings were repurposed for public use. As project manager, she oversaw the rehabilitation of the High School auditorium that became the Colusa Community Theatre for The Performing Arts and she served on the foundation board for nearly two decades. Next for Jane was her magnum opus, “If The Walls Could Talk: Colusa’s Architectural Heritage”, published in 1988 and for which she received multiple awards. When the Leland Stanford Mansion in Sacramento was to be restored she joined the Foundation board.  Jane was a member and chair of the State Historic Resources Commission, and a trustee of the California Historical Society.

Agriculture and water policy were other passions.  Jane served on the California State Reclamation Board from 1983-96, as secretary for ten years and was a member of the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Cattleman’s Association, California Wool Grower’s Association, Society for Range Management, Sacramento River Water Contractors Association to name a few.

Jane was a loyal Republican and a member of the California State Central Committee for two decades.  In addition, she was a delegate to three National Republican Conventions between 1976 and 1984. She was a member of the Francisca Club (SF), Sutter Club (Sacramento), Kappa Alpha Theta, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Omega Nu.

In the 80’s Jane had become very engaged with the English Speaking Union, served on the board of the San Francisco branch and then the national board where she met Frank Anthony Bauman in 1997 and they married the next year.

She was particularly keen on family travel adventures including summers on the County Fair horse show circuit with Ann and Ben, fleeing the valley heat to the Sierras, boating at Lake Tahoe, and touring Europe, Africa, South America, China and Australia.

Jane is survived by her daughter, Ann Carter (Thomas Palmer) of Portland, OR, her son Ben Carter (Denise) of Colusa, CA, her four grandchildren, Brian Carter (Sarah Tyler), Allegra Palmer, Charles Palmer and Kendra Carter all of whom experienced her prowess at bridge and dominoes and joined her at the movie theater regularly.

A celebration of Jane’s life will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, April 7, on the family farm in Colusa.  Remembrances may be directed to the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (agleaders.org), National Trust for Historic Preservation (saveplaces.org) or The American Cancer Society (cancer.org).

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