Jennifer Ladd Jack was an archaeologist and ethnobotanist who was dedicated to helping the Paiute preserve their knowledge and history.
She played the piano beautifully at home and at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church (which she helped to found) and she sewed many of her clothes on a treadle sewing machine.
My own memories of my mother are very few but I remember she loved popcorn, made delicious chicken dumplings, practiced yoga, painted her nails on Sunday evening and often read in bed before going to sleep.
Jennifer died suddenly of congenital heart disease on January 26th, 1988. Her friends, Bob and Helen Kohl, wrote a letter to the editor shortly after her death which said, “She was a warm friend to so many. It was evident that the nearly 300 people of all faiths, friends and coworkers, Paiutes and whites alike, who packed the Chapel at her Memorial service were saying a fond farewell to a fine lady. Bon voyage Jennifer.”
A few years ago I found an old box with my mother’s name on it. Inside I found some slides. I took those to a photo shop and had them put on a disk. Most of the images were of plants, photos I assume my mother had taken. Seeing these plants that I have come to love dearly, like globe mallow, prickly poppy, prickly cactus, paintbrush, sagebrush, penstemons and primroses was like getting a spiritual hug from my mother.
I leave these photos here, in her memory.
“Jennifer had a sense of humor and a zeal for life that carried into her love or anthropology, and a pragmatism that enabled her to put her ideals into practice. These threads were woven throughout her life whether it was her period of “homesteading” in a canyon east of Sigurd or her return to archaeological practice with the Bureau of Land Management. She never lost sight of anthropology as being a higher endeavor and had the insight that allowed her to see the difference between responsibility to higher ideals and the day to day machinations of human folly.”
Betsy L. Tipps
"Jennifer was an outstanding student in our department. Her enthusiasm, her wit and wry smile, and willingness to get the job done right are all fondly remembered here. Few people get the chance to make a difference. Jennifer did make a difference to many."
Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada-Reno