Jane Blair McShea
January 29, 2021

Funeral Information

February 2 2021 - 11:00 am
Homewood Cemetery, 1599 South Dallas Avenue, (Squirrel Hill), Pittsburgh 15217

JANE BLAIR McSHEA: Of Pittsburgh, PA, died peacefully surrounded by loved ones at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in the early hours of January 29, 2021, after waging a heroic two year battle against metastatic leiomyosarcoma cancer. Born November 14, 1964, at the U.S. Army Hospital in Bad Cannstatt, Germany, Jane leaves a legacy of having touched thousands of lives in supporting equal access to healthcare for low income women, and advocating for international adoption.

The oldest of four, Jane moved frequently as a child, as her father Tex served a distinguished 20 year career in the U.S. Army. His final assignment was at the Pentagon, and the family made Springfield, VA their home. A lifelong fan of the Washington Redskins, one of Jane’s fondest memories was witnessing the 1982 NFC Championship Game, where the Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys on their way to winning Super Bowl XVII. Jane graduated from Lake Braddock High School in 1983, and received a B.A. in Political Science from Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, in 1987. She truly came into her own at Mary Baldwin, serving as president of the College Democrats and president of her residential house.

Jane pursued her interest in Democratic politics, securing a position in the office of U.S. Representative James Bilbray (NV). It was there she met her husband and soulmate Bernie, and they enjoyed the receptions, happy hours, and summer softball games characteristic of Capitol Hill life. In the fall of 1994, they embarked upon master degree programs at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where Jane received her Master of Social Work in December 1995.

Her career in social work spanned different populations, including premature babies and their families, patients recovering from orthopedic surgeries and traumatic brain injuries, and low-income women seeking basic gynecological care and well as assistance with crisis pregnancies. Jane’s career progression took her to Alexandria, VA Hospital; St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Hospital in Lawrenceville, NJ; Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, FL; and two stints at UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital, beginning in 2000 when she and Bernie first moved to Pittsburgh, and resuming in 2012 when they returned after several years in Florida.

Unable to have children of her own due to a previous childhood cancer, Jane was determined to help a child in need, and she and Bernie adopted their daughter Caroline in Guangzhou, China in October, 2002. Jane threw herself into all things China adoption with her infectious enthusiasm, joining the Board of Three Rivers Families with Children from China, and serving as its President from 2013 onward. She and her fellow board members devoted thousands of hours to organizing the annual Chinese New Year Celebration, and the fall Culture Camp, both of which served the vital purpose of helping children connect with each other and their Chinese heritage. Jane was also a nationally known presence in online forums related to international adoption.

Upon receiving her cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2019, Jane stated in unequivocal terms her determination to live as long as possible, and endured more than 40 surgical procedures, including the amputation of her right leg and pelvis to remove the initial tumor, and two rounds of very strong chemotherapy to control metastases. She returned home in June 2020 after 15 months in hospitals and nursing homes, and achieved a prized goal of returning to work last fall. Her smiled beamed from ear to ear when she voted last fall, and she was overjoyed when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn-in on January 20.

Jane is survived by her husband Bernie and daughter Caroline of Pittsburgh, PA; parents Arnold “Tex” and Linda Blair of Springfield, VA; sister Mary Ellen Blair of Reston, VA;  brother Arnold “Phil” Blair of New York, NY; brother and sister in law Greg and Joyce McShea of Palo Alto, CA; nieces Emily, Hannah, and Sally Johnston, and Miranda McShea; and nephews Benjamin McShea and Alex Blair. She was preceded in death by her beloved sister Hillary Blair Johnston.

Graveside Services and Interment will be on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 11 AM at Homewood Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at such time when it is safe to gather again. Contributions in Jane’s memory may be made to the Roll on Jane! GoFundMe fundraiser (https://www.gofundme.com/f/roll-on-the-jane-mcshea-mobility-fundraiser?&+share-sheet&) to help defray the family’s considerable medical expenses and support Caroline’s college education; or to the Magee Women’s Research Institute & Foundation, https://mageewomens.org/support or 3240 Craft Place, Suite 100, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, please specify that the gift is in memory of Jane McShea.

The family would like to thank the hundreds of health care professionals who provided extraordinarily compassionate care to Jane the past two years, and would like to recognize Dr. Melissa Burgess for overseeing Jane’s chemotherapy, and Dr. Matthew Rosengart, Dr. Stella Lee, and Dr. James Russavage for leading very complex surgeries that enabled her to live the past two years.

Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., family owned and operated. www.schugar.com


Send Condolence

I’m terribly sorry to hear of Jane’s passing. I did not have the pleasure of knowing her, but I worked with Bernie for a time when I first moved to Pittsburgh, and I know how much he loved Jane and their family and life together.

By Greg Faist - February 09, 2021

My deepest sympathies to Bernie and Caroline. I worked with Jane at Magee and her smiling face always greeted me in the hallways. Her life force was so strong and she will be remembered always. May her memory be a blessing.

By Martha Kreimer - February 05, 2021

My deepest condolences. Jane was a kind woman and a force of nature. She was always happy and willing to help others. Jane and Bernie made the cutest couple and when I remember my time on the Hill, Jane always comes to mind. God bless and my prayers for the family. Tina Morris

By Tina Morris - February 04, 2021

I loved reading this tribute to Jane. She is in my thoughts always. She gave her all in everything she touched, and I benefited from that as her friend. Bernie and Caroline- she loved you both very, very much.

By Caroline Knight - February 03, 2021

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the family. Such a lovely person.

By Yvette Taylor - February 03, 2021

You have always been one of my role models. Thank you for all that you did for Chinese adoptions and women’s health. I hope one day my daughter grows up to be a Jane.❤️ Rest In Peace my friend. Love, Sharyn and LiLi

By Sharyn DiMuzio - February 03, 2021

Thank you Jane for always greeting me with a smile in the halls of Magee and stopping to gossip in the coffee shop! Condolences and prayers to Bernie and Caroline.

By Sharon Hadley - February 02, 2021

Bernie and Caroline, Words cannot express how saddened I am after learning about Jane passing. As you already know, Jane was a dynamic, determined and brave person. Her smile and laugh could make your day. She was really one of the best friends I have ever had and I am honored to have her as a friend. She was most definitely Sophia’s “other mother”. Jane will forever be in our hearts and thoughts. Love all three of you. Laura, Donn, Sophia and Ian

By Laura Sardella - February 02, 2021

To Bernie, Caroline and Jane's family What a lovely tribute to Jane, the person she is and all that she accomplished. I never met a a more determined, courageous and feisty person! I loved and admired Jane as do many, many others. She will be missed but never forgotten. Jane was one-of-a kind. You have my deepest sympathy. Becky

By Becky Mcdermott - February 02, 2021

Bernie and Caroline, you have my deepest sympathy. Jane was loved and highly respected at Magee. It was an honor to know her as a coworker and friend.

By Terri McKenzie - February 02, 2021

Our deepest sympathy for your loss. Jane was a remarkable woman that I was blessed to call friend. She will be missed greatly.

By Betsy, Bill, and Caitlin Hanna - February 02, 2021