Jane Austin Stauffer, 89, formerly of Bryn Mawr, a squash player who won 16 national championships, died of cardiorespiratory arrest Monday, Aug. 22, in a nursing home in Atlanta.
Mrs. Stauffer won her first squash championship in 1950 and her last in 1978. That 28-year span is the longest-running championship career in squash history, according to the association U.S. Squash, which will induct her into its hall of fame in October.
"She practiced almost every day that I can remember," said her daughter, Penny Cooper. "She was a very determined person."
Born in Narberth, Mrs. Stauffer graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1945. She loved all racket sports, said Cooper, who only recently learned that her mother had been a table tennis champion in high school.
"She somehow convinced her parents to buy her a tennis racket when she was in high school, and she would go to a nearby park and practice against a backboard," her daughter said.
Mrs. Stauffer played tennis at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied to become a physical education teacher. The women's tennis team was undefeated during her two years as captain, and she was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 1998.
Instead of becoming a teacher after her graduation in 1949, she met her future husband, Nathan P. Stauffer Jr., at the Merion Cricket Club. They married in 1952 and played in some doubles tournaments together early in their marriage.
As a child, Cooper said, she and her siblings often came home from school to an empty house in Bryn Mawr because their mother was practicing squash. The family also attended her tournaments.
Mrs. Stauffer retired from squash after her last championship in 1978. U.S. Squash decided shortly before her death that she would be inducted this fall into its hall of fame, based at Yale University.
Mrs. Stauffer "sadly passed away at the age of 89, only a few days after she had been informed that she was going to receive the ultimate honor in the game," the association wrote in its formal announcement of her induction. The ceremony will be Oct. 14 at Drexel University, where this year's championship will be held.
Cooper said her mother was known as caring and generous. She took care of her husband at home for years before he died of cancer, so he would not need to stay at the hospital.
One night after he died, Mrs. Stauffer answered a knock on her door late at night from a couple whose car had broken down. Instead of giving them money or turning them away, she got dressed and drove them to where they needed to be, said Cooper, who worried after hearing that story that her mother's kindness could get her into a bad situation.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Stauffer is survived by daughter Suzanne Northrop Raboy; a son, G. Scott; and three grandchildren.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Burial is private.