The University Record, December 13, 1999

Obituaries

Jane Costabile

Jane E. Costabile, professor emeritus of social work, died Nov. 23 at Glacier Hills Nursing Center. She was 86.

Costabile, well known for her expertise in group work and child welfare, taught at the School of Social Work from 1962 until her retirement in 1979. She also directed the School’s admissions office from 1974 until 1979.

In addition to her substantial contributions to the educational programs of the School of Social Work, Costabile had a distinguished record of service to state organizations, including the Michigan Youth Commission, the Advisory Committee on Children and Youth, and the Michigan Department of Social Services Placement Services Advisory Committee.

She helped rewrite the state Adoption Code of 1975 and helped establish policies providing for subsidized adoptions, making Michigan one of the pioneers in this area. She also was an active member of many community organizations, including Catholic Social Services, Literacy Council of Washtenaw County, and the Lurie Terrace and Glacier Hills Residents Associations.

“Jane was a marvelous person,” says social work Prof. Tom Croxton. “We shared an office for many years. I think I always worked better with Jane around because I had a ready consultant who had so much more experience than I had.”

Rosemary Sarri, professor emeritus of social work, remembers Costabile’s dedication to the practice of social work in group work, child welfare and the city of Detroit. “She always reminded us how important it was to continue to be out in the field keeping track of what was going on,” she says.

When Harold Johnson, professor emeritus and dean emeritus of social work, organized the state’s new Office of Children and Youth Services in 1970, he wanted Costabile’s assistance “because I knew she would give me an accurate appraisal of my performance and because she enjoyed the respect of the state’s key players in child welfare.

“People would tell her things they would not tell me, which helped us to evaluate our activities. She was so honest and disarming that I could use her as an ‘advance’ person as we moved around Lansing and the state of Michigan,” Johnson adds.

Born Dec. 13, 1912, in Wyandotte, Costabile received a bachelor’s degree from Alma College, a master’s degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and a master’s in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.

Before joining the U-M, she taught at Wayne State University and served as a planning consultant for the United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit for several years.

She is survived by a brother, Charles Wright, and his wife, Rita, of Wyandotte; and a niece, Barbara Wright, and a nephew, William Wright, both of Jackson. Her husband, Dominick Costabile, was killed in action during World War II.

Memorial contributions may be made to the School of Social Work, the United Way of Washtenaw County or Alma College.

From News and Information Services


Irene Tejada

Irene Tejada, assistant professor emeritus of art and of education, passed away Oct. 25.

A friend to everyone who knew her, she will be remembered for her devotion to the arts. Her contributions began as early as 1942. Since then she has taught in public schools in Michigan and abroad, and at the U-M laboratory school known as University School.

From 1955 until 1970, Irene was the art instructor for hundreds of youngsters, all grades, K–12, at that school. She opened their eyes to a world of art that crossed into all areas of learning, as she integrated art projects with their other subject matter. She was an innovator and a leader in the area of integrating arts into a wide range of disciplines.

Former students often visited her and credit her for their beginnings in an art career or their lifetime interest in the arts. She was highly regarded by students and colleagues alike. It was said that “as an instructor of art education for teachers, she believed that the quality of children’s art classes should be equal to that of the most advanced painting courses.” She worked in consort with and inspired hundreds of educators to aim for those high standards for their students and their own teaching programs.

She was an instructor at West Virginia State College and, from 1964 to 1989, a professor in both the School of Education and School of Art at the U-M. She was granted emeritus status in 1989.

Prof. Tejada’s professional experiences also included silversmithing for the George Jensen Co. and serving as staff artist for the U-M in 1950–55. She illustrated many educational materials, books, pamphlets and films, and a number of educational exhibitions.

The scope of her own training included course hours and studies far in excess of her master’s degree. Her enthusiasm for learning equaled her enthusiasm for teaching and sharing ideas.

Irene served as a resource person for student teachers of all related topics and was an expert on the use of indigenous materials for the production of arts and crafts. Her special interest was in multicultural art techniques.

In 1972, she helped found a committee to address the need for a multicultural curriculum in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. In 1973, the committee’s courses were first offered at the U-M. (The state Legislature mandated the inclusion of such programs in 1974.) Students then started to examine the significance of folk art in helping understand cultural differences and similarities.

Irene was, in fact, a pioneer in the use of the arts of different cultures, and a strong believer in their importance as a vehicle for global communication and understanding. Under her guidance, future teachers learned methods and used materials to develop their own instructional strategies.

Irene tirelessly exhibited student art work for the enrichment of her community and continued to make examples of that work available as treasured reference materials.

Her own writing has been published in School Arts magazine. She wrote and illustrated for publication Brown Bag Ideas from Many Cultures, a marvelous resource she incorporated in multicultural arts units.

She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers’ sorority that addresses the concerns of women in education and endows scholarships.

Over the years, Irene formed and served in a number of art organizations. She was a member of the School Arts Coordinating Committee that identified needs of arts programs in the schools and community.

Prof. Tejada was a member of the National and Michigan Art Education Associations. At its annual conference in 1991, the Michigan Association recognized her for her lifelong dedication to art education. She was an important figure to many in this organization.

For all her gifts to us, her spirit of invention, her infectious laughter, and her love of people, she will be missed and always remembered.

Irene is survived by family, close friends, teachers and students.

A memorial service will be held 2–5 p.m. Dec. 19 in the Auditorium at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, 17117 West Nine Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075. Envelopes will be available at the memorial service.

Submitted by the family