Santa Fe Living Treasures â€“ Elder Stories
Jane Wing Petchesky
Honored June, 2010
Jane Wing Petchesky
Conservationist, philanthropist, horsewoman, wife and mother, Janeâ€™s work has changed the lives of Santa Feans for the better.
It is an amazing journey from New Yorkâ€™s fashion world to the wide open spaces of New Mexico, raising horses and environmental awareness, but Jane Petchesky did itâ€”and more.
Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, Jane was a tomboy who loved sailing, tennis, and hiking. It was an enriched life in a two-career family, as Jane and her siblings shared in dinner parties with distinguished family friends, and spent weekends at the farm. Her parents shared their love of nature with their children.
Janeâ€™s career in the fashion industry began with successful sportswear, then a raincoat line. When a colleague invited her to visit Santa Fe, Jane fell in love with the placeâ€”and with Gene Petchesky, whose family had settled here in 1912.
Gene wooed her in New York and brought his bride back to Santa Fe. Jane worked at the family business, The Guarantee, along with being wife and mother. As their son Steve grew, she began volunteering at Kearny Elementary School, the Maternal and Child Health Center, and the Old Santa Fe Association.
In the mid-1960s the Petcheskys acquired the ranch south of town and moved to escape downtown growth. Gene co-founded the Rodeo de Santa Fe and was active in the American Quarter Horse Association.
As development encroached on their ranch, Jane became concerned about water conservation and preservation of open spaces. She is passionate about the human need for open spaces and vistas as part of â€śthe balance of life.â€ť Her actions now ensure that experience for generations to come.
The greatest evidence of this is the 2009 gift of the Petchesky Ranch to the New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC). After living there for almost 40 years, Jane left her beloved adobe hacienda. Today, the ranch home is the Petchesky Conservation Center, and NMLCâ€™s headquarters.
She lives now at El Castillo retirement center, surrounded by furniture made by her late husband Gene, and paintings by family artistsâ€”including some of her own landscapes.
In tribute to Jane: â€śShe is my model for aging with class.â€ť â€śMaybe we can make a difference, was Janeâ€™s rallying cry for so many efforts to improve our lives.â€ť â€śShe focuses on solutions, not problems.â€ť
Story by Barbara Harrelson
Photo Â© 2010 by Genevieve Russell