Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Jane Wing Petchesky

Honored June, 2010

Jane Wing Petchesky

Conservationist, philanthropist, horsewoman, wife and mother, Jane’s work has changed the lives of Santa Feans for the better.

It is an amazing journey from New York’s fashion world to the wide open spaces of New Mexico, raising horses and environmental awareness, but Jane Petchesky did it—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.

Jane’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 place—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 “the balance of life.” 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 NMLC’s headquarters.

She lives now at El Castillo retirement center, surrounded by furniture made by her late husband Gene, and paintings by family artists—including some of her own landscapes.

In tribute to Jane: “She is my model for aging with class.” “Maybe we can make a difference, was Jane’s rallying cry for so many efforts to improve our lives.” “She focuses on solutions, not problems.”

Story by Barbara Harrelson

Photo © 2010 by Genevieve Russell