At 100, Western Springs woman raises curtain on life’s next act
Jane Stacy of Western Springs, who just turned 100, looks at a scrapbook with her caregiver Annie Altubar. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Life’s a stage
Name: Jane Burns Stacy
Best known as: 100-year-old Western Springs resident, 68-year member of Theatre of Western Springs
Member of: Congregational Church, Western Springs
founding chapter, Kappa Alpha Theta
Education: English degree, DePauw University, Green Castle, Ind.
Updated: April 15, 2013 6:11AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Some just can’t resist the glamour of the stage.
But it wasn’t the spotlight that attracted a young Jane Stacy to the theater.
“I was interested in Fred Burns, and Fred Burns was interested in theater,” said Stacy, who was introduced to both while a student at DePauw University.
It was the start of two relationships that would last for decades.
Stacy, of Western Springs, went on to marry Burns and to play many roles, both on and behind the stage, at Theatre of Western Springs. Friends, family and fellow theater members gathered to pay tribute to Stacy, who turned 100 years old March 4.
“I wasn’t an inspired actress,” said Stacy, who married Don Stacy after her first husband died and soon made him a part of the local theater, too.
“I was good at costumes,” said Stacy, whose attic once stored the theater’s inventory of female clothing. “That’s what I was good at.”
Over the years she has sewn, altered and repaired costumes for hundreds of Theatre of Western Springs shows, helping to take audiences from modern-day Illinois to countless other times and places. At 100, Stacy still helps out with costumes, and she never misses a show.
“I like to see them all,” said Stacy, who was named an active laureate at the theater in 1994.
Her portrait hangs in the mainstage lobby, above a plaque that reads “We bring to the communities we love the theatre we love.”
Stacy was honored in October with a village proclamation naming renaming the street just west of the theater Jane Burns Stacy Way, in honor of her 100th birthday and her 68 years of service to the theater.
“Jane is a living legacy,” said Bill Hammack, the theater’s managing director.
He said Stacy has much to do with theater’s success.
Still living in the Sears home she and Fred Burns built in the 1940s, Stacy spends time with companion Louis Schauer, one of the many people she introduced to the theater. Schauer has been active since 1957.
With several birthday celebrations planned, there’s no doubt Stacy’s already extensive collection of chocolate has grown in recent weeks. Nearly 50 relatives were expected among the guests at a celebration held at the theater March 2, and her knitting group came to celebrate March 4.
“I have plenty of chocolate,” said Stacy, who shares with everyone who pays a visit.
Like the theater, that’s something of which she can never have too much.