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Obituary: Emma Jane "Janie" Tolson, Columbus

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Emma Jane "Janie" Tolson, 71, of Columbus, Indiana, died Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana Inpatient Facility in Columbus, Indiana. Ms. Tolson was born at Vincennes, Indiana, on June 2, 1943, to George Richard and Alice Moore Tolson. Janie was a graduate of Vincennes Lincoln High School, Vincennes University and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where in 1965 she earned a B.S. degree in Business with a major in accounting.

Before retirement, Janie served as Head of all Funds Accounting for Washington University, providing oversight of all research grants to the University, including those to scientists and medical researchers at Washington University and the Barnes Hospital complex. The National Institute of Health (NIH) awarded her national recognition in the late 1980s at a banquet in Washington, D.C., for the most accurate accounting of research grants among all institutions funded by NIH in the nation; no small task, indeed!

Janie was a member of Phi Mu sorority, the Association of Women Accountants in St Louis, Missouri, and the Webster Groves Christian Church, where she served as a Sunday School and Bible School teacher, Deacon and Elder, as well as an officer and worker in the Christian Women’s Fellowship. For many years, she provided wonderful themed, hand-crafted, table decorations for the banquets at the church. She enjoyed utilizing her artistic talents to brighten the tables and spirits of those attending such events.

Janie’s priority was family and she never wavered in her commitment to her parents and siblings. She took pleasure in being a part of the lives of her 10 nieces and nephews and their families, attending as many birthdays, graduations, weddings, theater productions, and sporting events as possible.

From a very early age, Janie had a strong sense of style and throughout her life she was well known for impeccable taste and her attention to detail. Fostered by listening to St. Louis Cardinals Baseball games on the radio with her father, Janie became an avid sports fan. Baseball, football, hockey, and golf were always on the television when she was not taking advantage of season tickets. She never missed the Olympics (winter and summer). Her other interests included theater, popular music, politics, and in later years, gardening.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, George, and sister-in-law, Jackie Tolson; her sister, Ruth Ann, and brother-in-law Robert Burnett Sr.; her brother Chuck, with whom she lived for most of her life; and a great-nephew, Luke Paul Tolson Neuhedel.

She is survived by her sister, Mary Alice Tolson Springer, and her husband Tom, of Henderson, Kentucky, as well as by her beloved nephews and nieces: John (Debbie) Burnett, Robert (Vicki) Burnett, David (Kathy) Burnett, Mary Jane (Tim) Pratt, Lisa (Joe) Harpring and Kay (David) Scott, all of whom contributed to her care; Becky Tolson (Paul) Neuhedel of Garden City, New York; Jenny Tolson of Seattle, Washington; Tom (Russella) Springer III of Madisonville, Kentucky, and Matthew Springer of Jeffersonville, Indiana. In addition, she leaves behind 24 great-nieces and nephews, three great-great-nephews and one great-great-niece.

A Celebration of Life for Jane Tolson will take place at 11:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, July 26, 2014, at First Christian Church at Fourth and Broadway streets in Vincennes, Indiana, Janie’s home church. Inurnment will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Vincennes.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of South Central Indiana, 2626 East 17th Street, Columbus, IN 47201, or to the Luke Neuhedel Foundation (, P.O. Box 137, Massapequa Park, NY, 11762.

Online condolences may be sent to Ms. Tolson’s family at

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Myers-Reed Chapel in Columbus, Indiana.

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