Jane Trigère (aka Hanna) died on Oct. 27, after a long “negotiation” with ovarian cancer.
“She made us promise not to use the words ‘battle with cancer,’ because, as she explained, she has never been trained in combat and warrior skills,” said her husband, Ken Schoen. “With such a metaphor she could only end up a loser, but as a “negotiator,” she thought she might have a chance.”
Trigere was born in the suburbs of New York City in 1948 to Robert Sioma Trigère, the founding partner of a fashion design house begun in 1942 with his sister, the noted fashion designer Pauline Trigere, and Jane Ellis, a professor of English Literature.
Trigere attended the French Lycée of New York and spent two years at Sarah Lawrence College. She graduated from Boston University’s School of Fine & Applied Arts, concentrating in theatre design. She finished three years of studies in architecture, but abandoned that to study leather bookbinding. This she did for many years, founding the Israel Bibliophiles, an organization for the book arts, when she lived in Jerusalem.
Trigère has been many things: a costume and set designer, almost an architect, an art bookbinder, a calligrapher, a cobbler, an eyeglass frame designer, a reporter and editor, a museum director, a teacher, an embroiderer, a painter, a gallerista, and most recently a published author, but she was always an artist.
“Jane believed that every object and every activity was an opportunity to express aesthetic delight,” Schoen said. Before coming to live in South Deerfield in 1994, in the town’s Old Firehouse, she lived in New York, Cambridge, and Jerusalem. She said it was her six years as a member of Kibbutz Kfar Giladi in Northern Israel that prepared her for life in the small village of Deerfield.
Trigere met Ken Schoen in 1991 and moved up to live with him in the Pioneer Valley.
She became the founding director of the Hatikvah Holocaust Education & Resource Center at the Springfield Jewish Community Center in 1997. She was also deeply involved in the creation of the Lander Grinspoon Academy as a founding organizer, a board member for several years and as a chair of the building committee.
Synagogue membership was an important part of her spiritual and community life. She was very active at Congregation B’nai Israel since 1992, and then moved to the Jewish Community of Amherst in 2012.
She went on to study Art & Material Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary and received her master’s in 2005. She had several museum shows in New York and also at her synagogue in Amherst. Her art can be seen at janetrigere.com.
She and Schoen founded the Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts. As a board member of the Deerfield Historical Commission, she was involved in the restorations of cemeteries. In 2014, she created the Deerfield Arts Bank Gallery and enjoyed helping artists get their work into group shows.
Her last project was creating the ad hoc Town Common Committee, to make sure that there was an official body to watch over the aesthetics and development of this historic center of town.
Trigere is survived by her husband, Ken Schoen; her children and stepchildren, Shatay (Matt Curtis) and Rachel Cassia, Seth and Rebecca (Matt Cohen); and her grandchildren, Emmet, Shunie, Skaya and Leah.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cancer Connections (cancerconnection.org); the Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts (jhswm.org); or Brandeis University’s Special Collections earmarked for the Trigère Family Papers.
There will be a memorial event for Jane Trigere at the Jewish Community of Amherst on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m.