In Memory of Jing Lyman - Women's Foundation California
Jing Lyman
Jing Lyman, Lifetime Advisory Council Member, Clayman Institute for
Gender Research

Very early in the morning of November 21, Jing Lyman died peacefully after spending 2 years bed-ridden, all the while completely sharp…reading, watching Stanford football, dispensing advice, asking thoughtful questions.  Jing has been my dear friend and mentor for over 30 years.  She was 88 years old.

I first met Jing while doing a workshop at a Ms. Foundation conference on workforce development for low income women.  As I saw her walk into my workshop I immediately felt intimidated.  Her reputation preceded her—a long time feminist, strong advocate for justice (particularly for women and people of color), a very early activist for fair housing and women’s economic security and the wife of the former Stanford President Dick Lyman.  I wondered how I could possibly do a workshop in her presence.  Jing, as someone who would knit in every possible situation, sat through my workshop knitting one more sweater for someone she loved.  At the end of the workshop she walked up to me and said “that was completely terrific.”   This began over 30 years of conferences, meals and conversations.

Since that first meeting our paths have grown closer.  I moved from Colorado to California where she and Dick had moved after living in NY.  Jing, a long-time supporter of the Women’s Foundation of California, joined our Women of Silicon Valley Donor Circle; I got to know Dick; I frequently took them out to dinner after they were no longer driving (often to a French restaurant because they liked to use their French); they attended Cindy’s and my wedding.

Jing was instrumental in the creation of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford.  Michelle Cale, one of our board members, used to work at the Clayman Institute, and she knew Jing too. Now Lori Nishiura MacKenzie, the Clayman Institute’s current director, will join our board in January.

I last saw Jing a couple of weeks ago.  I walked into her room to find her reading and was immediately greeted with “Well hello Sweetie”.  She was still deeply interested in my work and still thinking about people I should ask for money because they should be giving to the Women’s Foundation of California.  Last Friday I met with a potential supporter for the first time.  As I shared information about the Foundation and we shared some of the details of our lives, I learned that she had already included the Foundation in her will.  Why:  because Jing Lyman told her she should be giving to us.  I had no idea Jing even knew her.

Her life, these experiences, are life’s gifts.

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