Jane Hill Midkiff Polk
Saturday 2nd of May 1931 - Tuesday 1st of January 2019
Celebration of Life
Milward - Man O'War
1509 Trent Blvd., Lexington, KY
Jane Hill Midkiff Polk, 87, of Lexington, passed away on January 01, 2019 at Signature Health Care at Tanbark after a long illness. She was born in Richmond, VA on May 2, 1931, daughter of the late Dr. Samuel Smythe Hill, Sr and Mary Latta Brown Hill. She is survived by her spouse, L. Reed Polk, Jr., and two children, Dan B. Midkiff, III of Frankfort and Mary Dike Midkiff of Lexington. She is also survived by her brother, Dr. Samuel Smythe Hill Jr., his spouse, Helen, niece Sarah Hill and nephew Charles Hill, cousins Tim Hill, Liz Hill Sanio, Jackie and David Clay. Jane was a graduate of Garth High School and Georgetown College, and a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority. She did her graduate studies and received her teaching certificate from Florida State University and the University of Kentucky in Speech Therapy. She taught at numerous schools throughout Woodford County bringing awareness of speech, hearing and learning issues to the school board, faculty and parents helping them better understand what their children were going through and what they needed to succeed.
She was also a long-standing member of the Lexington Junior League. Along with Eddie and James Frankel she founded and implemented a school program for the deaf in 1961. She was the first Executive Director of the Lexington Deaf Oral School later to become the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center. She made sure that the school was based on teaching deaf children to speak and sign rather than use sign language only. She was a pioneer to bring this approach to deaf education in the 1960s and had the support of the school’s board members to move forward in preparing children to communicate in public schools. Her leadership and enthusiasm continue to be recognized in the hearing and speech community today.
Jane was a member and supporter of The Kentucky Commission on Women, United Way, Planned Parenthood of Lexington and the New Opportunity School for Women.
After her retirement from the Hearing and Speech Center, Jane joined the faculty of the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) in Berea. There she taught Self-image and Self-empowerment classes to women from Appalachia seeking assistance and support. Many women were touched by her compassion, wisdom and indominable spirit.
She received numerous awards of recognition for her contributions to humanity and serving those who need support and uplifting education to experience a good life.
The family is especially grateful to the community of Calvary Baptist Church and to Mary Green who steadfastly cared for her. In lieu of flowers please send contributions in memory of Jane Midkiff Polk to either the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center, 350 Henry Clay Blvd., Lexington, KY 40502 or the New Opportunity School for Women, PO Box 273, Berea, KY 40403.
A Celebration of Life event will be held on Sunday, January 20th from 2:30-5:30 p.m. at Milward - Man O’ War located at 1509 Trent Blvd, Lexington for friends and associates.
I shall always remember my classmate with fondness my condolences to all the family
Jane Polk was a shining star, enthuastic, passionate about her causes and driven. Jimmy and Eddie Frankel founded the Lexington Deaf Oral School and Jane kept it going. She believed in the mission and wanted others to know about our school, its teachings and its needs. Jane gave a talk to the Lexington Lions Club and talked about our little school. She had a powerful message and we needed money to make payroll and keep the lights on. Harry Glass was a member of the Lions Club and heard her speak. He went home and told his wife, Maggie, about our school. Maggie Glass ran Calumet Farm and she relayed the message to Mrs. Markey, the owner of Calumet. Shortly thereafter, we received a one million dollar gift from Mrs. Markey. Jane called me one day and asked me to go with her to visit the lady who owned a vacant lot next door. We needed to grow and Jane talked about the children and our needs. The end result, the lady gave us the vacant lot and she also gave us her house on the other side of the lot. We have lost a dear friend to many. My prayers are with Reed and the family. Bill Robbins
Reed I am sorry for your loss ,and the list for our community.
Sanford Archer, MDsays
Reed, so sorry for your loss! Jane was an amazing lady & a wonderful person. We will remember her fondly & grieve for your loss!
Dear Mary and Dan, my Mother so loved and admired your Mother for the guts she had in advocating for the deaf. I was so glad to get to know after I retuned to Ky on the 1990s as she continued her upbeat advocacy with Midway College. And also meeting you all. Hope our paths will cross again as we honor these active women with our own works. Blessings to you. Helen Roach Rentch
Mrs Polk was an amazing lady who was an inspiration to so many people her love and enthusiasm were contagious she was my empowerment instructor at New opportunity school and what gift from God she was we were so blessed to have had her there. She embraced life and took you along the journey of self discovery and finding the best in yourself and having a voice. She was my favorite part of the program and looked forward to seeing her smile while in the program she was very dedicated to making everyone feel loved and included. She will be so missed and regretfully the new generation of the New opportunity school will not get the chance to have known this beautiful soul and benefit from her teachings much love sent to her and loving prayers sent her from her family.