On March 27, 2023, Jane Baltzell Kopp passed away peacefully at rest in her home. Although her body succumbed to the effects of cancer, her immortal spirit still inspires the many people who knew and loved her.
Jane was born on March 13, 1935, in El Paso, Texas, to Virginia Gist Baltzell and Lawrence Alpheus Baltzell. Her mother was a registered nurse. Her father, an electrical engineer. The young couple soon moved to Plainview, Texas, where Jane’s father took a management position with the local electrical utility. Jane’s twin sisters, Julia and Jone, were born in Plainview. In the late 1940s, Jane’s father moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to manage a large electrical utility. There, Jane graduated from high school and went on to graduate from Brown University in Providence. It was in Rhode Island that she met her future husband, Karl Kopp, while both were working as counselors at a summer camp for children.
After college, Jane won a Rhodes Scholarship to Cambridge University in England, where she pursued a passion for English literature. At Cambridge, Jane was friends with the noted poet, Sylvia Plath. Jane’s time at Cambridge was one of the happiest of her life.
After Cambridge, Jane completed a doctoral degree in English literature at the University of California at Berkeley. In the 1960s, she took a teaching position at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Jane reconnected with Karl, and the two were married. They taught together for a time in Athens, Greece. Then they moved together to Ohio, where they both taught at Kenyon College. Their son, Zachary Kopp, was born in Ohio in 1972. The family spent a time living in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and then moved to Albuquerque. Jane went back to teaching at the University of New Mexico, while Karl taught at the University of Albuquerque.
While in Albuquerque, Jane and Karl became part of a spiritual community engaged in esoteric and contemplative spiritual practice, drawing in part on the yogic tradition of India. They decided to pursue a ministry in the Church of Divine Science, rooted in the American tradition of New Thought while open to a wider range of traditions. Their first ministry was with a Divine Science church in St. Louis. Next, they moved to Denver in the 1980s to lead Denver’s Church of Divine Science, home of the Church’s divinity school. They attracted many spiritual seekers.
After Karl’s death, Jane led the church on her own for several years while offering private counseling and courses in meditation and spirituality. Jane then retired from her church position so that she could give her full attention to counseling and teaching. She led the Brooks Center for Spirituality and taught a few formal courses in spiritual psychology at colleges in Denver and in Vermont. Her real focus, though, was on her private group courses on spirituality, which she continued to lead until her final months. During her later years, Jane drew new inspiration from the ancient Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta, which she shared with her students.
Throughout her life, Jane had a keen appreciation for the finest classical music and visual art. She was a poet and an accomplished gardener and cook. She had a gentle wit, a sharp mind, an elegant grace, and a sunny spirit that drew people to her.
Jane’s beloved husband, Karl, died in 2005. Her parents had both died in the 1980s. Her sister Julia died in 2018. She is survived by her son Zachary, her sister Jone, and by many devoted friends and students.
A memorial service will be held on May 7, 2023 at 2:00pm at Althea Center, 1400 Williams St., Denver, CO.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to The Denver Hospice.