By Pat Garber
Jane Rowley, 69, a veterinarian who had served Ocracoke for years, died peacefully in her sleep Oct. 31 in the home where she had retired in Culebra, Puerto Rico, in 2006
Jane was known to many Ocracokers, who took their pets to the old trailer on British Cemetery Road that served as her veterinary clinic. Jane, who loved animals, nature and chess, had a practice and home in Avon, and came to Ocracoke three days a week, regardless of the weather, said her friend Frances Miller, who worked part time for Jane.
“Jane came across in small Coast Guard boats, bucking the wind and waves, determined to keep her clinic open,” Frances said of Jane’s tenacity one time after a hurricane when the roads were closed and there were no ferries running.
Jane, who was a wildlife rehabilitator, also was devoted to serving Ocracats, the island’s feral cat neutering program, offering her services at nominal fees and caring for sick or injured feral cats for free.
Brigetta Cromwell, a cat lover and friend of Jane’s who used to live here, remembers one time when Jane arrived on the island to learn that Brigetta had trapped 28 feral cats for neutering. “There were 20 males and eight females,” Brigetta says. “I thought she would be mad, but she worked non-stop and did them all in two days.”
Island artist Barbara Adams worked for Jane in exchange for veterinary care for Barb’s dogs.
“It was a special time” she reminisces, laughing about how she and Jane loved the old Dr. Who television series.
Jane’s sister, Judy Wilburn, of Bluffton, SC, says that there will be a memorial service in Culebra on Dec. 27.
Donations in Jane’s name can be made to the Humane Society of the U.S, or to Ocracats, P.O Box 993, Ocracoke, NC 27960.