Jane Ehrhardt Nordstrom, a wife, mother and longtime English professor who lovingly documented her family’s founding of the small Bamberg County town named for her great-grandfather Conrad, died Jan. 22, 2020 of heart failure. She was 92. Jane’s heart was deeply rooted in her home town of Ehrhardt, SC, as well as her family, and the Ehrhardt Memorial Lutheran Church founded by Conrad. She was baptized in that church January 27th, 1933.
A daughter of Marion Ehrhardt and the former Natalie Kearse, Jane was born on October 15, 1927 in Ehrhardt and grew up in the town where her grandfather ran a saw mill, planing mill, and grist and flour mill, a general store and post office. Her cousin Jake Ehrhardt remembers the two walking to school through the bustling Southern town each morning and afternoon. They would tell stories and laugh about their days as they passed their Grandpa’s old mill and saw the rail lines that took honeydews, cotton and lumber to Bamberg, Walterboro and beyond. They remained close throughout their lives, and Jake named his daughter Jane McCullough after her.
Very young in life, Jane was raised by her “Aunt Ned,” a sophisticated woman from whom she learned precision and polish.
Jane earned her undergraduate degree in English from Newberry College, Newberry, SC with the scholarship her grandfather left her, and went on to receive a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. She went as far away as England to complete her studies.
She taught on the college level from New York City to Gainesville, Florida (University of Florida), as well as Coastal Carolina University, Francis Marion University and military bases in Columbia and Charleston.
Jake remembers some trouble Jane was having teaching a group of unruly and disinterested soldiers at Fort Gordon who flew paper airplanes and were very disruptive in the classroom. Exasperated and having pondered the best way to handle this situation, “She came into the classroom the next morning, took the books, and threw them all into the trash can,” shared Jake. “She told them, ‘Well, I am getting paid the same salary whether you learn or not, and the learning is up to you.’” “One by one, each soldier came up and pulled the books from the trash can and she never had a problem with that class again.” Jane’s career was important to her and was such a highlight of her life. Given her meek upbringing along with a promise she made to herself, Jake said, “she was determined to always do better.” Jane was very humble about her accomplishments.
Jane authored a book on Ehrhardt, SC documenting the town’s founding by Conrad Ehrhardt, a 19th-century German immigrant who arrived in the United States with 25 cents in his pocket. According to lore, Conrad made a promise to God that he would build a sanctuary for people to worship if the Lord would bless his toil in the New World. As a thriving saw mill operator and farmer the Lord did bless the hands of his labor. Conrad founded Ehrhardt Memorial Lutheran Church in 1904.
Jane’s first husband, Hans (Hank) Jacobson Sr., was a European sailor who she met in Charleston. Hank died when they were both young. They shared a son together, Hans (Hanky) Jacobson Jr., who died in a car accident at the young age of 16.
She was married to the late Chuck Minshew for 49 years until his death in 2007. On October 25, 2014 Jane married her best friend and companion Arthur (Art) Nordstrom Jr., who cared for her with love and affection through the end of her life. Art and Jane lived happily in Myrtle Beach.
Besides her parents and Aunt Ned, Jane was preceded in death by two brothers, Marion “Buck” and Conrad Ehrhardt.
A celebration service will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 11:00 am at Ehrhardt Memorial Lutheran Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation can be made to
Ehrhardt Memorial Lutheran Church.
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