December 8, 1925 – January 13, 2013
Founder, South Central Texas Region
1994 – 2013
Lynda Handman Chiu, founder and longtime regional coordinator of the South Central Texas region, served the organization devotedly until the time of her passing, in January 2013. She inspired us with her imagination, her passion, and her vast knowledge of Jane Austen’s writing. Lynda admired Austen’s ability to reflect so acutely on the psychology of human emotion and character, and sought to share this with others. She was a constant learner and a motivating teacher.
We are forever grateful to Lynda for taking a chance on starting this region. We are here today because of her.
Lynda’s husband, Charles, has set up a website to her memory:
In Loving Memory of Lynda Chiu
A New Gravestone
On January 28, 2014, a new gravestone was placed. On this occasion, several friends and family were gathered to dedicate the stone. Judith Michaels represented the South Central Texas Region of JASNA and gave the following remarks:
“On the Occasion of Unveiling the stone in the cemetery.
“Lynda Handman Chiu, LHC, along with Jane Austen and the attendees at the first meeting, is the founder of the Jane Austen Society here. What I remember about Lynda’s role is the educational motive of the meetings, the fun of them, and the resourcefulness on her part to enjoy the eighteenth-century authoress Jane Austen in today’s world. Her format for the meetings survives to this day:
a) Reading and discussing a Jane Austen novel at each meeting in March, June, September, and December;
b) Celebrating annual events: the Box Hill Picnic with strawberries in late Spring and Jane Austen’s December birthday luncheon with Regency-inspired foods;
c) Delegating co-leadership of each meeting to alternating members who present a themed paper or an entertaining skit to reveal Jane Austen’s life, era, or characters in greater nuance;
d) Ending the meeting with lightly competitive group quizzes of five questions each, altogether twenty-five questions. Participants in the winning group with the most quiz points compete with each other to draw the highest numbered paper from a basket for the Grand Prize – a Jane Austen-related book or a piece of memorabilia. Participants in the unfortunately, but still brilliant, low-point group compete with each other to draw the lowest numbered paper from a basket for second prize.
“Along with education and entertainment, Lynda’s inspiring personal philosophy is a model for living, it being best to read and learn at every possible moment to balance personal time and social opportunity, to welcome people warmly into the fold – Lynda’s making one feel like a magician’s valuable gem with something precious inside it. For Lynda, Jane Austen’s novels link the past to the present, the generation to generation of readers, parents reading them aloud to children who reread the novels in adulthood, appreciating Jane Austen’s perennial situations in the lives of her characters.
“At the end of this short speech, I wonder about the shared characteristics of Lynda Chiu and Jane Austen – the latter, an anonymously published author (at first), and the former, a teacher who explodes with the sense, sensibility, and humor of eighteenth-century charm. Both women reached the minds of more people than they know; both were formative influences upon people. Both were perceptive psychologists, inquisitive about what makes human beings tick in social situations, and about their society’s links to distant shores. Because of Lynda Handman Chiu’s friendship, insight, and warmth, members of the regional Jane Austen Society have a foundation upon which to celebrate more the English woman’s creative vision.”