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Janet Carol McCaa

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Janet Carol McCaa Obituary
Janet Carol McCaa, 73

CAPE ELIZABETH - Janet Carol McCaa, 73, had a zest for life, people and her work. She died peacefully of cardiac arrest in her sleep on Sunday, June 5, 2016, in Natick, Mass., while attending an Alumnae Association board meeting at Wellesley College. Janet was the daughter of Nelson E. McCaa, killed during World War II, Sarah Jane Brooks McCaa Abraham and Jake Louis Abraham.

Born in Providence, R.I., Janet grew up on various military bases. After earning a B.A. in economics from Wellesley College, she spent a year with her family in Spain. She received a J.D. from Cornell Law School. One of only four women in her law school class, Janet was an early pioneer of women in the law.

For the next 12 years, as an attorney, supervisor, and deputy assistant general counsel for special litigation for the National Labor Relations Board based in Washington, D.C., she litigated and supervised numerous cases in U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeals throughout the United States. On June 7, 1971, en route to appear for the Board in Federal District Court, she was one of three survivors, in a plane crash in New Haven, Conn. For many years she commemorated the date of the plane crash as her re-birthday.

While living in Washington, D.C., she was a member and vestrywoman of St. Mark's Episcopal Church and served as a judge of the Ecclesiastical Court for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. In May of 1975 she, along with other members of the court, heard a case involving the issue of women's ordination to priesthood.

At the age of 38, Janet decided to honor her deepening curiosity about the complex connections between people and money by returning to school. After receiving an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law, she fulfilled her original dream of becoming a "big firm" lawyer by joining the business/tax group at Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn in Washington, D.C., where she spent the next 5 years.

In 1987, Janet returned to her New England roots and moved to Cape Elizabeth, where she loved her community, family, friends and her beautiful home, Reach Haven. She practiced law in Portland at Thompson, McNaboe, Ashley & Bull, as a sole practitioner, and at Curtis Thaxter, where she became a partner. In 2001, with Bruce R. Johnson she formed Johnson & McCaa, where her practice focused on business succession and estate planning, probate and trust administration, tax and business law, tax-exempt organizations and probate litigation.

She had retired this past January, and was winding down her practice at the time of her death.
Owl-like, she combined her legal acumen with her gifts of intuition and foresight to best serve the clients she was advising, her peers and many younger attorneys for whom she was a mentor. She was an invaluable mentor, teacher, colleague and citizen who generously gave her time and wisdom. She will be sorely missed.

An active member of her community, Janet was continually seeking new challenges and organizations she could serve. She was a current board member of the Alumnae Association of Wellesley College and of the Levey Day School and a mentor for the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development. She had also been Western Maine Wellesley Club president and vice-president, planned-giving chair, special gifts chair, mini-reunion chair, and record book chair. She received the Syrena Stackpole Award for her service to Wellesley at her 50th reunion.

She was a founding director of the Portland Society of Architects, a director of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, president of the Cumberland Bar Association, co-chair of the Women's Law Section of the Maine State Bar Association, trustee of the Greater Portland Landmarks, chair of the Cape Elizabeth Planning Board, and member of the Finance Committee of The C. G. Jung Center for Studies in Analytical Psychology.

Whether it was a victory in Wellesley College's hoop-rolling race 52 years ago, or sailing in the British Virgin Islands with Women Who Sail last year, Janet was an avid sportswoman. Her activities and interests also included journaling and creative writing, reading nonfiction (especially biography and memoirs), Tai Chi, Qi Gong, hiking, attending Mark Morris Dance Group concerts, and renovating single-family houses on Meeting House Hill.

Janet loved nothing more than to travel. Driving cross-country was a joy to her, which she continued to do all her life, in each of her sports cars. She visited each of the 50 states. She and a high school friend took a road trip in her Triumph TR3, driving from Washington, D.C., to the Seattle World's Fair, while in college. She lived in the Philippines as a child and in Spain after college. She traveled around the world with a college friend before she was 25.

Janet is survived by her sisters, Penny Abraham and Linda Abraham, of Avondale Estates, Ga.; her brother Jake Louis Abraham Jr., of Horn Lake, Miss.; her nephew, Jake Louis Abraham III, of Avondale Estates, Ga.; her niece, Amanda Abraham Edgar (Patrick) and her great-nephews, Kyle and Cody Edgar, of Canyon Lake, Texas; and a multitude of family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2016, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Cape Elizabeth, followed by a reception in the parish hall.

Memorial donations may be made in Janet's name to
Wellesley College
Development Services
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181,
or
The Levey Day School
400 Deering Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
or
Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development
30 Danforth Street, Suite 216
Portland, ME 04101



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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on June 21, 2016
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