I first met Jane Pepper in 2000 when I started volunteering at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships (formerly RCA Tennis Championships). I only saw her once a year for a week, but we clicked right away and each year we picked up right where we left off. She was one of the nicest, funniest, most radiant people I’ve ever met. (One memory that sticks out is of a Saturday Night Live skit we’d both seen that was about Wal Mart greeters. They would talk to each other and would always say, “I knowwwwww!” We would do that while we greeted the tournament attendees in the hospitality area.) Each year I’d look at the volunteer schedule and hope that I had at least one session with Jane. And each year at the end of the tournament I’d make a silent promise to myself that I’d call her up and we’d get together during the remainder of the year. For whatever reasons, I never did.
She was murdered in her Broad Ripple apartment in the fall of 2007. When the 2008 tournament rolled around, it wasn’t the same. We still had fun, but we all missed her presence. The tournament’s last year was 2009. Last summer a core group of volunteers got together and reminisced about the fun we had, and how much we still missed Jane. A couple of the women had known her since college.
Several weeks ago I read that her killer was sentenced to 88 years. I’m thankful they caught him and he’s being punished; although who knows how long he’ll really serve.