A celebration of the life of Jama Lynn Sebald, who died Nov. 29, 2018, of complications from cancer, will be held Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. in the 1912 Center in Moscow. Small in stature, she led a huge life helping thousands of University of Idaho students obtain their academic degrees in a 32-year career as a Financial Aid Advisor. She was 69.
Born on Jan. 16, 1949, she was the only child of James and Betty Sebald of Middletown, Ohio. She attended parochial schools and prior to attending Ohio University where she earned her BA degree before going to the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley, where she earned her MA and Educational Specialist degree.
She began her career at the University of Idaho in 1976 as a Student Financial Aid Advisor counseling UI about their financial aid and scholarships so they could afford to attend college. Without Jama’s caring help, many students would never have been able to obtain their goal of a UI degree and might otherwise have left school.
Jama had a distinguished professional career. She worked with faculty and staff members throughout campus coordinating the Work Study Program.
Her professional activities included serving as President of the University of Idaho Retirees Association and the local branch of the American Association of University Women, and Athena. as well as the Idaho Association of Financial Aid Administrators from eight Western states. She was awarded the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award this year. In 2012 she received the Women’s Center Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Award for commitment to activism for gender justice; the Staff/Faculty Person of the Year (2008); and the Outstanding Young Woman of America Award (1978).
Jama was a member of the UI Caucus that advocated for equal rights for women on campus, which led to the Women’s Center’s recognition “in perpetuity” at the University of Idaho. One of her fondest memories was working on the 40th Anniversary celebration for the Women’s Center that brought Gloria Steinem to the campus.
Jama’s life partner since 1984 has been Jane Pritchett. They traveled extensively, including a walking tour of New York, Australia, Alaska, Greece, Austria, and the Caribbean, trips with Idaho Road Runners to Mount Rushmore, Oregon, Wyoming, and Seattle. Jama photographed the adventures.
She was an avid follower of women’s basketball, especially the Tennessee Volunteers, the Vandals, and the Zags. Jama was a friend of Bill W.’s for 33 years and was one of the founders of the Moscow Women’s AA meeting.
Memorial donations are suggested to the University of Idaho, the UI Women’s Center, or the UIRA Scholarship Fund.