By Christy Womack, Sarah Coffee Burks and Her Many Friends

Jane Hardy Meredith passed away on Thursday, January 4, 2024 in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband of 40 years Tom Meredith at her side. Jane had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Jane lived a vibrant life that was passionate, intentional and filled with love, kindness and grace. Jane was well known and loved and highly successful in every aspect of her life. She was always known for her beauty, loyalty and for standing up for everything she believed.

She was born on May 29, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to parents Lyman C. Hardy and Evelyn Viola Wurm Hardy. Both preceded her in death, but their love and guidance shaped her into the remarkable person she was. She grew up in Tuscaloosa with her three brothers, Glenn, Mike and Lyman. She graduated from the University of Alabama, where she studied abroad and ventured across Europe. While overseas as a young student, Jane supplemented her income as a ski instructor and a model.

In her travels, she and Tom met in Greece and were married only days later. A proper Episcopal wedding was held a year later in Tuscaloosa.

Through the gift of her first pony from her father, Jane discovered her love for horses and riding. As a young woman, her father introduced her to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, where she brilliantly showed Tennessee Walking Horses and pursued that with all the love and passion that was synonymous with Jane.

Her passion drove her to become one of the most exquisite riders ever in the Walking Horse show ring. Jane backed a lot of winners, as an owner and a rider, including multiple World Grand Champions. Also dedicated to the proper breeding, she proudly raised three amazing mares – Exclusive Choice (World Champion), A Beautiful Choice (two-time World Champion), and Cash Is My Choice (multi-time Reserve World Champion).

After her time in the ring, she dedicated years of service to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) and was instrumental in the Academy program for young riders to learn more about horsemanship.

Just as great as Jane’s love for the Tennessee Walking Horse was her love for the people in the industry. She has countless friends who were shocked and saddened by her death and many of them have contributed their memories of her to this story.

“I cannot remember meeting Jane. I always knew her as this glamorous, smart, outgoing girl that I looked up to. She was Sarah Coffee’s friend when Sarah was the Editor of Walking Horse Report and my personal hero, which made Jane all the more glamorous. I even have pictures of Jane working in the summer at the Report,” says Christy Howard Womack.

“It wasn’t until I came to work at the Report in 1992, that I got to really know her personally and work with her professionally. I was drawn to her intellect, her self-confidence, her strong opinions and her intense
desire to make a difference.”

Sarah Coffee Burks adds, “I used to think that when a loved one passes the relationship was over. But it’s not. It is simply different. Instead of visits and phone calls, I have memories and stories of Jane. And like everyone who knew her, all of them are great ones.

“Jane was the epitome of love. She and her husband Tom had 40 years together and they shared their enormous love and joy with everyone whose paths they crossed. They traveled extensively and loved having
their friends accompany them. One of the best times I ever had was when Christy Womack, my late husband Albert, and I accompanied Tom and Jane to Greece to renew their wedding vows on their 25th anniversary.”

Christy adds, “Jane was so worldly! When I told her I had never been to Italy, she immediately set out planning a trip for us. She taught me so much about travel, about art history, but more importantly about living. She insisted we both remove our wrist watches. She said we would eat when we were hungry and sleep when we were tired. And then she showed me how to truly enjoy every minute of every day – everything was an adventure.No detail was too small to appreciate. It was my own personal Eat Pray Love trip.

“After that, we were super close and we shared all kinds of intimate parts of our lives. Our struggles and our triumphs. Our fears and our dreams. Our faith and even sometimes our doubts. She was the most intelligent, empathetic, intuitive person I’ve ever known.

“We went on lots more trips after that. But my favorite trip with Jane was when Sarah and Albert and I went with Tom and Jane back to Greece to renew their wedding vows on their 25th anniversary. I was so honored to be there and the love between Tom and Jane inspired me in ways I will never forget.”

Sarah remembers “Jane was so proud to be part of the Hardy family and was as fi erce in her love and passion for her family as anyone you could imagine. There was a certain standard she held herself to and Jane never failed to meet or exceed it.

“No matter how long you knew Jane, whether it was a short time or forever, you didn’t feel like you were one of her many friends - she made you feel like you were her best friend. Everything she did, was honest, wholehearted, with courage and guidance from God.”

Sarah’s early memories of Jane are from the Walking Horse industry. “Jane and I grew up showing Tennessee Walking Horses in Alabama in our teens, and we were bonded from the very beginning. One time she asked me to show her horse at the old Tuscaloosa Riding Club show because she had just had surgery.

“The next morning when we awoke, we glanced out the bedroom window and thought we were having twin hallucinations. A huge yard full of horses and ponies had materialized seemingly from nowhere. Everything about Jane was magical and miraculous, but these guys had actually escaped from someone’s pasture miles and miles away. Just like all of us, they were simply drawn to Jane.”

“I too was drawn to Jane,” says Christy. “She was always my mentor. She taught me so much. To work hard. To love God. To say what I think. To tell people I love them. To be a true friend. To be a fighter.”

Jane’s impact on Sarah was profound. “There is no part of my life that Jane did not influence greatly. I was ruled by drugs and alcohol for more than 20 years, but Jane always loved me, even when I absolutely hated myself. In the late 1990’s, after I had pretty much dropped off the radar for everyone but Jane for years, and hadn’t answered any of Jane‘s phone calls in months, Jane made a trip to the northern neck of Virginia, just to assure herself that I was still alive.

“When I decided to finally end my first marriage, do a geographical change from middle Tennessee to Miami, and most importantly, try sobriety, Jane was the first person I told. She definitely was the happiest. She called me a couple nights later, asking when I was moving. She could tell I was procrastinating, and said ‘Sarah, if you don’t leave now, you are going to die. Even if you’re not afraid of that, you need to know that it scares me out of my mind. I know you think you need to make arrangements to take all your cats and dogs (total 18) with you, but doing nothing, not attempting to move forward, like you already have done for so many years, is going to kill you.’”

“She got my attention. A week later I left Estill Springs, Tennessee, for Miami and that very day was my sober date. Jane encouraged me relentlessly, and a year later came to Miami to give me a one-year sobriety medallion.

“Jane was such a powerful channel for God that by His - and her - grace and love, March 19, 2024, will be 20
years of sobriety for me. Grateful is nowhere big enough a word. When God spoke to me through Jane that day, the haze I’d lived in for years finally began to lift.”

Jane’s impact would extend to her other spheres of influence in her life. Jane’s love of animals extended to raising and Schutzhund training of German Shepherds, including her precious Java and Bella. She was a founding member of the Schutzhund Club Copper Creek DVG at Wolfbrook Dog Club, where she and Tom made lifelong friends.

In her professional career, Jane’s leadership in the skincare industry was instrumental in the worldwide growth and distribution of major brandings including Perricone, Murad and Unilever. Her love of people fostered countless friendships across the industry. She felt a calling to mentor both men and women to strive for excellence in both their professional and personal lives and many of them attended her memorial service from all across the country.

Throughout her life, Jane found deep solace and spiritual fulfi llment with her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She and Tom attended many churches over the years and visited many throughout their global travels. They were faithful members of Restoration Church where they felt the love of Jesus through so many friendships.

Sarah knew where Jane’s light initiated. “From the very start of our friendship, I always thought Jane was the coolest person in the world. It took me a long time to understand what set her apart from everyone else. The answer – her answer – was always God. And she always did his work so very, very well. Jane will never be far away from anyone who loved her because she’s going to live forever in our hearts.

Christy agreed, “When Jane knew things weren’t going to be alright, I reminded her of how much I loved her and how much I had always felt her love. I reminded her of all the things she had taught me, and I told her that I knew she would teach me how to do this final chapter too – with grace and love and trust in God.

Jane told me a million times that her grandmother had taught her that heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Jane was nothing if not prepared.”

Jane leaves behind the love of her life and adoring husband of 40 years of marriage, Thomas T. Meredith, who stood by her side throughout their adventures and journey in this life together.

She also leaves a legacy of cherished memories for her family; brother Lyman and his daughter Taylor Hardy; brother Glen, his wife Maria and their children Charles, James and Emily Hardy; brother Michael, his wife Chastity and their children Evelyn, Ainsley and Caroline Hardy, as well as so many precious friends across the country that she considered her extended family.

A memorial service to honor Jane’s life was held February 3 in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Friends have established the Jane Hardy Meredith Perpetual Memorial Trophy to be presented for the first time Friday night, August 30, at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. It will be awarded each year to the Two-Year-Old Mare World Grand Champion.

Tom has also established the Jane Hardy Meredith Scholarship fund in Jane’s memory in association with TWHBEA Foundation. This undergraduate scholarship will provide financial assistance to youths of the
TWHBEA who are interest in working on an undergraduate degree in any STEM field.

If you would like to honor her legacy, provide educational opportunities for aspiring individuals in the industry and ensure that her passion and love of horses continues to inspire for years to come, please send your
donation to the following address, noting your donation is for the scholarship in memory of Jane. For more information about the scholarship, contact Chairman Walt Chism at [email protected].

Jane Hardy Meredith Scholarship Fund
c/o TWHBEA Foundation
PO Box 28
Lewisburg, TN. 37901

Jane will be forever remembered as a loving wife, devoted sister and treasured friend. Her gentle spirit and unwavering kindness touched the lives of all who knew her. May her soul rest in eternal peace and her memory be a source of comfort and inspiration to us all.



I have been blessed that my love for the Tennessee Walking Horse has given me so many lifetime friends. Us Alabama Walking Horse kids saw each other every Saturday from March till November and then at a lot of times at other functions throughout the year. We were competitive, but we were as close as if we were kin. One of that group was Jane Hardy.

She was one of the Tuscaloosa kids and Tuscaloosa truly gave us a talented group of young equestrians. Some of my fondest memories of Jane were watching and competing against her on her great mare Major’s Mary Poppins. Her saddleseat was flawless and Preach and Joe Fleming always had her ride ready.

As time went on, I found a different path away from the show ring and stayed away for two and a half decades. When I got drawn back by the love I had for those old horses, my family and I traveled to Perry, Georgia, to the Southern Championship Charity Horse Show and my girls had been asked to be ribbon girls. The show was going along and I looked out to center ring. I saw this beautiful lady talking to my daughters
and all of a sudden, my daughter turned and pointed at me. The lady stood up, looked straight at me and opened her arms and I saw it was Jane.

The next day she came out to the barn and brought another friend that I hadn’t seen in all those years and we had a wonderful reunion. That’s been almost 20 years ago now and Jane and I saw each other many times since then and we always had good old-time stories to tell. She was always so positive and complimentary and made me look forward to seeing her.

Jane left us to be with her Savior and I as well as so many others that were lucky enough to have known herare heartbroken at the news of her passing, but I know my life was made better by knowing this sweet girl, Jane Hardy Meredith. Please pray for her family and friends.


Jane helped me through the death of my mother many years ago. At that time, we knew each other in passing, but she made the effort to reach to me and became a beloved friend. We had many conversations in person, phone calls and emails. At the time it had been about nine years since her father had passed.

Besides counseling me, she sent me books on grief and cards marking special occasions like Mother’s Day and other holidays to let me know she knew it was hard and she was thinking of me. She was always available to listen to me.

Jane was one of the kindest and best people I’ve ever known. I remember once we were talking about being kind to people. She said to me, “You might be the only way that person ever sees Jesus - through you.”

I saw Jesus in Jane over and over through her kindness and love for people and the way she forgave. When I learned she had passed, I listened to a voicemail she left me in July of 2020 I had saved. She told me she was calling people she cared about instead of talking on Facebook. She told me she loved me. I sure loved her and I am beyond sad she is no longer in this world.


Jane Hardy Meredith was the best friend in the world. Jane was the epitome of perfection showing her horses, such gracefulness and beauty.

We had so many great times together - horses, horse shows, dogs, Atlanta botanical garden, decorating, driving to south Georgia, lunches, skincare, great advice. She always had time for her friends, she was just a true friend.

Jane was always doing for others, rescuing dogs, helping her friends. Jane never missed a birthday. I received a card on my birthday in December.

Jane was so strong and fought so hard. Jane was the best friend ever and the world was a better place with her in it. I will miss her forever.

Fly high my beautiful friend. I know God wrapped his arms around her when she flew into his kingdom.


Editor’s Note: The impact that Jane had on the lives of others has been beautifully and lovingly described by so many friends. One friend of over 45 years attributes what led to opening the door wide to his future to Jane’s strength and influence.

James Corbitt said, “When Jane found out I didn’t plan to go to college, she convinced me that I had to go.” Two years later, right before graduation, she asked if he had earned his diploma.

He told her no, that he had not written a paper that had been assigned at the beginning of the final semester for one of his classes. It comprised the major portion of the grade and he was going to have an incomplete.

That was not about to happen to a friend of Jane’s. She spent the entire night at the library, then knocked on Corbitt’s door, and handed him the paper she’d written the next morning. She said turn it in immediately.

He did exactly that and he did graduate. Having that degree was the deciding factor that earned him the job that led to the near 40-year career from which he recently as retired. Corbett describes his life as better than any dream come true – he’s been married for almost 40 years to the love of his life and they have two children and two grandchildren.


In the show ring, Jane’s posture and attire were nothing short of perfect and elegant! She was groomed very neatly, her show attire was elegant, and that was even before the trend for riders to dress perfectly. She was definitely the trendsetter! Jane was very open and honest with her opinions. Anyone that knew her quickly understood that she loved the University of Alabama football and she loved the Republican political party. She was quick to make you understand her feelings and their basis. I do know that when a person is “absent from their body, they are present with the Lord,” and Jane Hardy Meredith is definitely with our Lord. Jane did not even have to stop at the entrance of the pearly gates. I can only imagine that Jane is wrapped in the arms of her two beloved fathers, Elsie, Hardy and The Father of us all!


I worked with Jane at two (skincare) companies through the years. Her positive energy together with putting others before self is why I gravitated towards her and looked up to her. My last call with her was before Christmas. For the last few years she had been mailing presents to my children both for their birthdays and for Christmas. She was calling me to apologize for not wrapping my kids’ gifts properly. I couldn’t believe she even thought of getting my kids gifts with what she was dealing with. That's the kind of person she was, one of a kind.


Jane was a close friend and we consulted each other on many issues. Her motive was never personal and she always was focused on the best interest of the Tennessee Walking Horse in all of its parts. She didn’t get sidetracked and operated at the highest level.

When she was developing her position and thoughts on issues, she consulted many people to expand her knowledge prior to committing to a course of action. Once she committed, she was all in and something was going to happen. She was a warrior.

She went to great lengths to protect/help her friends and the friend didn’t have to ask or know. Because of her family’s involvement in the health care industry, LaRocca Nursing Home in Tuscaloosa, she was knowledgeable in proper medical care and would advocate for a friend in need that wasn’t receiving a level of care she thought appropriate. On at least one occasion, she probably extended the friend’s life for several years.

At TWHBEA, she was engaged, and a strong advocated for the Academy program for children, and it was a very successful program as long as she served on the Executive Committee.

She set an example in exhibiting horses, when she exited the ring, always a big smile and never a complaint. The Tennessee Walking Horse has lost a dedicated friend.


This is difficult to write. I know Jane will continue in our memory but this seems so final to be writing about her.

I met Jane at the Orlando horse show in 1978. Through a series of events that could only be understood by horse show people, we ended up with a group in the parking lot of the show hotel after too much late night partying. For some reason, totally unrelated to us, some idiot produced a firearm. Jane later claimed that I saved her life. My memory is that I just grabbed her and ran like Hell. We remained friends.

In the late 1990s, my wife Kelly became ill with cancer. Our daughter Cecelia was 10 years old when Kelly passed away. Jane was wonderful with Cecelia after her mother died. She helped her with her hair and makeup at horse shows and was a female role model to a little girl in need.

During the summers, Cecelia would fly to Atlanta and spend one or two weeks with Jane and Tom. I had it arranged that if something were to happen to me, that Cecelia would live with Jane and Tom. Cecelia and I feel as if we’ve lost a piece of ourselves. Everyone felt that they were a special friend to Jane. In truth, we all were. She had the uncanny, God given ability to make everyone feel as if they were the most important person in the world to her. We were so blessed to have her in our lives.


When I first met Jane in 1984, she was showing a big bay mare that Ronnie Spears trained, Sheer Ebony. I had Pride’s Contract with Billy and Tim Gray at that time. She always met you with a smile, that was so warm and beautiful. She was a classic example of beauty, style and grace! One of my fond memories was in Perry, Georgia. She and James Sigmon were judges of The Best Decorated Barn Contest. They invited me to hang out with them that day, and even asked my opinion on some barns. That afternoon along with 15 other friends, we went to a plantation for lunch and entertainment by the one and only Sammy Day. Grace, style, beauty and excellent equestrian are the words I would describe Jane Hardy Meredith. I loved her and will miss her with fond memories. 


Editor’s Note: Longtime TWH breeder and exhibitor Anke Longest of Irvington, Virginia, says she always admired Jane tremendously.

“Jane was strong, fearless and always voiced her opinions even if they weren’t always popular,” Anke said. The two of them were dedicated to our breed and worked tirelessly on projects at TWHBEA. Anke particularly remembers Jane’s leadership in the Academy program to promote young riders’ horsemanship.

She recalls Jane’s elegant and beautiful appearance in the showring. She was always a textbook example of presenting her mount to the best advantage. “

Jane was very competitive in all aspects of life and anything she did, she did very well.”

The two women were best of friends inside and outside of the horse world, and always stayed in touch with each other as well as visiting often. “

We shared political views, a passion for tennis and a very strong love for German Shepherd dogs. And if any of her friends ever needed her, Jane would always be there for them.”


About Jane, undoubtedly plenty of people will be singing her praises in this article. So, I will try to give something different. A few quick antidotes to counteract the tears.

Jane knew three generations of my family, I being the third. No matter my age she would always say “they all
finally got it right with you.” This would be in good fun with her sweet laugh and Georgia southern drawl coming out.

When I was little, I was convinced Jane was a supermodel! She traveled the world, had a beautiful smile, wore beautiful clothes and jewelry, ate at fancy restaurants, had beautiful horses and had all the makings of
a supermodel. Jane sat a few rows in front of us at the Celebration and my little girl heart leapt when “Friend Jane” was there. She was, after all, a supermodel.

It’s Jane’s love of traveling that brings me to this story and cherished memory of her. Jane stopped by our box at the Celebration and was telling us of a trip she, Tom and some other friends had been on recently. A beautiful trip to Greece and the Aegean Sea. My father, John, misheard her and their hilarious exchange is as follows:

“Jane, you went all the way to Greece to go to a GNC.”

“No, the AEGEAN SEA.”

Their exchange went back and forth, both laughing wholeheartedly, like only dearest friends do. I finally chimed in to the exchange. “Dad, I think she means a sea like a tiny ocean. It is in Greece.” Jane with her quick wit quipped something back but I can’t remember what…just the laughter. I can and always will still hear her laughter.


“Jane was always a very solid individual. She packed so much life into the all too short time she had,” said longtime friend Jerrold Pedigo. “Her passing leaves a hole in all our lives – she did so much for everyone and for everything she was involved in.”

Pedigo said he got to know Jane in the 1990s when they each began serving on the TWHBEA board. He went on to describe her as sincere about every cause with which she was involved. “Jane was always completely loyal to her beliefs. She was fully committed to TWHBEA and to our industry. She cherished her horses and the friendships they gave her. “Jane stood behind her opinions and never backed down, and everything she did, she handled like the lady she was.”

Speaking of Jane and Tom Meredith and their four decade marriage, Jerrold said, “I know Tom had very little interest in horses but that he loved it because Jane did. I always admired how much they loved each other, as well as Tom’s understanding of and patience for Jane’s passions. Their love was tremendous.”


“Jane was part of our family – Irene, Nikki and I all felt that way from the very beginning of our relationship with the Hardy family,” said Ronnie Spears. Irene was in Jane’s wedding to Tom and when Nikki went to medical school at University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, she was blessed with a very special bonus family in the Hardys. Ronnie trained horses for the Hardy family for years high in the double digits. Jane and her father LC were wonderful customers, and even more wonderful friends, according to Spears.

The first Hardy owned horse at Spears’ barn was Jane’s amateur stallion RWC Worthy Delight. Upon his passing, Ronnie sold Mr. Hardy a big bay may name Sheer Ebony that was great, but very challenging. Jane got along with her perfectly and the very first time she showed Sheer Ebony, they won the open amateur class at Tullahoma, defeating many times WGC Hill’s Perfection.

Following in the hoofbeats of Eldorado’s April Dream, Majors Mary Poppins and Sheer Ebony, Jane’s tradition of great mares continued. Sheer Ebony was eventually bred to Prides Choice Cut and a beautiful bay filly was the result of this union.

Spears said the filly got off to a slow start but Jane and her Dad left decisions in his hands. The result was the Hardy family’s first Celebration blue ribbon winner, and twice RWC Exclusive Choice. Jane won many
important shows with Exclusive Choice, including the Spring Fun Show and Baton Rouge.

Ronnie said Jane wanted to raise another champion and indeed she did. This was the spectacular black daughter of Exclusive Choice, A Beautiful Choice. Spears continued, “Jane won two world championships on ABC under the guidance of Edwards and Sons Stables.

He recalls another fabulous mare Jane raised, Cash Is My Choice. By WGC Coin’s Hard Cash, and out of Exclusive Choice, this protege won the Futurity under Dick Peebles. Completing the roll call of Jane’s outstanding seeds was the powerful stallion Hard Mountain Cash. She was 2005 Owner/Amateur RWGC
under the Edwards’ guidance.

Jane was so beautiful that she was like a supermodel on a horse. Ronnie said she was an excellent rider, and always anticipated the instructions that he and other trainers were about to give her. “Jane was so much fun also.” She stayed with the Spears quite often and was always a source of good times. Ronnie recalls a Sunday afternoon pool party at his home with Jane, the Bennett family and the Hawkersmiths.

Two of the young boys had fun doing aqua pole vaulting using the long handled pool cleaning pole. However a few days later it turned out that everywhere the pole had been ended up cutting the pool lining.

Of course Jane insisted on helping Ronnie fix the holes with underwater patches, and the only way to do that for him to force Jane underwater and hold her down. “Irene and I thought Jane was going to drown, but she was always so determined. The holes were fixed and there was never any problem with the pool.”

He said, “Jane was a sweet, loving, caring person, and will always have a special place in our family’s hearts. She was almost too good to be true, but she was true in every way to all her beliefs and her friends and family.”


Sweet Jane was my dearest friend, my sister. Mom and I know her heavenly reunion is great! Selfishly we grieve her passing. Our hearts are broken.

For over 40 plus years, Jane has been not only my dearest friend and sister, but also beloved daughter for my parents. Jane and Tom are our family forever.

Please pray for dear Tom. Jane loved her dear husband with all her heart.

Jane was one of the strongest people I have ever known. She fought her cancer as a brave warrior, as she attacked everything in life. Jane loved Jesus, her savior; her dear family and friends, all her dear animals, Greece and above all, Tom.

Jane was the most accomplished, fabulous, generous, giving, beautiful – inside and out – the best friend a person could ever have.

I am so thankful Jane is out of pain. Healed in Heaven. Thank you Jesus. We will see sweet Jane again. I love you Jane!


Though most organizations may boast a shining star, the Walking Horse industry had a brightest by far.
For grace, beauty, talent and love for all, Jane Hardy Meredith was one who stood tall.
Engraved in our memory is her beautiful face, In our hearts no one will ever take her place.

-Jeanine Gullett
On behalf of herself, her daughter Tish and her granddaughter Kari Tisma.