Judge Jane Dowling Fender was born in 1946 to Joab Mauldin Dowling (Lawyer) and Katharine Elizabeth Douglas Dowling (Homemaker) in Beaufort, South Carolina. She is the proud sister of the late Joab M. Dowling, Jr.; the late John D. Dowling ; Louisa Dowling Davis (Occupational Counselor, Asheville, NC) and May Dowling Peach (Educational Planner, Columbia, SC). Formerly married to Sherwood N. Fender, Esquire of Beaufort, SC, they are proud parents of Sherwood N. Fender, Jr. (Land Developer and Realtor) and Addison D. Fender (Student at the Charleston School of Law) and even prouder grandparents of a grandson Daniel and a granddaughter Jennifer.
Judge Fender attended the Beaufort county public elementary schools, graduated from Ashley Hall School, Charleston, SC, attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC from 1965-1967, Converse College in Spartanburg, SC from 1967-1968 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Armstrong College, Savannah, Ga. in 1969. She received her diploma from the National Institute for Paralegal Training in Atlanta, Ga. in 1980 and her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina in 1984.
Having finished her educational journey, Judge Fender was admitted into the practice of law in South Carolina in May of 1985. A short nine years later she was elected to the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Family Court bench on May 11, 1994 to fill the unexpired term of Judge Albert L. Kleckley.
Prior to her election to the Family Court bench, Judge Fender gained valuable life experience, first as a science teacher at Beaufort Academy, Beaufort, SC, then as a real estate agent for Diversified Properties, also in Beaufort, SC. She began her legal career first as a paralegal in the Law Offices of Remler and Henderson in Savannah, Ga. and then as a law clerk in the Law Office of Harvey L. Golden in Columbia, SC. She later joined the firm of Nelson, Mullins, Grier & Scarborough in Columbia as a full-fledged attorney; followed by successful associations with Dowling, Sanders, Dukes, Williams, Infinger, Patterson & Meeks and the Dowling Law Firm, both of Beaufort.
Professionally, Judge Fender has been involved with the Family Law Council, House of Delegates, Fee Resolution Board, Council for Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is a member of Beaufort County Bar Association, South Carolina Bar, American Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.
Her community involvement includes St. Helena's Episcopal Church (Board of Episcopal Church Women, Sunday School Teacher, Advisor to Episcopal Young Churchmen, Chairman of the Annual Bazaar, Chairman of the Annual Tours); Volunteer Guardian ad Litem (Richland and Beaufort Counties); Mental Health Association of Beaufort & Jasper Counties (Board Member); Child Abuse Prevention Association (Board Member); Coastal Speech and Hearing Clinic (Board Member and Chairman); Coastal Empire Mental Health (Board Member); Beaufort County Public School Education Foundation (Board Member); Beaufort High School Improvement Committee (Board Member); American Cancer Society, Beaufort Chapter (Board Member); Greater Beaufort County Boys and Girls Club (Board Member); Beaufort County Literacy Council (Board Member).
Judge Fender derives great pleasure from needlework of all sorts. She is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveler, a spirited gardener and an accomplished cook. She also takes great pleasure in entertaining; a pleasure superceded only by her enjoyment of visiting with her grandchildren and granddog Zinnia.