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Super Jane

It's a rainy day at the farmette. About four degrees Celsius and the snow is melting before our very eyes.

It was International Women's Day the other day, and to celebrate, I'm going to tell you about an extraordinary woman who yesterday received a well-deserved award from the industry she has worked in, supported and loved for nigh on to fifty years.

I'm so proud to call Jane Grose Still my friend. She's funny, whip-smart, hard-working and a joy to be around. She and her husband Dana also live alllllll the way across the country in Parksville on Vancouver Island.

I met Jane through Rob, who has been her pal since they were in public school in Oshawa. Given that they're both in their seventies, it's a friendship that has truly endured - and I'm so fortunate to share in it.

The photo above is pretty early on, and one of the first of many summers we spent at her family cottage on Sturgeon Lake in eastern Ontario. Many, many good memories of hanging out with the Stills, friends and doggoes. Look at how svelte we all were!!!!

For many, many years, Jane and Dana lived in North Vancouver, where Rob and I would visit to get an early shot of spring and enjoy the company of our dear friends.

Jane worked as a costume designer in theatre and on television series, films and commercials. Her creativity, attention to detail and unbelievable organizational abilities kept her in demand all over the industry.

On her 50th birthday, we sprang a surprise on her by showing up at a big bash Dana was throwing for her. She was soooo chuffed, but the celebration was bittersweet because on the same visit, she told us she had breast cancer.

AARRRRRGGGGHHHH. It was such a blow. But we knew that, if anyone could beat the damn disease, she could.

Not only did she prevail, she started a whole new chapter of her life in academia, working with colleagues to develop and implement film studies as part of the curriculum in what was then Capilano College (now Capilano University). Before she left, she helped move it from a few classes in a pokey little space in the corner of the campus to a fully-funded degree-granting program that's ensconced in a gorgeous, multi-functional building called the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation. Super Jane, right?

In the middle of all this, she nurtured her younger sister through a horrible battle with cancer that, unfortunately she lost. She also loved and lost a succession of gorgeous Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Of course, through it all, she had - and still has - the steadfast support of a loving husband in Dana.

She has many, many more accomplishments, but last night, she was honoured by her union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, for which she worked tirelessly for decades. She even developed a course to teach newbies how to behave themselves on set. Everyone in the biz has to take this training.

It was a once in a lifetime award for a once in a lifetime friend. Congrats Janey. You deserve everything. Giving you all kinds of hugs and mushy stuff and wishing you all the happiness in the world.

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