December 20, 2022
In loving memory ~
Jan, a resident of Comox for 36 years, passed away peacefully at Aitken Community Hospice in Courtenay, on Tuesday, December 20, 2022. She enjoyed the last month of her life pain-free surrounded by her loving family, close friends and the wonderful staff at Aitken Hospice.
Jan was born October 2, 1949, in Powell River, to Gerald and Elizabeth Clerke. After moving several times, her family settled down in North Burnaby when she was still young. The bulk of her schooling happened here, culminating in her finishing at Burnaby North Secondary.
In her early teens she began a career at Eaton’s. Here she moved from salesclerk to model to department head and eventually purchaser. She continued her fashion career at Buck Agency in Vancouver. If you ever wanted to see Jan’s eyes light up, you just had to ask her about this time in her life.
When Jan was fourteen, she met Rick, the love of her life and eventual husband of 53 years. They were wed on May 24, 1969, at the Cliff Avenue United Church in Burnaby. Shortly after, they moved to Vernon to pursue Rick’s career as the town surveyor. Here their first child, Jim, was born.
Jan’s career was put on hold so that she could stay home and raise Jim. The young family then moved to Kelowna where they were blessed with the birth of Sharlene. Jan approached raising a family as she did everything else that mattered to her; with single-minded focus. Never accepting the status quo, she sought opportunities to educate her children. Once they were in school, Jan was never far away. She was either there volunteering to give teachers more time to do their job, or advocating for children so that they received the attention that she believed they all deserved.
After moving several more times, the family eventually settled in Comox in 1986. Around this time, she began to start working outside the house again. The jobs that resonated with her were those that gave her the opportunity to help people. Her time spent at Family Life and the C.V. Transition Society were especially rewarding. The final chapter of her working life was at Campbell River Solutions for Kids. Starting as an employee, she eventually became the director and owner of the business. Always being a fierce advocate for children, she found great satisfaction in this role.
During this time, she was also involved in several volunteer boards. These included the Beaufort Child Care Society, Pacific Care Family Enrichment Society and C.V. Transition Society. She remained a member of the Comox United Church until the very end.
Jan’s most passionate and joyful pursuit was raising her family. Although she was an excellent mother, it could be argued that her true calling was being a grandmother. Beginning with Connor, and over time adding Alora, Daniel and Lyla, she developed a special personal bond with each of them. She was always on the lookout for new activities, hobbies and crafts that she could share with them. Her love of camping was passed onto each of them, and the annual trip to Quadra Island was something that they all looked forward to.
It also must be noted how devoted she was as a wife. Jan shone as caregiver once Rick’s health turned. He received wonderful care from his doctors and nurses. However, it is generally accepted in the family that he survived cancer by the sheer will and determination of his wife. His well-being was her priority until her last breath.
The entire family is very grateful to everyone who helped Jan in her last months. She received tremendous care from the staff at the B.C. Cancer Agency, North Island Hospital Comox Valley, and Aitken Community Hospice. There are too many to name, but we think fondly of all of you. We thank her friends who visited faithfully until the end.
A service in her memory will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at 1:00 P.M. at Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive. In lieu of flowers, please just be kind to one another.
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