Saturday, January 27, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Remembering Jan

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

It's been a rough January with too much rain, too many dark, cloudy days, and never enough sun. We know that winter means mostly rain for us (we loved our bit of snow for Christmas this year), but somehow we forget in the splendor of a Pacific Northwest summer that January and rain will come again.

Yesterday a dear friend in our small congregation died. My heart is heavy. I ache for her family, her friends, and all who knew her. Jan is one of those people who lived the good life. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma more than a decade ago. Her diagnosis forced her to retire earlier than she had anticipated, but she showed us that life doesn't end when you get a cancer diagnosis. 

She and her husband, Jack, started a memoir writing group with friends from our congregation and community. I loved reading her story of staying overnight in the BYU library with a group of friends. This story gave me a peek into her life as a college student when I was just in elementary school.

When I visited her in rehab earlier this month, I was impressed by the young medical personnel surrounding her who spoke to her with such respect. They knew that Dr. Woolley was a pioneer who chose to enter medicine at a time when few women made that choice. She was my daughter's pediatrician and knowing her influenced Sara's choice to become a physician assistant.

Her illness did not keep her grounded as she and Jack were always planning their next trip. The trips were always planned around her treatment and when she could be away for a bit. And having cancer didn't keep her from continuing to learn and grow. On one of my recent visits to her, I had to leave because her piano teacher arrived with lunch for Jan and her husband. 

Her gentle demeanor and soft voice will be remembered by many who fought this battle with her. I loved hearing her stories of those who sat beside her for chemotherapy and those who ministered to her. She was frequently the one doing the ministering as she listened and loved all around her.

We were joyful when she could join our women's meeting at church and missed her and prayed for her on the few occasions when she was absent. She will leave a giant hole in our hearts for she was one who lived the gospel and loved the Lord. Heaven is a richer place now that Jan Woolley has arrived.


  1. Loving words for someone who gave a lot of love. It’s a blessing to know someone like that. How you will miss her! Cherish the memories.

  2. You've written a beautiful and loving tribute to your friend, Ramona. I'm sorry for your and the community's loss, but happy that you had her in your lives.

  3. I am sorry Ramona. This is a beautiful tribute to a woman who didn't let cancer stop her from living the life she had one day and then the next. Thank you for writing it.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing a bit of her life with us. She sounds like she was a wonderful human being to know.

  5. Tears for you and your church family and tears of joy for the incredible welcome she received in heaven.

  6. I love reading about strong women who love Jesus. I'm so sorry for your loss, but we know that joy comes in the morning. It's these stories that inspire me to keep going, even when I feel like I'm sticking too far out there. Thank you for sharing your story, and hers.

  7. Ramona, this is a beautiful tribute to a woman who lived life to its fullest and in a positive manner. She gave so much and that will always be remembered. I am posting late but so glad that I have this community who understands that life gets in the way sometimes.