Last week, I lost an incredible friend, Jane Brown. I knew her for 12 years, but my husband, Wayne, knew her even longer when he worked with her at Qwest Communications (now Comcast).
I am so devastated Jane is no longer with us on this planet. This world was definitely a much better place with her in it! She was a spectacular person unlike anyone I have ever known! She was smart, beautiful, funny, caring, giving and feisty! Jane was an amazing friend I could call and know I would not be met with judgment, but love, compassion, understanding … and possibly a swift kick in the pants if I was letting someone’s words get me down!
Jane earned a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law and an LLM from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. She started her career working for various law firms and then as a corporate tax attorney for Fidelity Union Life insurance Company. Jane spent eight years as a government staff attorney with the Office of Legislative Legal Services. Her most recent position was with Qwest as Senior Sourcing Manager. In 2007, she had to leave her career due to Multiple Sclerosis.
Like most of us, Jane was devastated after losing her career. Wayne called her and told her about the Invisible Disabilities Association. Jane was reluctant to check it out, but she had told Wayne she would, so she did. She joined the Invisible Disabilities online Community and started talking with other members about her loss and new life. Soon after, she joined the welcome committee where new members were met with open arms and listening ear.
One day, Jane asked me if we could open a Chat Room. I told her that it would require someone to moderate it, so if she was willing to do that, we would set one up! She was unsure of what it would all entail, but jumped in anyway! Jane quickly became a novice and reached out to thousands of people with her big heart and quippy wit! She was a HOOT! Everyone LOVED Jane and flocked to her chats!
In 2009, Jane decided she would venture out even more and see if she could meet someone she could have coffee with. So, she established a local Meetup group called, Disabled people want to meetup too! for people living with disabilities. She provided leadership for weekly coffees and other special events such as annual picnics, adaptive kayaking and Holiday dinners. The group quickly grew and has over 500 members today! Jane continued to be active in her group for many, many years, until she was no longer able to attend.
In 2011, Jane was awarded the Invisible Disabilities Association’s Volunteer Award for the work she did through IDA’s community, chatroom and her Meetup. Jane was humbled by the award, but she deserved it! Because of her, hundreds of people found new friendships and family! Video below.
Thank you, Jane, for blessing me with your friendship! I will see you again. But I don’t know how I will get through this life without knowing you are just a phone call away. I miss you!
Jane received her award at 11 minutes into the video.