I first met Janice over a job interview desk at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre in Oakville. I hired her on the spot. She was great to work with, and ticked all of those employer wish-list boxes like qualified, dedicated, upbeat, smart, visionary and caring.
Gary and I had started making preliminary plans to retire and, as it happens, Janice and Gerry were on the same path. They now live in Carrying Place on the Bay of Quinte. Gerry is retired in the sense that he no longer works for a pay cheque. He has thrown himself with gusto into renovation of their home and has created a beautiful space with many artistic touches including a laborious tree-slice floor in their sunroom office.
Janice had no intention of retiring. Gerry was still working in the city when the couple purchased their 28-acre property. She relocated before he did, and spent the early days of her new life slogging away at landscaping and reno projects until her partner was able to join her. When she was unable to find local work in the fitness field, she signed on for training and a one year contract as a rural school bus driver. Saying that this was at odds with her background would be an understatement.
With a BA in Nursing Science from Queens University, Janice had a long career as a Registered Nurse (RN) behind her, retiring from the Intensive Care Unit of the London Health Sciences Foundation in 2009 on the dissolution of her first marriage. She moved to Oakville and worked in the fitness field after establishing a solid relationship with her current partner in 2012.
Her year as a school bus driver was filled with heart-warming experiences and frustrations galore. It was an experience, but not necessarily one that she wanted to repeat. She subsequently had some interesting engagements in the medical field, one in home nursing and another as a Neurofeedback Technician and Psychological Counsellor, before joining the Belleville operation of ParaMed Home Health Care in 2016. Janice progressed to Supervisor and then to Operations Manager in 2018. The company is dedicated to keeping clients in their homes rather than hospitals and long-term care facilities through the provision of home care, personal support, counselling and respite care.
Her most alarming responsibility since her relocation was issuing death certificates on a 24/7 on-call basis. She navigated unknown rural territory, often in the wee hours of the morning and through inclement weather, en route to scenes that she couldn’t imagine until she got there.
They share their home with Cosmo, a Weimaraner, who rules the roost most of the time. An unfortunate incident with Cosmo and ice in their backyard landed Janice on the sidelines with a broken leg last year, but that is all forgiven.
They have a blended family of grown children. One of Janice’s two accomplished sons is in Europe, playing hockey professionally for Rapaces de Gap. They all enjoy travel. Janice journeyed to Sweden and Norway in 2015 for an overdue reunion with a friend who’s been like a sister for 35 years.
Janice inspires every day, through her compassion, her resiliency and her zest for life. She and Gerry have found well-deserved joy in this new chapter of their life.