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On Saturday June 20th at her home in Port Hope, surrounded by the loving care of friends Jane passed away peacefully following a determined and courageous journey with metastatic breast cancer. She was 67 years old. Jane was born in Scotland, the much loved child of Jim and Mary Ann Murray. The family immigrated to Toronto when Jane was just an infant, and although Jane was an only child, the Murray house was never quiet, family, friends and neighbours were always welcome and a party was never far away! It was here and at the family cottage on Rice Lake that Jane’s love of a boisterous party and her skill at mixing a mean Manhattan was cultivated!
Following high school Jane attended Shaw Business College and in 1973 she landed her first job at Imperial Oil in Toronto. Jane spent her entire and very successful career at Imperial Oil, quickly moving up to become executive assistant to many of the senior leadership team. It was in the early days of Imperial Oil that Jane met her husband and soulmate, the late Paul Armstrong, who spotted her in the steno pool and immediately set about courting her! She was swept away with endless wining, dining and showering of gifts! They were married in 1980 and until Paul’s passing in 2018, he continued to cherish and dote on her. His favourite pass time was to browse Tiffany’s for a little token of love, and Jane’s personal inventory soon rivalled that of the retailer! Jane and Paul travelled extensively over the years, Hawaii, California, Scotland, Arizona, and during the last few years wintering in their special spot, Naples, Florida- in their words “it doesn’t cost any more to go first class, you just can’t stay as long!” In 2008, when her dear Paul suffered a significant stroke, Jane was the epitome of strength and hope. His recovery against all odds was a testament to her love and to her unfailing optimistic spirit. This was further tested in 2012, when Jane received her first diagnosis of breast cancer. Still nursing Paul and going through grueling treatment herself, Jane never complained, saying instead “what was I going to do pull the covers over my head?”
Jane possessed a natural, innate ability to cultivate friends where ever she was and quickly bring them into her network. She was endlessly interested in the lives of her many, many friends; a wonderful listener, Jane had a steel trap memory and could recount forgotten situations and experiences back to her friends- she was our archivist! With no children of her own, Jane was never without a dog, Rags, Mandy, Bonnie, Jamie and lastly her dear little Josie all basked in her love, devotion and love of fashion! At the center of a constellation of a wide group of friends, Jane was loved as one of the family by friends in Toronto, Port Hope, Aurora, Collingwood, Rice Lake, Calgary, Indiana and New York state, connecting everyone in her galaxy through her warm and funny anecdotes, emails, text and pictures. This was never more so than in recent months when Jane’s prognosis worsened. The community of care and love she had cultivated over the years enveloped our dear friend during the last few months. Friends Zita Hollihan and Kim Mangnall ensured that Jane’s wish to pass away at home was made possible. For this we are truly all very grateful.
Jane will be sadly missed and remembered always by dear friends Daphne and Don McCullough, godchildren Alex and Sarah McCullough, devoted surrogate parents, Roy and Cathy Reid, cherished childhood friend Jan Matthews and family, Imperial Oil families, Roger and Linda Purdy, Paul and Deb Levins, Rob and Francey Easson, Susan and Ray Brakel; family friends Lynn Limback and the entire Luder clan; high school friends, Nancy Searl and family, Marilyn Foster and the WCCI Besties; Bruce and Francine Rogers and cousin Hugh Pearce and family, to name but a very few.
Jane’s friends wish to thank Northumberland Hills Hospital, most especially the wonderful nursing staff in the Cancer Care Clinic, Dr. Lucie Blouin, and Dr. Mule’ for exemplary, compassionate care during the past few years. At Jane’s request, a donation in her name to the hospital would be deeply appreciated. Also at her request, there will be no funeral service. Cremation will take place, with a celebration of life planned at Jane’s beloved Rice Lake cottage in the future
With her beautiful, sparkling blue eyes, her infectious laugh and her indomitable optimistic spirit, Jane lit up every room she was in. Never on time, she adored making an entrance and was always the last to leave the party! She’ll be making her grandest entrance now and let’s hope the party never stops! Be at peace our dear friend and fill up that wine glass! We love you.
A Memorial Donation has been made to the following charity:
Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation
This is a magnificent tribute to a beautiful woman who remained so positive throughout everything she faced. I had the privilege of getting to know Jane while caring for her husband Paul in the Restorative Care Unit of Northumberland Hills Hospital where he died. She visited him every day, often straight from her own chemo treatment and put his needs first before her own. She inspired me whenever we spoke. I feel honored to have known her albeit for a short but significant time in her life. Thank you for this wonderful reflection on her vivacious life...
Dearest Jane; It was a pleasure to chat with you on Sandy Bay Rd. And although our time was short, every conversation with you made me feel smiley and left me looking forward to our next chat. Thank you for being so kind. I hope your nails are all glammed cause my Dear you always looked stunning. Rest now my sweet new friend .. you are already missed 😔