(Frances) JANE IRWIN
June 18, 1941 - February 7, 2013
Teacher, scholar, bookseller, author, researcher, archivist, and ardent champion of heritage preservation.
Jane Irwin died unexpectedly on Thursday morning February 7th following a stroke. She is survived by her beloved husband Richard Bachmann. Jane was a loving mother to three children. She will be deeply missed by Shannon Smith ( Jamie Carstairs) in Bristol, England, David Smith (Karen Stauss) in Ottawa and Bronwyn Smith in Victoria, B. C. As well, her five wonderful granddaughters – Azura, Raven and Terra (Victoria) and Mahaila and Leona (Ottawa) – will be without a grandmother who cared so much about them and their futures. Her sister Judy Pascoe and niece Nikki (Shannon) Porter are also left bereft.
Jane did not consider that the world was beyond repair or improvement. Hers was a critical and inquiring mind and she had a passionate belief in education. Jane took a genuine pleasure in research and loved to puzzle out connections and meanings. She had a keen interest in art and an acute appreciation of music, theatre and literature. Jane was learning, and teaching, her entire life.
Jane applied her intelligence in many fields. As an academic, she made a significant contribution to literary studies with the publication of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda Notebooks (Cambridge, 1996). She taught English Literature for Trent University over ten years. (She loved the teaching while stoically enduring the commute by public transit.)
Jane met her second husband, Richard Bachmann, while both were booksellers in Ottawa. When Richard took over Burlington's esteemed bookshop, A Different Drummer Books, Jane resumed her bookselling career. She had a strong interest in children's literature and a gift for making just-the-right recommendations. And for many years she conducted Different Drummer's book discussion group.
Jane became increasingly interested in local history and wrote the text for a photographic essay about Burlington published by Boston Mills in 1995. As a member of LACAC, Jane was instrumental in efforts leading to the restoration of LaSalle Pavilion, the McNichol mansion at Shoreacres and the struggle (lost) to save Lakehurst Villa. As well, she was actively involved in the ongoing project to restore Burlington's Freeman Station. Jane's enthusiasm for heritage motivated her to spend five years researching and writing a cross-Canada look at historic cemeteries. The completed book, Old Canadian Cemeteries: Places of Memory (Firefly, 2007), remains a definitive study.
Jane Irwin was an active member of the Burlington Historical Society. In recent years she was the BHS archivist and director of its digital collections.
Jane's extensive volunteer work and activism for Burlington's heritage preservation was recognized by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Jane worked hard in all her endeavours, while always generous to acknowledge the work of others. She believed the world could be a better place and that her community might provide the ground to make that happen.
Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed. WILLIAM BLAKE
There will be a gathering of remembrance for Jane Irwin later in the spring.
Condolences can be sent to 526 Burlington Avenue L7S 1R8 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations will be gratefully welcomed by The Burlington Historical Society, The Ontario Historical Society and The Friends of Freeman Station.
Saturday February 16, 2013
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