Jane Hawkins Furse Friedman
April 5, 1957 - April 25, 2021
Janie, beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend left the world far too soon on April 25, 2021. First born child of Austen and Margaret Furse, she arrived in Houston, Texas on April 5, 1957 with a feisty and hilarious energy that defined her entire life.
Big sister to Mary, Austen and John, Janie grew up in Bay City, Texas before attending The Hockaday School in Dallas and graduating from Wellesley College in 1979. One weekend visiting with friends in New Haven, she met third year Yale Law student John Friedman, who was instantly smitten. They began a relationship as tender as it has been enduring and were married in November of 1982 in Bay City.
Even after settling in NYC, Janie remained committed to her Texas roots and actively engaged as a partner in the family ranch, meeting routinely with siblings and cousins in Texas. She was equally dedicated to her career as a journalist - first at the New York Post and then the Daily News. She radiated uptown elegance and disarming wit amidst gritty newsrooms, making fast work of whatever came over her desk: a parade, a plane crash, or the dramatic outcome of America’s Fastest Chihuahua race - inspiring her daughters to call her “badass” and colleagues to dub her “Rewrite Royalty”.
Janie loved traveling but was rarely a passive tourist; several trips to Africa included weeks spent volunteering for a medical charity. Shortly before her eldest daughter ZZ began law school, the two successfully scaled the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. A few years later, Janie and younger daughter Meredith tackled an extended stretch of Spain’s Camino de Santiago. Janie walking every inch of the 110-mile route mere months after finishing her first course of chemotherapy.
When diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Janie bore the news calmly and with grace. She wanted minimal fuss and never lost her sense of humor even after surgery. When her husband John entered the recovery room, he found a loving wife with a smile on her face who exclaimed: “Thank god! I must not be in heaven if you’re here!” Even in hospice care, Janie remained kind, clever and unendingly vibrant.
Some women have beauty and elegance: some have brilliance and humor; and some have giant hearts, but Janie Furse had all of those things. She will be missed.