Jane Elizabeth Reddin

Jane Elizabeth Reddin. 1957 - 2011 Jane was born April 10, 1957, to James and Roberta (Koch) Reddin in Buffalo, New York, where she attended St. Rose of Lima grade school and Mount Saint Mary's High School. She graduated in 1993 from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and magna cum laude in 1988 from Arizona State University College of Law. After a yearlong clerkship for the Hon. Noel Fidel, Arizona Court of Appeals, she joined the Labor and Employment practice group at Lewis and Roca, LLP, where she became a partner in 1994. Law practice at a large firm suited Jane and provided her with opportunities, especially the opportunity to make a difference. From 1995-2001, she served on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Blind Children, including a year as President of the Board, and from 1997-2001, served as Director of the ALS Association, which fights Lou Gehrig's disease. She also was appointed a judge pro tem of the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1994 & 1999. Jane was really good at what she did and enjoyed the intellectual challenge of the law and those with whom she worked. But, in 2006, Jane retired from the practice of law to pursue life full time. She began by travelling-- Italy, France, Mexico, and throughout the United States. She spent over a month in CostaRica learning Spanish and scuba diving. When she returned, she volunteered at Taliesin West as a tour guide for two years, absorbing all she could about Frank Lloyd Wright. She dove further into making a difference in her Phoenix community by serving on the boards of the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Local First Arizona, and the Phoenix Art Museum's Contemporary Forum, Arizona Costume Institute, and Circles of Support. She dreamed of opening an art gallery offering one-of-a-kind, locally, hand-crafted useable items. Her dream became a reality in April, 2008, when she opened "Practical Art' just north of Central Avenue and Camelback Road in uptown Phoenix. Practical Art continues on today through her friends and staff, supporting local artists and encouraging us away from homogeneity. That same year, Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she attacked with her usual tenacity. She beat it and enjoyed nearly a year of living great, growing Practical Art, enjoying her friends and the exciting changes in Central Phoenix. In April, 2010, though, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a direct result of the chemotherapy treatments she had received earlier. She traveled to Dallas to be closer to her physician sister, Patty, and brother-in-law, Andrew. Hopes were high. Her sister and brother Jim were found to be perfect donor matches and over the summer Jane underwent a stem cell transplant using Jim's stem cells. While the odds weren't great, she faced her diagnosis with great courage and dignity, absolutely never giving up hope, even at the end. While it may sound cliche, she died very peacefully on Sunday, February 6th, with her sister Patty by her side holding her hand. These are the facts about Jane, but she was so much more. She had a razor wit. She was wickedly smart. She was immeasurably generous. She was inordinately opinionated and stubborn. She was proudly liberal. She was quietly strong. She was infectiously happy. She was fiercely loyal. She was a formidable foe. She was a tireless advocate for the arts, Central Phoenix, local business, and always for those without a voice. Phoenix is emptier without her. She loved museums, cats, reading, really good cheese, blue & yellow, beer, chocolate Haagen Dazs ice cream, mocha soy lattes, Rocky Point, the Zen Cabin, peace, yoga, Great Big Sea & Pink Martini, Kate Spade bags, Amazon, and hand-made quilts. Most of all, she loved her community, her friends and her family - her Mom and Dad, sister Patty, brother Jim, brother-in-law Andrew, sister-in-law Adrienne and her nieces and nephews, Bridget, Joe, Matthew, Eva and Tess. In her memory, her family asks that you consider donating to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org) or becoming a bone marrow do-nor at Be The Match (www.marrow.org). There will be a celebration of Jane's life at the Phoenix Art Museum in the coming weeks. In the meantime, take Jane's advice and go out and do one thing that really scares you.

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Published in The Arizona Republic on Feb. 13, 2011