Jasna Devedzic was born July 5, 1950, in the former Yugoslavia and passed away on August 29, 2013. Although she loved the land of her birth, she fled Yugoslavia during the civil war in 1998. In Yugoslavia, Jasna worked as a window dresser. Jasna followed her sister to the Rancho Santa Fe area where she worked as a housekeeper. In 2006, Jasna became a U.S. citizen, marking one of the most important days of her life.|
Those who employed Jasna consider themselves honored and blessed. She completely took over and no one ever again concerned themselves with housework. Jasna took great pride, not only in her housekeeping duties, but in all the other things she did. She was not considered an employee, but rather a treasured friend and an honorary family member. If Jasna lost a client and had a spare day, you had to pass an extensive interview with Lisa Bartlett to make sure you were worthy of employing this saint.
Jasna spread her love to everyone in her extended families. The greatest joy that Jasna had in life was helping others. What made her tick was helping her friends, children, the sick, elderly, dogs, cats and horses. Jasna was incredibly loyal to those she loved.
John Seibold called Jasna the "white tornado" as she was always running, never walking, and didn't even stop to have lunch. When Jasna first went to work for the Seibolds, John thought she was talking to herself but soon learned that she had bewitched their two cats and as the "pied piper" they would follow her from room to room as she spoke to them in Serbo-Croatian. It was always a pleasure for the Seibolds to return to Rancho Santa Fe from their travels, to the house Jasna had prepared for them, including flowers in every room (some from the Seibolds' yard, some from her other clients' gardens).
Jasna worked for Paulette and Hal Sexton for thirteen years. Paulette said that for as long as she lives she "will miss dear Jasna." Jasna called Paulette her "other sister" and Hal her "brother-in-law." Paulette said, "How can we forget all the many special moments she shared with us. She was with us when Maman passed, she never forgot my birthday, she loved to decorate our home for the many holidays, and always placed many bouquets of flowers in all possible flat surfaces, especially after we returned from holidays. I used to tell her that the house was like a flower shop! Of course, she gave me a bright beautiful smile when I said 'Where did you steal all these roses?' I think they came from Lisa's garden. She was a gem, one of a kind, told me what to wear for my travels, would say what went with this or that and even packed my bags! She said she did not cook, but I always suspected that she knew how! It was a privilege to have known her, she will be missed."
Jasna was interested in hearing about and, when possible, participating, in everything her friends did. Lisa loves horses and although Jasna had never been around horses until she came to the Bartletts', she decided she liked horses too. On occasion, Lisa would be looking for Jasna and would find her out with the horses, cleaning the corral, talking to the horses in Serbo-Croatian and feeding the horses treats. Lisa swears that the horses, dogs and cats understood every word of Serbo-Croatian that Jasna spoke to all her animal friends Jasna loved to garden and was constantly watering, fertilizing and pulling weeds. The homes of her employers became her homes.
Jasna loved the children and the grandchildren of her employers. When the young Bartlett grandchildren would come to visit, Jasna's face was aglow the entire time she was with them. She would get down on the floor and play with them, chase them around the house, and shower them with little presents. Jasna was always thinking of others, rarely about herself. Very shortly before Jasna died she sent the Bartletts' daughter a birthday present for their oldest grandson, who will turn five in November, and a present for their newest granddaughter, who was born just hours after Jasna died. Vesna, Jasna's sister, said that among Jasna's last words was a request that when the Bartletts' granddaughter was born, the first kiss from Lisa would be from Jasna. The Bartletts son-in-law heard about this wish and the first kiss Vivian received from him was from Jasna. Lisa followed suit later in the day. Jasna knew she would never see the Bartlett children or grandchildren again. She had so hoped to live long enough to see at least a photograph of Vivian. Even when valiantly battling terminal cancer, Jasna took the time to send a box of toys to Muffy Walker's three dogs.
Lisa used to call Jasna "horrible adorable." The first time Lisa used this phrase, Jasna got a quizzical look on her face and said, "horrible?" The response was, "Yes, you are always doing things for others, spending your own money, when you should be saving it for yourself for your retirement, and you refuse to take anything for all the incredible number of extra hours you spend doing things for all of us that you work for." Jasna thought this was very funny and from then on would often greet Lisa, when she came through the door, with, "Hi, horrible adorable is here."
A son of Virginia Dewey went flying very early the morning after Jasna died. He indicated he saw the most magnificent sunrise he had ever seen. He called Lisa that morning after his flight and asked if Jasna was still alive or not. Lisa informed him that Jasna had died the night before. He said he knew it, as the incredible sunrise was Jasna's doing.
After Jasna was diagnosed with lung cancer, her support group worked tirelessly to assist her with obtaining medical care and negotiating the quagmire of health insurance and federal and state assistance programs. Thanks go to Andrew Lai, M.D., Michael Kosty, M.D., personnel at Scripps, Lyudmila Bazhenova, M.D., and personnel at UCSD who cared for her. Dr. Bazhenova addressed emails to Lisa, Hal and Liz as, "Dear Team." Elizabeth Hospice provided end-of-life care and was compassionate and thoughtful.
Jasna leaves behind a sister, Vesna Shalhub of Santa Luz; two brothers that reside in the former Yugoslavia; as well as her extended families, Lisa and George Bartlett, Paulette and Hal Sexton, Elizabeth and John Seibold, Muffy Walker and John Reed, Alice Cantrell, Carolyn Kooken, Virginia Dewey, Francesco Tavolada, Alfredo Magana and countless others (both two-legged and four-legged).
Muffy Walker told Jasna, just before she lapsed into unconsciousness, "Most of us are good, some are great and a few are outstanding. You are an outstanding woman, filled with love, generosity, and a true concern for others. You have touched my life…you are truly loved by us all..." Michael Kosty, M.D., one of the members of her treatment team, said Jasna "was a truly inspiring individual who faced her disease with courage and set an example for all of us on how to live our lives."
Jasna was forever cheerful, relentlessly energetic and loyal. Her motto was, "Don't worry, be happy." She was a one-of-a-kind and will be forever missed by those who loved her.
Published in the Rancho Santa Fe Review on Sept. 19, 2013