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Jayne Speizer

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Jayne Speizer Obituary
Jayne M. Speizer
~ 2011 ~

PACIFIC GROVE - A celebration of life service for Jayne M. Speizer will be held at 3:00pm Saturday, June 25, 2011 in Merrill Hall at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove.
Jayne died June 13, 2011 from complications following a heart transplant at Stanford University Medical Center. She was 61 and was the former president and publisher of The Monterey County Herald.
Jayne grew up in Schenectady, NY, and moved to South Florida in the early 1970s. She took a short-term
position filling in for a receptionist on maternity leave at the weekly Broward Times. That temporary job launched a long and distinguished career in newspapers. Years later, when her university-trained peers in the publishing industry would ask about her academic background, she delighted in telling them that she held a diploma from Litton High School.
This was the career arc of Jayne's professional life: Achievement and accomplishment beyond all expectation.
But the essence of who she was is best understood by her personal relationships and loves. She was an irrepressible hugger and collector of friends for life, a devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews, a world traveler and adventurer, an insatiable movie buff, a lover of fine food and wine, an avid golfer and card player, an active participant in the civic life of each community in which she lived, and a loving wife and life companion to her husband of 30 years, Irwin, whom she met at the Broward Times.
After working in advertising positions at the Broward Times, she moved to the Miami Herald where she served as business manager of the award-winning Tropic Magazine. She then opened a mobile telephone company in Washington, D.C. for an affiliate of the Miami Herald's parent company, Knight Ridder.
McClatchy Co. recruited her to an advertising position at the Fresno Bee, where she was later selected to launch and serve as publisher of a group of weekly community newspapers and a bilingual English/Spanish weekly. McClatchy then sent her to South Carolina where she served as publisher of The Rock Hill Herald until taking the Monterey job.
In each job and location, she was deeply involved in community organizations, with a particular interest in those that served the needs of children. Her service ranged from the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce to the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Commission. She also was on the board of
directors of the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 1994, she was named Woman of the Year by the Fresno Chapter of Business and Professional Women.
In 2003, Knight Ridder lured her back by offering the top position at The Monterey County Herald, a job that brought her to a place she loved more than any other. In a sad irony for a woman who put her heart and soul into all that she did, she was subsequently diagnosed with severe cardiomyopathy - heart failure. Her illness forced her early retirement from her high-pressure job, but she refused to let it define her life. She never looked or acted sick. Armed with an implanted pacemaker/defibrillator and a bag of powerful medications, she visited Europe, China, Honduras and Belize. On her 60th birthday, she took a helicopter ride to an Alaskan glacier and hiked the ice with Irwin. When the risks posed by her illness became too great she was placed on a heart transplant list. She was photographed on May 24, 2011 just before being wheeled into surgery for the transplant, smiling and radiant and giving the two thumbs up sign. She succumbed to fatal complications during recovery.
In addition to her husband, Irwin, Jayne is survived by her grand nieces, Madalynn Reid of Amarillo, TX and Lyla Geller of Tampa, FL; her grand nephew, James Reid of Amarillo; her nieces, Allison Geller of Tampa and Jessica Lissauer of Miami; and her nephew, Darren Speizer of New York.
Donations in Jayne's memory may be made to the , or to the Newspapers in
Education program at The Monterey County Herald, The Rock Hill Herald or The Fresno Bee.

Published in The Monterey Herald on June 19, 2011
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