Jeani Read

Obituary
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Jeani Read, The Province's first full-time rock critic, former lifestyles columnist and most recently, lifestyles reporter, died of cancer at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver on Friday. She was 60.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Mercer, her father, George Read, and a brother, Philip Read.

Jeani was born in Shanghai on Feb. 12, 1947, to an Estonian mother and English father. Her family moved to Vancouver when Jeani was still a young child and she has called the city home ever since.

Jeani started her career at The Province in 1973, back when editor-in-chief Wayne Moriarty was still a student who considered Jeani's socially conscious column a must-read.

"I recall one, in particular, about men. I was going to UBC at the time and disagreed with more than a few of her points. I wrote her and told her so. To my amazement, she responded. This was pre-Internet, of course. She had to type the letter, put it on letterhead and stuff it in the mail. I am sure she received many, many letters every week. The fact she responded impressed me more than the response itself, and the response impressed me a lot," recalls Moriarty.

"Fast forward a couple decades, I arrive at The Province and finally get the opportunity to thank her for that letter and to tell her it had a profound impact on me. It was a lesson in decency and professionalism.

"Every once in a while, journalists get to meet a colleague who is both loved and admired by everyone in the industry. Jeani was loved and admired by everyone in the industry. I will miss her wit. I will miss her intelligence. I will miss her beauty. I will be forever thankful that I got to work with her."

In the 1980s and '90s, Jeani helped form a group called the Western Front, a group of socially conscious artists. Most recently, Jeani worked in the lifestyle section, writing "Bachelor of the Week" and "Girl Talk."

"Jeani Read was one of the sweetest souls in our newsroom," says deputy editor Ros Guggi. "We are all saddened by the loss of this positive woman, wonderful journalist and lovely writer. Our hearts go out to her family."
Published in The Vancouver Sun on Dec. 23, 2007
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