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Celebrating the life of Janet Brine

By · July 20, 2015
Filed in Blog


It is with great sadness that we write of the loss of Janet Mary Brine on June 12, 2015. At first, Janet was known to me as ‘Eva’s mom’, since it was through 65_RedRoses that I first “met” her on film. When I later met her in the flesh, I recognized part of the spark in Eva, and where her warm, smart determination was born.

A celebration of Janet’s life will be held on Friday July 24th, 2015 at 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster (777 Columbia Street). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

JanetBrineAfter the loss of Eva, Janet was a force to be reckoned with in our efforts to get 65_RedRoses out to the widest possible audiences, and to make sure that legacy of Eva, and Janet’s, story would have a long lasting impact. It’s what we still hope. We want people to sign up to be organ donors, and we know Janet in particular wanted to support CF research in Canada, and find a cure.

It was with Janet’s help that we created the #4Eva campaign, partnered with BC Transplant to get the film free to all high schools in BC, and it was Janet that brought together the team of teachers, including Stacey Brine to write the study guide and develop a workshop to go with it.

I feel honoured to have met her and gotten to know her, and on behalf of my colleague Colette, and our entire outreach team, we wish her family much love, love love.

~ Kat, Colette and the outreach team for 65_RedRoses

And in Janet’s name – please give to CF Canada.

Of course, Janet was defined by so much more than the little window I had into her life so we want to share what her family wrote about her:

Janet Mary Brine approached her death the same way she approached her life. With patience, curiosity, an open heart and a staunch refusal to be defeated.

Janet was a lifelong adventurer. Childhood summers were spent wilderness canoeing, culminating in a still-discussed canoe expedition to the Bowron Lakes. Sundays often saw the Brine family at Mount Baker instead of church where the childhood rivalry of four brothers turned her into an accomplished skier. Years later this skill and grace caught the attention of a ski patroller at Manning Park who utilized his line cutting authority to capture a chairlift seat beside her and some years later to capture her heart as well.

Bill Markvoort and Janet Brine were married on Galiano Island in 1980 and continued in the adventurous spirit. Their children, Eva, Annie and Hunter learned to ski at Manning Park and were eager participants in many a hiking, canoeing, or skiing trip. Major wilderness canoe expeditions encompassed the Stikine River, the Wind River, the Nahanni River and the Tatsenshini. Even as Janet required a cane to walk, she climbed up to the peak Huayna Picchu.

Janet was a teacher. She learned French in high school and perfected it on trips to Quebec, Besancon and a major adventure in Tunisia with Canada World Youth in 1976. Janet was a strong proponent of French Immersion and taught in many Lower Mainland schools before becoming a principal in south Surrey.

Janet was above all a family person. The mothering instinct in her liked nothing better than to share Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends including those students from UVic brought back in tow by her children. In recent years she hosted the latest generation of Brine children born to her nieces and nephews at her yearly Christmas gingerbread gathering where, for one day, sugar intake was not counted. Janet loved to cook and had a natural ability to bypass the recipe book. That skill was passed on to Hunter, her youngest child born in 1989. Cleaning was not her strong suit and best left to her Dutch husband.

As young parents Janet and Bill learned that their eldest child, Eva, was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Janet immersed herself in the care of her daughter, which many years later was captured in the award winning documentary “65RedRoses.” In later years Janet became involved with fund raising for the local CF chapter and that legacy carries on to this day.

Janet developed and maintained life long friendships. Core childhood friends were there for the duration and her circles grew larger and deeper throughout her life. Book club, hiking groups, cycling and eventually a late interest in the ukulele when she could no longer participate outdoors, were all shared with a wide coterie of her pals.

Janet was an early adopter of all things Apple attested to by the purchase of a ruinously expensive Fat Mac in 1985, which had almost no memory. She used it to complete her Master’s thesis, which she received from SFU in 1987 while pregnant with her daughter Anne. She particularly loved to create Apple books of all her trips and adventures. Her greatest publishing pleasure came from conceiving and compiling the Brine family album, which incorporated her father’s research of earlier years along with her archival photographic collection to create a stunning visual family record.

In 2008 Janet became immersed in a long-standing relationship with cancer She faced her fate and the many sessions of chemo and radiation in a determined, positive and strong spirited fashion as she did everything in life. She was very grateful for the long-standing support of the BC Cancer Agency and Dr. Karen Gelmon in particular. We also thank the Fraser Health palliative care team for their supportive role.

Bill, Annie and Hunter feel honoured to have shared Janet’s many journeys culminating in her death at home on a fine summer evening on June 12, 2015.

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Whatch the film. Join the movment. #4Eva