I created a work family during the forty years I worked at the same company that had morphed from Lutheran Hospital Society to Pacific Health Resources to UniHealth to Catholic Healthcare West to Dignity Health. A key player was Jean Brayshaw.
We shared an insatiable love of reading. She became my library when I needed paperbacks on work travels with her collection of paperbacks which included the spy, adventure, mystery, and thriller genres with an occasional literary epic written by Wally Lamb.
She adored animals and had nine cats that populated her home. I remember her coming to work with her arm swollen because she’d encountered an injured racoon in her backyard.
We worked in offices side by side for a good portion of our work lives. We traveled together for work assignments and she patiently taught me the art of report writing. And of course, our friendship deepened and her attendance at my fiftieth birthday and wedding were essential.
Jean was outspoken about justice and morality. She cared about the state of the world. The image of Jean sitting in her office after 9/11 watching her small television sticks to my ribs.
After I began working at home and eventually retired, she would send me pig birthday cards. I had a thing about pigs. We spoke once a year to catch up. When I didn’t receive a card this past May I panicked that something was amiss. She passed in August 2020.
A sweet ornery soul. A smile that filled her face. Always welcoming a hug.