In memory of
Janice Irene Bruton
Janice Irene Bruton
Oct. 30, 1941 - Oct. 3, 2019
Janice Irene Bruton, 77, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by the love of family and friends Oct. 3, 2019, after a year-long battle with ovarian cancer. All who knew her during that time were amazed how a little slip of a woman could be so consistently strong and courageous during her fight with this terrible disease.
Jan was born to Dr. Albert Roberts Poole and Vera Scott Poole in Butte, Mont., Oct. 30, 1941. Her father, a professor of mathematics and physics, moved the family to several university towns during her early years before settling down in Corvallis, Ore., where he taught at Oregon State University for the rest of his career and where he and Vera raised Jan and her two younger sisters, Sally and Rosemary. Jan graduated from Corvallis High School in 1959 and studied ballet at the Corvallis School of Ballet. Her passion for ballet took her to the University of Utah where she received her BA in Ballet, performed with Ballet West and made several life-long friendships. However, upon graduation, she realized that as much as she loved dance and performing, it was not her destined profession. A couple of her other passions were books and literature. Her parents were originally from Vancouver, BC, where she had relatives, and the University of British Columbia had one of the top schools of Library Science. She decided to pursue her Master's degree at UBC which she received in 1966. Her first job out of school was at the University of Oregon.
While working in the library at the U of O a friend set her up on a blind date with Larry Bruton, who was finishing his fifth year in the Bachelor of Architecture program. The attraction was immediate. They both loved the arts, although he couldn't dance, and she couldn't draw, but ever after they completed each other. After Larry's graduation in 1967 he took a job in Philadelphia, Pa., and they were married in Eugene that December. In keeping with the spirit of the time, Jan and Larry hand made everything for the wedding including the invitations, the wedding dress and the wedding ring.
In Philadelphia, Jan took a job as the Art and Architecture librarian at Drexel University, and Jan and Larry immersed themselves in the history, art and culture of the northeast U.S., taking every opportunity to travel to Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Montreal and Nova Scotia. After two years, a professional opportunity came along for Larry that prompted the young couple to move to Stockholm, Sweden. Jan wasn't allowed to work so she set about to learn Swedish and planned trips throughout Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, taking advantage of Sweden's liberal vacation culture. It was a magical time.
Following their time in Sweden, Jan and Larry moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Larry pursued his Master of Architecture degree. Once again Jan was able to pluck the plum job of Art and Architecture Librarian at San Francisco State University and she supported her husband through school. Upon graduation Larry joined ZGF Architects in Portland, where he became a partner and stayed for 44 years. In that time Jan was involved in her own business plus multiple activities and interests. In 1971, at the bottom of the 70's recession, with no prospects for librarians and teachers, Jan went to work part time for a small children's bookstore, A Children's Place, started by two former teachers. When one of the co-owners decided not to return after maternity leave, Jan bought out her interest and became partners with Lynn Kelly. Through Jan and Lynn's considerable efforts the store grew rapidly and moved onto N.E. Broadway at 15th Ave., where it remained, while doubling in size, for 21 years. While ACP was primarily a store for children's literature and music, they innovated in many areas, bringing in popular authors for events at the store, and staging book fairs as fund raisers for school programs. They also promoted concerts at different venues for many of the most popular children's artists, being the first to sponsor performances in the U.S. for Raffi, Sharon, Lois & Bram, and Fred Penner. Their ultimate event was two sold out concerts at the Keller Auditorium for Raffi. After 20+ years they could see the future for independent bookstores was about to change dramatically and decided to sell the business and pursue other interests. Those years of the bookstore added many lifelong friends in their customers, parents, children and employees.
When Jan and Larry moved to Portland and bought their first house, Jan was able to realize one of her biggest dreams by getting their first dog. She had seen a Lhasa Apso when she attended the University of Utah and had wanted one ever since. They started going to dog shows to meet breeders and learn more. Jan felt that if they were going to be serious about the breed they might as well get a Lhasa they could show and soon Fanny, a red and white parti color, stole their hearts. Thus, began involvement in a sport that would last the rest of her life. With Larry alongside, Jan involved herself as completely as she did anything she committed to in life, breeding and showing Lhasas. They joined local and national breed clubs and over the years became fully engaged in improving and promoting the breed. She held offices and board positions in every club to which she belonged. She was currently on the board of the American Lhasa Apso Club and Treasurer of Dog Fanciers Association of Oregon. After 40 years of breeding and showing Lhasas, once winning Best in Breed at the National Specialty, she turned to what was to become her greatest passion – All Breed Dog Judging. Her hard work learning the different breeds was recognized by all. She had become licensed to judge 40 breeds and was poised to be approved for 6 more; she was elected last year to be President of Oregon Dog Judges.
For their 50th anniversary, Jan and Larry embarked on a National Geographic Around the World by Private Jet Expedition. As fate would have it, it turned out to literally be the trip of a lifetime. One stop especially meaningful to Jan was in Lhasa, Tibet, the origin and name sake of her beloved breed. Of all the places they lived and visited throughout their lives together, no place was more important to Jan than their cabin on Bowen Island, BC. Originally a family getaway, they modernized it into a lovely, warm, cozy cottage on what to them was an island paradise. Jan had maintained family connections in Vancouver, and Bowen afforded her the chance to spend time with her cousins, Nerys and Chris Poole and their families. For over 45 years, Jan and Larry enjoyed a special friendship with the small, close-knit community on the island. She was so happy to have been able to make one more trip there this summer.
Indeed, beside books, the arts and dogs, she cherished the love of family, the longstanding friendships she made wherever she went and her second most important passion, her garden, which will be a perennial reminder of the love she poured into it and the beauty she created for all to enjoy. With Jan's passing, we have all lost something beautiful – someone so special in our lives.
Jan is survived by her husband, Larry Bruton; her sister, Sally Irving; her nieces, Lori Robertson and Jennifer Fetrow; her cousins, Christopher Poole and Nerys Poole; her grand nephews, Grant Robertson, Wyatt Fetrow and Quinn Fetrow; her grand nieces, Claire Robertson and Charlotte Robertson; Nerys' son, John Blown, and daughter, Suzanne Lunn; and John's son, Logan Blown; Suzanne's son, Mathew Lunn, and daughter Arianna Lunn.
Jan was preceded in death by her parents, Albert Poole and Vera Poole; her sister, Rosemary Rouse; her uncle, Fred Poole; and aunt, Louise Poole.
There will be a private celebration of life for family and friends. Donations may be made to The Children's Book Bank at childrensbookbank.org or National Animal Interest Alliance at naiatrust.org
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
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