Friday, July 8, 2011

Sad News

Dear blog followers Stewart Trainor here:

Many of you will know, but some may not, that my wonderful wife has left us. She died in the evening of July 4th, the day they put a statue up to Ronald Reagan. The irony of it would not have been lost on her. She departed this world, the lifelong champion of human rights and dignity that she had always been. She, however, bore the mantle of champion with a lightness and grace that entirely escaped those who sit in high places and end up on plinths.

Jean has shared her musings with you over these months, and I’m sure you will miss them. She would have thought of them as ‘musings’, nothing dogmatic, nothing didactic in the obvious sense. “I hate those pompous buggers on Front Row discussing how many levels of textual analysis are possible in Middlemarch” she would say, “I bet George Elliot is rotating in her grave”. Her comments came from the heart, and a pretty prodigious processor in the head never weighed them down with pomposity or cant. She was a devoted and courageous campaigner, but never sought prominence. She loved the simple act of sharing, and that’s what she’s been doing with you.
I’ve shared my life with her since she was 15 years old (not even in the sixth form yet – shocking eh?). I can’t wake up to share our tea and toast now. And, like you, I can no longer share her whimsical sideways on look at a barmy world, but I’m not going to weigh down her lightness with heavy clich├ęs about her remaining always with me; she wouldn’t like that. I’ll leave you instead with one of my many fond memories, which of course will remain. It’s one that shows her totally unpretentious nature, alongside her simple joy at a complex task well done.

We were going for a well-earned weekend break in Paris. On the way into the aircraft cabin she picked up a free copy of The Times. We found our seats, sat down, and in the time that it took the plane to taxi out to the take of runway, some 10 – 12 minutes she had completed the Times Crossword. She merely lent across and said “I think I’ll have a bit of a doze now darlin”, and by the time we lifted off she was asleep.

Goodnight sweetheart!

The Funeral will take place at Robin Hood Crematorium, Streetsbrook Road, Solihull, on 15th July at 1pm, with a reception afterwards at Kings Heath Cricket Club.


  1. All who go, go too soon. My sympathies are with you during this time of sadness. I lost my younger brother June 1st and Jean’s passing adds another level.

  2. Oh Stewart.
    Thinking of you all and sending you much love.
    Steph and the rest of the Archers xxxxx

  3. I am so very sorry. Jean followed my blog and we have been talking for a very long time. I could tell how fabulous she was and I am so sorry to not meet her in person. I wish you all health and love. I will miss her.

    Amy Regenstreif..retroperitoneal lms 2001 2011..still in the fight :)

  4. Stewart and Fam - our thoughts and sympathies are with you. She was a wonderful woman and although we didnt really know her socially we were touched by her brilliance and her humanity. She was a joy to work with. We are having a moments thoughtful silence - it will be followed by a moments noise! Andy and the Outlook Team

  5. Jean was a fantastic, clever, creative, passionate woman. She will be missed in the world. Take very good care of yourself Stuart.

  6. Your Jean was a marvelous woman
    ...wife, mother, grandmother, friend..and a foodie!

    She is missed... oh so much

    Thank you for sharing her with us, Stewart and family

    ~ dot (uterine leiomyosarcoma)

  7. I didn't know Jean well, but I've been following her blog and marvelling at her courage and down to earth good spirits. Much love to you and the family Stewart.

  8. Hello Stewart,

    Mat Hill here (still in Japan). I'd heard Jean was ill, but we'd had a few ups and downs over here too and I hadn't got round to dropping you two a line. That's a regret.

    I was (perhaps disproportionately) very happy to have caught up with you both at Mum's 60th, and even then time flies as ever.

    You and Jean had (again, perhaps disproportionately - given the length of time and my age) quite an influence on my childhood and later, my politics.

    Thanks to both of you, and love to the family.


  9. So sorry I have only just found out about this amazing blog. Thank you Stewart for pointing me in this direction and sorry for spelling your name wrong on the card! Just wanted to record my memories of Jean. Your home always so welcoming for Pot Luck Suppers for Brandwood Labour Party, CND, the Women's Movement Playgroup and other good causes. Our women's book group and Fruit and Veg co-op (long before Richard and Judy or Abel and Cole jumped on the bandwagon). And all sorts of campaigns - with cartoons by 'Mac'. You and Jean were very close to me in one of the saddest times of my life too. Thank you.

  10. As a widow myself, I lost my darling husband to sarcoma in July 2007 I send my condolences. I have since had to face breast cancer, but I'm doing really well. Life can throw so many challenges. Jean to me seemed so very intelligent and an inspirational lady and I will miss reading her blog. So much of what Jean said made so much sense. Thank you Jean - heaven has another angel.

  11. In the little time I spent with Jean I found a truly beautiful and dignified woman. I had the privilage to help look after Jean during her times at Bournville. She was an inspiration but in a somehow unassuming way. Thank you Jean. My thoughts are with you all x

  12. Dear Stewart, Sam, Joe, Luke and Jess,
    Thinking about you - particularly at this moment. We are with you in spirit. Thinking also of Jean's ever-present warmth, intelligence, decisiveness, and her beautiful smile.
    Much love
    Doug & Gloria
    PS Ellie also sends her love, Stewart