Jan Ellen Braithwaite was born November 2, 1950 and raised in Saskatoon. Her parents Marge and Jack Braithwaite, were long-time local business people, operating Braithwaite’s Autobody and Upholstery, a company founded by her grandfather in the early 1900s. Jan’s maternal grandfather was the long-time organist at St. John’s Cathedral.
Jan attended Victoria School, and then Nutana Collegiate. After high school, she went on to receive her secretarial diploma from the Technical Collegiate. Jan’s passion in her early years was “dance.” She was taught by Lucia Pavlachenko and she loved to dance all through her life.
On April 23, 1971, Jan married Jeff Pinder, Jeff and Jan met two years earlier on a blind date to play broomball. They were inseparable and celebrated 35 years of life and love together. Her relationship with her husband was one that all couples strive to attain: full of romance, passion, and a childlike teasing which, to her children, seemed as though they were high school sweethearts their whole lives.
After the wedding, they moved to Calgary where Jan began a long and illustrious career as a legal secretary and paralegal with several law firms, ending with her retirement at MacPherson, Leslie and Tyerman in Saskatoon. Jan truly loved her work, her fellow support staff, and the lawyers. It was in Calgary that the first of three daughters were born, Nicolle Ellice.
Jeff and Jan lived in Calgary for five years before moving to Red Deer, Alberta. While living in Red Deer, Jan became involved with the Kinette Club and held various executive positions, which she continued when the family moved to Saskatoon in 1986. Jan’s two other daughters, Natalie Jan and Robin Terri-Ann were both born in Red Deer.
The three girls cherished their fond memories of living in Red Deer and going on Kinsmen campouts in the Rockies with their mom. Jan’s theory was that if you brought a tent, you slept in the tent – even in if was snowing!
Jan’s sense of adventure and strong will is something that her daughters picked up at an early age. This sense of adventure also led Jan and Jeff on many traveling journeys, alone or as a family. They often ventured to warm places like Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico, and the Bahamas, but the favourite holiday was their trip to Scotland.
Jan loved her girls and was extremely involved in all their school activities: swimming, gymnastics, dancing and music. Jan was always devoted to her daughters and would sit up for hours, just listening and sharing stories around a fire or over a game of cards. She was always there when she was needed and somehow always gave the best advice even without saying much. Through graduations, new career starts, relationship troubles and everything else in the lives of the three girls. Jan was their rock, the person who would help them persevere without allowing them to give up on themselves. The birth of Nicolle’s son (Jan’s grandson), Alexander, was one of the proudest moments of Jan’s life.
Jan also loved the outdoors – her “special place” at Pike Lake and the Pinder family cottage at Waskesiu. Jan grew up a “lake girl” and wasn’t afraid to touch insects, play with frogs and snakes, or walk around in bare feet. She loved the quiet of her kayak and would spend hours cruising up and down the lakes, often with “Bud,” the family dog, as her kayaking companion.
Jan began her curling hobby with the “Nutana Girls” for whom she would play Friday afternoons. She also played third for the K-40 curling league for the last several years.
Jan had a wonderful sense of humour and a quick wit. Many of her friends and her family knew her as being “the life of the party.” The Jan Pinder Family and Friends Fund, held at Saskatoon Community Foundation, is a fitting tribute.
Jan passed away on November 17, 2006, after a courageous battle against an inoperable brain tumor.