Jane Brody, Trailblazing Service Journalist, Retired from The Times

I first met Jane in 2007 during a Science Times meeting as she sat at the conference table with her fellow reporters, weaving in a storm. (Jane’s knitting through meetings is part of her lore in the newspaper.) Every now and then, she’ll stop to give her two cents on a health story idea. Years later, when Jane moved to the Well desk, I convinced her to write about Her passion for knitting. This column is a blockbuster.

Jane was always ahead of her time. A long time ago great resignationJane wrote about the opportunity to reinvent yourself, shares her goals of traveling, learning Spanish, and attending more concerts and lectures. At the age of 70, she took her four grandsons on nature trips to Alaska and went tent hunting in Tanzania, she also wrote about. She adopted a Havanese puppy, Max, and shares the story of how she became he turned into a therapy dog. She is still looking for a teacher to help her learn to play the bandoneon, an accordion-like instrument popular in Argentina.

However, I think Jane’s greatest strength is being used as a comforting voice in times of uncertainty. She covered a taboo subject in “Jane Brody’s Guide to Greater Greatness,” an original book to help families prepare for the end of life. Just a year later, Jane applied the precepts when her husband, Richard Engquist, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She kept her readers in mind, sharing her personal story of living with husband’s death diagnosis; later, after his death, she wrote of her grief in “The pain of losing a spouse is singular. ”

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jane wrote about how she coped for a lifetime in captivity. Jane created one of the most famous columns of her career at the age of 80, when she shared her thoughts on how to age gracefully. I’m so glad she agreed to host the show a lively conversation with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci about living well into your 80s and beyond. To mark her 80th birthday, she shared this advice:

Try to do what you love for as long as you can. If the vicissitudes of life or the ills of age prevent a favorite activity, modify it or substitute another. I can no longer safely skate, ski, or play tennis, but I can still bike, hike, and swim. I consider daily physical activity as important as eating and sleeping. I accept no excuses.

While Jane doesn’t accept excuses for herself, she is quite empathetic about the health struggles of others, including my challenges with weight loss. “People come in all shapes and sizes,” Jane told me. “We’re not all meant to look like fashion models or ballet dancers, nor should we want to.”

That said, Jane’s presence tends to bring out the best in people. I remember waiting for the elevator with some guests at a Times event a few years ago, when suddenly we heard Jane’s voice from down the hall.

“Jane is coming!” someone said that. Obviously, neither of us wanted Jane to see us taking the elevator, so we all raced towards the stairs as soon as she rounded the corner. Jane, of course, headed straight for the stairs, and we all obediently followed her.

And that is the strength and joy of Jane Brody. For more than five decades, Jane’s intellect, wit, and writing have lifted us, pushed us to try harder, and pushed us to be a little better than we were before. Jane Brody, Trailblazing Service Journalist, Retired from The Times

Fry Electronics Team

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