Jill Evans, in her memory

Jill Evans - May 17, 1927 - November 14, 2018

Jill Evans

I first met Jill at a dog show in British Columbia sometime in the mid-1990's. I was an avid "pedigree hound" and Jill had written a series of articles entitled Time Traveller. At that time, she was working compiling those articles into a book titled, The Time Traveller. The articles and the book traced Great Dane ancestry from the 1800's to the modern era.

Not only did Jill do an astounding amount of research going through DDC Stud books to capture the pedigree information, but she also delved into the color genetics of the dogs. While today we can do a simple blood test and find out the color genes our dogs carry, Jill did this long before anyone had this available with dogs that had been long dead. I was extremely impressed to put it mildly.

I was already doing research to trace my own dogs pedigrees back as far as I could. I had a 6 inch binder full of printed pedigrees from my database on one dog alone. I traced her back to Oubourough Danes in the 1800's, but probably had 10% of the pedigree back that far. Since we both had an interest in Dane lineage, we spent the evening at the club dinner chatting away about pedigrees and dogs. That was the beginning of our friendship, which existed entirely via email and online until 2016 when we "ran" into each other again in Canada, but this time outside of Toronto. I was there to judge the sweeptsakes for the Great Dane Club of Canada and Jill had taken the opportunity to meet up with Maria Gkinala, who was judging the breed one of the days of the show weekend and to visit old friends from the days she and Trevor lived in eastern Canada.

Karen Martin was also judging that weekend and the four of us had a fabulous time judging the dogs and spending time together at the hotel. All the judges put up this one lovely puppy, so we took a group photo and had Jill join us.

L to R: Laura Munro, Karen Martin, Danielle Van-sant, with her lovely puppy, Dantrydanes Who's Talking Now, Maria Gkinala and Jill Evans

At some point, Jill mentioned she wanted to leave all her Dane memorabilia, articles, books, pictures, pedigrees, and other miscellaneous items to someone in her will. She asked me if I was interested and of course I said I was. In March, of 2018, Jill let me know that she was having abdominal surgery, on her birthday of all days and was a bit concerned due to heart issues she had been experiencing. She'd already had heart surgery about a year prior to this. I thought I should go up and see her before the surgery. I had been putting it off and decided it was time to make it a priority.

So I went up to Salt Spring Island and spent a few days up there with Jill in her lovely home. We spent hours talking about not just her history in Danes, but her work as a graphic artist, painter, sculpturer and of course, writer. She told me about the work she did on the Time Traveller book and her life in general. I already knew Jill had lived an incredibly interesting life from childhood and had been telling her to put it all down and write a memoir. The stories she told me during that visit just whet my appetite for more. She was a brilliant and amazing woman and such a great story-teller. We sat up into the wee hours each night talking about her life.

She had her surgery and while she did have a tough recovery due to irregular heart rythyms and general issues, she did bounce back after a few trips back and forth to the hospital. After all, she was 91 years old and had just gone through a major abdominal surgery! Despite this ordeal, her wit was as sharp as ever.

She eventually recoverd and was doing well until later in the year when she started having abdominal issues again. The first surgery was to remove some scar tissue, but this time she had an intestinal blockage in a completely different area. The night of the surgery she told me, "Now I know how bloat feels!" So, at 91, Jill had another major abdominal surgery and it was successful, but this time her heart was unable to recover and she passed a few days later.

She did tell me before this second surgery that she had started putting her memoir together. Sadly, she never got to finish it. But her son, David, has all the information and told me that he will put it together at some point. I look forward to the day I can read her memoir, recall the familiar stories and learn many more!

Rest in peace, dearest Jill. You are so missed, but left us with an amazing legacy. I'm honored to be the custodian of your correspondance, photos, articles, books and other Dane artifacts. I'm even more in awe of you now after going through all this material. This website is a tribute to your memory.