The newspaper lost a friend Monday when Jane Vajnar passed away. Jane was a longtime correspondent to the Marion County Record and Hillsboro Star-Journal, covering Tampa and Durham city councils and Tampa community news, as well as offering opinions in her One Woman’s View columns. She hadn’t been able to write in recent months because of failing health. Before contributing to the newspapers, she was a teacher.
I remember the first time I met Jane. I was at the Hillsboro city building — I think it was during a closed session of the city council — when a woman dressed all in green and wearing a plastic green hat introduced herself to me. It was the week before St. Patrick’s Day, and Jane was showing her seasonal spirit on a trip to the library.
I never knew Jane to be shy. She was always willing to tell anyone what she thought about nearly anything. Even at age 72 last year, she refused to be bullied when she received angry calls from a man threatening to have Jane beaten up over an article that discussed a World War II bombing mission against Japan. Jane scarcely feared for herself in that situation, worrying more about her friends she mentioned researching the issue with and the newspaper staff.
Jane was involved in Marion County Democratic Women, the Poem in Your Pocket group, a book club, and other groups.
“She was one of the most intelligent people I ever knew,” said Janet Bryant, who knew Jane through several groups.
Jane frequently played devil’s advocate, making friends think about their beliefs and ideas so they could better explain them, she said. Bryant said she admired Jane greatly, and she thought Poem in Your Pocket would suffer greatly and maybe even fold with Jane’s passing.
Jane will be missed.
— ADAM STEWART