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Janice Cardigan

CARDIGAN, Janice - Obit Photo_edited.jpg


January 21, 1946 - July 11, 2022

Janice Kathryn Cardigan was a person of positivity, intuition and resilience. She will be remembered for her smile, her lush and overflowing garden, and her ability to tend to the magic in nature and the objects around her. 


Born in 1946 to William Czerepaka (later Cardigan) and Johann (Jean) Wawrynczuk, she grew up surrounded by family and friends in the North End and Garden City. 


She spent the majority of her career as a nurse at HSC. During her first nursing role in Churchill in 1968, she fell in love with Indigenous art and handicrafts. 


She was an original co-owner of the Wah-sa Gallery and the Cardigan/Milne Gallery. 


Janice was guided by her inner compass. She traveled the world in the early 1970s. Highlights include working on an Israeli kibbutz and sleeping atop the Great Pyramid. Her travels were cut short by a bus accident in Iran that was fatal for most of her fellow passengers; Jan was extracted from the country by the Canadian Embassy to receive proper medical care.  


An out-of-this-world chemistry drew her to Dick Smith in the late 1970s. They built their life together in the North End, lovingly restoring a brick home on Cathedral Avenue with enough space for their hobbies and collections. Their home was loud and colourful. Her naturalized gardens, cheerful nature, love of pets, and purple “Humbug” sign made Jan a fixture in the community. 


Jan was a loving mother to Stacy (Casey) and Blair (Michael), and grandmother to Greta and Eddy; she encouraged them to embrace creativity and buck trends. 


She was close with her siblings Debbie (Ion), Lynne (Gerry) and Billy (Barb). She enjoyed spending time with Dick’s family, John (Lindi), Fred (Karen), Debbi (Lawrie), as well as with her nieces and nephews Rob, Ryan (Colette), Jason, Melissa (Brian), Kaitlin (Rene), Stephen (Brittany), Bill (Kelsey), Kevin (Darcy), Brodie (Paul), David, Amanda (Andrew), Danielle (Anthony) and her great nieces and nephews including Hazel, Vivienne, Sadie, and Amelia. Birthdays and holidays were celebrated with large family dinners and trips to Debbie and Ion’s cabin in Traverse Bay.  


Jan and Dick maintained a large group of friends. Frequent were the weekend parties in Brandon and Regina, potluck dinners, luncheons, and card games with “the perfume ladies.” Jan forged friendships through curling, lawn bowling, at the North End Women’s Centre (NEWC) and West Kildonan Horticultural Society. Her legendary pies will be missed. 


Jan struggled with alcoholism, and demonstrated incredible resilience in the number of times she stopped drinking. It wasn’t until she began attending programming at NEWC that she strengthened the belief in herself and learned the coping skills to quit; her love of her grandchildren provided the impetus. 


Thanks to Jaki Skye, Jan found a deeper connection to nature and Indigenous ways of knowing and being. She was welcomed by the NEWC community and invited to participate. She explored herself and her place in the world through spiritual teachings, creative writing and yoga. She joined the Buffalo Gals drum group. She participated in ceremony including trips to Manito Api in Whiteshell Provincial Park. She was given the name Cloud Womyn of the Hummingbird Clan.


Jan formed close friendships with many of her drum sisters. When Val Vint’s installation Education is the New Bison opened at The Forks, Jan drummed there with her sisters. When she became too ill to attend Tuesday drum sessions, her drum sisters brought drumming to her backyard.


In May, Jan was honoured by Val with a sacred fire. Val shared that during the pandemic, when the women couldn’t get out on the land to pick sage, Jan grew enough in her garden to supply NEWC’s needs.


Jan passed away on July 11 after 11 months of gynecological cancer. A tree will be planted in her honour at the West Kildonan Horticultural Society arboretum. Her family is grateful to the frontline workers who did their best to care for her in a difficult medical climate.


A celebration of life will be held Wednesday, July 27 at 2 p.m. at 603 Wellington Crescent. 


Gifts in Jan’s honour can be made to the North End Women’s Centre. 


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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