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Philanthropist Janet Kane, 83, dies

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 9, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Janet Kane was everywhere.

Her friend, Jennifer Saslaw, remembers back about 20 years ago, when she first got to know her. She would see Kane and her husband, Stanley, at every event.

“I said to my husband, ‘Everywhere we go, they go, too,’” Saslaw said. “I said, ‘My dream is to have the energy to go to half as many places as Janet and Stanley.’”

She supported the Sarasota Family YMCA Foundation, Forty Carrots Family Center, Animal Rescue Coalition and Asolo Repertory Theatre. She was known for throwing parties, especially on New Year's Eve and Oscar night. And, while she was a fixture on the social scene, she also was known for her keen intellect.

“She would beat anyone at Scrabble,” said friend Carolyn Michel. “She knew everything from politics to fashion.”

Kane, a Siesta Key resident, died Saturday, Nov. 7. She was 83.

“She was such a dedicated philanthropist,” said Deb Knowles, who first met Kane while volunteering at the YMCA. “She donated her time and money and enthusiasm.”

Born May 2, 1926, she met her husband, Stanley, when the two were children in New Rochelle, N.Y. They married and raised their daughters, Betsy, Katherine and Priscilla, in New Rochelle and Bedford Hills. Kane, a homemaker, described her daughters as her proudest accomplishment.

The Kanes moved to Sarasota in 1984 and quickly became supporters of local organizations.

“She was associated with every cause in town,” Michel said.

Michel said Kane was “everyone’s cheerleader,” a good friend and listener.

“She would literally give you the shirt off her back,” Michel said. “You had to be careful about admiring what it was she was wearing because she would take it off and give it to you.”

“Janet was much more than a party girl,” Knowles said. “She was an avid reader. She and I would discuss all kinds of current events, psychology, and she had great insights into human behavior. There was great depth to her, as well as her social personality that was so sparkling.”

Kane is survived by her husband of 61 years, Stanley; daughters, Katherine Kane, Betsy Kane-Hartnett and Priscilla Kane Hellweg; twin brother, George Haas; seven grandchildren; pugs, Frankie, Johnny, Peggy Sue and Miss Otis; and one ring-necked parrot.

A private family service will be held today. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Nov. 28, with time and location to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Forty Carrots Family Center, 1500 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, Fla., 34239, or Sarasota Family YMCA Foundation, 1 S. School Ave., No. 302, Sarasota, Fla,. 34237.



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