Janie Dowe with Hats

Janie, We’ll See You At The “Front Porch”

but we know your spirit will be at the Music Fest; the Off Shore Fishing Tournament; the Fourth of July Celebrations; Chamber meetings; at the Community Center and the new kitchen; at the Breakwall; at Thirsty Thursday and First Monday... at every Grand Marais happening and, of course – at the Front Porch!

We'll connect with you when we see deer and birds – knowing in your words “they eat better than me.”

We at the Pilot will see your smiling face and smell your coffee with every word we type and every paper we fold...

Oh but how we miss you dear Janie Dowe!

Ode to Janie
from Friends of the Pilot

I first met Janie "virtually" when she jumped full scale into The Readers Digest Breakwall contest a few years back. As someone living downstate who, at the time, had a place in Grand Marais, I figured I could leverage my contacts there to help the cause. Every morning before dawn, Janie sent out email alerts to keep the momentum growing. And, because I am an early riser, she and I would oftentimes exchange notes--becoming friends in the process. I realized at that time she was one special lady.

Fast forward to a couple years ago when the former newspaper was about to close, Janie and I connected once again. It was from those conversations that led eventually to a meeting around Janie's table (where else?) where it was decided to bring together a group of wonderful people to become the "Friends of the Pilot" in order to assist the Capogrossa's in what is now The Grand Marais Pilot & Pictured Rocks Review. During that meeting I referred to Janie as "the firestarter" because of her unique ability to gently bring together diverse opinions to form something greater than the separate parts. Is she missed? Your damn right she is.

Janie was a special friend who was always there for you. She loved life and living Hawk's dream!

Janie dear – You always had a helping hand to lend for so many causes in this little village. You brought awareness to us about helping and giving more of our time to the many causes. So very fun loving too. A GREAT Mentor – firm and understanding. You’ve done gigantic things for this little town of Grand Marais and we will be forever grateful. I’ll see you at the front porch, eh!!

While I knew Janie ever since moving to Grand Marais a few years ago, it was in the recent past that “knowing” turned to such friendship and appreciation. It was two years ago and the town newspaper, the Grand Marais Gazette, was ending. Here are parts of the first “newspaper” email I received.

“I know all of you are interested in keeping the Grand Marais paper going... Please pass the word about a meeting next week, and also about a part time job. Just like the Readers Digest I know we can do it!!!!! Janie”

and then this one: Janie Dowe

“For those of you that are interested in helping to start up the G M Paper again, there will be a meeting here at my house with Dirk next Saturday Sept 7th (2013) at 10:00 am. If you know anyone that is SERIOUS about getting involved please ask them to join. Please let me know if you plan to attend. I’ll have coffee!!!!!!! Thanks, Janie”

How those two emails, and Janie's involvement in the paper, changed my life. Just like the Readers Digest SHE was the one who knew we could do it – the first email was written in August 2013– and then the meeting on Sept 7. Three weeks later we published Vol 1 No 1 edition of the Grand Marais Pilot & Pictured Rocks Review... an unthinkable task made thinkable indeed by her strong positive influence! And that first meeting – where? Well around her table of course!

I am so going to miss walking up the steps to her and Hawk's home, sitting around her welcoming dining room table with the rest of the “Friends of the Paper”, drinking her coffee; sharing what worked/what didn't work with the most recent edition...

Although I am missing Janie's physical presence, and imagine I always will, I am confident that I will continue to feel her support, her guidance... and I bet I'll hear her words... “Carol, I've got a story for you!”

I don't remember exactly when I got to know Janie. Maybe it was through the phone when I called to have her husband, Hawk, do some plumbing. When there was a group of women exercising to music at the community center a few years ago, she cared enough to be with us, sitting, as she had had some kind of surgery.

When the new Hurricane Bridge was to be dedicated on H-58, she arranged to have a small bus take a group of us out there with signs about the needed Breakwall, to help get the word out. There were many dignitaries present at the ceremony. That took some planning and doing. I know I got real caught up in voting in the Readers Digest contest, due to her and others emailing, and so did my family.

But, of course, it was at their home, every second Monday after an issue of The Grand Marais Pilot & Pictured Rocks Review came out the previous Friday, that we "Friends of the Pilot" would meet at 4:00 around their comfortable long table. We would 'hash' out the good & the bad of the recent issue. It was always enjoyable getting to know each other in a more personal way. 
Other times, occasionally, we would be at the coffee/prayer hour or at Thirsty-Thursday, and I got see and hear Janie's sense of humor. She was good at telling something funny, Or, she would get a conversation going on some topic that needed attention. She will be so missed by me and others, for sure.

When I think of Janie, I think of her planning a party, or answering questions on the Chamber phone, or on her way to a meeting, or working on her baby hats, or cooking something for someone. In other words, she was always busy helping others in one way or another. She was one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever known. I hope she now has time to sit down, have a hot dog or some noodles and a Busch Light with ice and just remember all the good she did.

It's hard to put Janie into words. She was so many things to so many people. I will miss all of the conversations and hearing her laughter as we were gathered together. Together was Janie's favorite place to be.

These writings represent some of the “Friends of the Pilot”; friends who gathered around Janie's table twice a month to talk about the latest issue and upcoming news; friends who gathered again when the paper arrived, to fold, tape and label the newspapers so they could be mailed... Friends! Some of the friends are out of town – others just didn't have words right now... But we all love and miss you, Janie Dowe and we all send our sympathy and love to Hawk and the rest of the family!